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‘Problem is not guns’ meme not a Clint Eastwood quote

A viral meme from 2019 that falsely attributes a quote to Clint Eastwood is circulating again. But Eastwood never said it. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A meme with an image of Clint Eastwood holding a rifle and the words, “the problem is not guns, it’s hearts without God, homes without discipline, schools without prayer and, courtrooms without justice.” The meme is watermarked with a “Punisher” skull icon that includes a Roman numeral three, which is a logo for the Three Percenters anti-government militia movement. The News Literacy Project has added labels for the Punisher icon and one identifying the meme as a “FAKE QUOTE.”
Actor Clint Eastwood did not say the quote on this meme.
The meme — which uses an image of Eastwood holding a rifle taken from the 2008 film Gran Torino — was previously posted to Facebook in August 2019 by Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio politician and current National Rifle Association board member, shortly after two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

NewsLit takeaway

Quote memes — especially about controversial issues — are highly engaging because they often are pithy, they strike a strong emotional chord and they draw on the reputation or notoriety of a public figure to appear legitimate. They also tend to be “zombie rumors” that come back repeatedly when either the quote or the person being falsely quoted surfaces again in the news cycle. This meme also contains a version of The Punisher skull icon used by the far-right anti-government militia movement the Three Percenters.

Related: “Rumor Review: Denzel Washington supports Trump (FALSE)” (The News Literacy Project).

“No, Clint Eastwood Did Not Say ‘The Problem Is Not Guns’” (Jordan Liles, Snopes).

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