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fake quote extremism

Viral quote is from a neo-Nazi in 1993, not from Voltaire

A viral meme falsely attributes a quote from a neo-Nazi to the French philosopher Voltaire. It was shared by Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie on Jan. 30. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie that says “You mustn’t question Fauci, for he is science.” The tweet also contains an image of a quote meme that says “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,“ which the meme attributes to Voltaire. The News Literacy Project added a label that says, “FALSE ATTRIBUTION.”
Voltaire, an 18th century French philosopher and writer, did not say or write the quote in this meme.
It paraphrases a statement made by Kevin Alfred Strom, the founder of the neo-Nazi group National Vanguard, who is an avowed white nationalist and Holocaust denier, during an antisemitic radio show in 1993.
Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted this meme on Jan. 30.
Rep. Massie is not the first person to share this fake Voltaire quote.

NewsLit takeaway

NewsLit takeaway: Fake quotes are notoriously common online and warrant correcting even if they seem benign. But, as Dan Evon at Snopes points out, this case also highlights a toxic disinformation tactic: An attempt to launder “discredited ideas and hateful rhetoric” through a more trustworthy source to make them more acceptable and likely to spread online.

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