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GOP Rep Called Out After He Uses Quote From White Supremacist Convicted On Child Porn Charges To Attack Dr. Fauci

GOP Rep Called Out After He Uses Quote From White Supremacist Convicted On Child Porn Charges To Attack Dr. Fauci

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) popped onto his Twitter account Sunday afternoon to share a meme that’s fairly popular, directing it at Dr. Anthony Fauci. Unfortunately, the quote in the meme doesn’t come from the source that’s cited in the text — and in fact, the image is problematic too.

[Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images]

Twitter users were, of course, quick to correct the legislator. Here’s the meme Massie posted. Like so many similar quotes, it sounds fairly reasonable without context: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

However, context is key. (Do you remember the Bible Quote-A-Day calendar that got a lot of attention a few years ago, because one of the ‘inspirational’ quotes was “If thou wilt therefore worship me, all will be thine,” which sounds reasonable in context of the book until you know that it was Satan speaking?)

So, Massie’s Twitter audience was happy to give him context.

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Its definitely a very good idea to check attribution of quotes before sharing them — otherwise, you might accidentally quote a neo-Nazi who was convicted for child sex crimes. In fact, USA Today did a fact check on this last year, when the meme went viral, and shared the actual origins of the quote.

The original quote is worded slightly differently, according to etymologist Barry Popik, and it’s from a 1993 radio broadcast by Kevin Alfred Strom. Strom is an American white nationalist and Holocaust denier…

Sure enough, the SPLC has a file on Strom, including his criminal history — a 2008 conviction on child porn charges, and a 1987 arrest for assault on a police officer during a pro-apartheid rally, after which “detailed sketches of a downtown office building where Nelson Mandela was scheduled to speak” were said to be in his possession. The 1987 charges were eventually dropped.

Massie’s critics also pointed out that if there’s a search on to name the person who can’t be criticized, he’s pointing in the wrong direction:

It’s not likely that Massie had any idea the meme he was sharing used a misattributed quote — but he presumably knows how to open a search engine and fact-check before posting, and he definitely knows that Fauci has not been above criticism and even death threats, over the course of this pandemic.

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