I already blogged this at GotNwes,com, but a FAIL of this magnitude needs all the coverage it deserves.
Short version: Chuck C. Johnson of GotNewsDotCom “fact-checked” John’s Legend’s Oscar night remarks about slavery by using a mangled quote, and based on this misquote, claimed Legend was wrong.
The thing is, Legend was correct, and Johnson is wrong.
Here is what Legend said in his acceptance speech, as reported in The Hollywood
Reporter and elsewhere, and even recorded on video.
“There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850,” Legend said in his acceptance speech. “March on, and God bless.”
PolitiFact ruled this as true.
PolitiFact Rhode Island found that U.S. Bureau of Criminal Statistics put the number of African-American men under state and federal criminal justice supervision in 2013 at about 1.68 million — 807,076 above the number of African-American men enslaved in 1850.
But, what Johnson used as his source was a tweet by someone other than John Legend, who misquotes Legend royally.
“There are more black men incarcerated today than black slaves in 1850. Think about that, let that sink in your mind.” John Legend
From this flimsy beginning, Johnson proceeds to prove with lots of statistics (and racial slurs) that Legend had it wrong — or rather, the misquoted John Legend had it wrong.
To make it crystal, Legend said:
# black men under correctional control today > # male slaves in 1850 — This is TRUE.
He did not say:
# black men incarcerated today > # slaves in 1850 — This is not true. There were many more slaves — male and female — in 1850 than black men incarcerated today.
Now Johnson either deliberately used a fake quote, or he was just too damned lazy to find Legend’s actual words, or he has trouble reading the English language. Whatever the case, first he failed at fact-checking John Legend, then he used this misquote to justify a racist screed about how black males belong in jail.
There should actually be more blacks in jail, not fewer if black lives actually matter.
Sadly, none of the knuckledraggers who follow Johnson and GotNewsDotCom will understand or care that he screwed up basic journalism and reading comprehension.
UPDATE: Interestingly enough, if you go to the main page of GotNewsDotCom, the incorrect John Legend story is no longer featured, or visible. But it’s still there under the Hollywood category.