December 24, 2011

WHEN QUOTES ARE FAKE BUT ACCURATE, at The Nation.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh writes: “Glenn: I wonder if the item that you quoted is really that telling an indictment of the article in The Nation. As I understand it, The Nation is acknowledging that the line wasn’t actually said by Zhou Enlai, but was made up by someone else, so it’s not trying to deceive anyone. And it’s not claiming extra wisdom from the line because it was said by Zhou Enlai. So really it’s just quoting an interesting and possibly insightful saying, albeit one which might have originated in a mistranslation or a misreport. I’m not sure there’s anything really wrong with that. Or am I missing something?”

Well, I think that Prof. Campbell — who is hell on fake quotes and misleading press tropes — thinks that using a misreported quote to illustrate a point perpetuates the misreported quote. But people can follow the link and see what they think.

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