Russian President Vladimir Putin did NOT say after the attacks in Paris and the crash of Russia’s MetroJet airliner that “To forgive the terrorists is up to God but to send them to him is up to me.”
That quote has been circulating social media the past few days and even made its way into an article published by Fox News and Russia Insider.
The Nov. 17 article on Fox News’ website now carries an updated headline reading: “IMPORTANT UPDATE – Putin: ‘To Forgive The Terrorists Is Up To God, But To Send Them To Him Is Up To Me.'” The byline for the article reads “Feitelberg | Barstool Sports,” the Huffington Post noted. You read that correctly. Fox News is using something called Barstool Sports as a source.
Barstool Sports’ website identifies itself as: “Barstoolsports.com contains published rumors, speculation, assumptions, opinions as well as factual information. Information on this site may or may not be true and not meant to be taken as fact. Barstoolsports.com makes no warranty as to the validity of any claims. ” iMediaEthics has asked Fox News why it re-published content from a site that admittedly publishes information that may be false.
The post on Fox News’ website is a brief excerpt, linking to Barstool Sports’ website, which also acknowledges the quote isn’t from Putin by linking to Russia Today anchor Remi Maalouf’s tweet saying the quote was a phony.
Maalouf tweeted: “I took Putin’s quote from a post on Facebook & it turned out to be false.”
This is the danger of social media! I took Putin's quote from a post on Facebook & it turned out to be false. I apologize.
— Remi Maalouf (@RemiMaalouf) November 18, 2015
Russia Today head of communications Anna Belkina told iMediaEthics by e-mail: “Like all news organizations we value the trust of our audience. Journalism is not a perfect art, and many are coming unstuck in the digital age. We are glad Remi fixed the mistake and apologized to the audience.”
Media criticism site Russia Insider’s Nov. 18 story was headlined “Classic Putin: ‘To Forgive the Terrorists is Up to God, but to send them to him is up to me.'” It attributed the fake quote as to Fox News. In an update, Russia Insider admitted the quote was bogus, writing: “UPDATE: The RT anchor who reported this quotation has apologized, saying it’s not accurate. The part about killing terrorists in the bathroom is genuine, though.”