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WikiQuote's bogus, circular smear of Rush Limbaugh (Jack Huberman; James Earl Ray quote)

Wikiquote - affiliated with Wikipedia - is using as a source for an almost assuredly bogus and highly inflammatory Rush Limbaugh quote a book that was published 10 months after the unattributed quote was added to the same Wikiquote page.

The 06:01, 20 July 2005 revision of en.wikiquote.org/w/index.php?title=Rush_Limbaugh (by someone using the IP address, more at [1]) was the first appearance in the entry of this supposed Rush quote:

You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.

No source was provided, but a "source" would be forthcoming just 10 months later. The book "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America" by Jack Huberman (published by The Nation on May 23, 2006) contains that quote and is used on the current version of the Wikiquote page as the source.

In other words, an unattributed quote that appeared out of nowhere was then published in a book ten months later. Now, the only source of the quote that Wikiquote provides is... the very same book.

Note that the date of the supposed quote was first given as 2/21/03. Just three minutes later, the same IP address changed the date to 4/23/98. Note also that the quote is currently in a "Disputed" section, but the same IP address was at least until recently still actively editing that entry and has moved it out into the main part of the page at least twice. In fact, the 00:22, 10 December 2008 edit by that same IP address includes this note:

The book claims Limbaugh as a primary source for over thirty quotes. Therefore, the book uses a primary source. Vidiot, please review defs of "primary" and "secondary."


See this for more on how the bogus quote was spread. Among those using the bogus quote were Rachel Maddow (link). Others are listed here.

The book page containing the quote is here. Amazon's page on the book, listing the publication date, is here. The copyright date is listed inside the book as 2006. And, in a June 3, 2006 entry on the Huffington Post, the author himself referred to it as his "just-published book" (huffingtonpost.com/jack-huberman/whos-screwing-america-bat_b_22140.html).

In the book, Huberman lists several quotes, saying that many of them "come from just the short period that Media Matters monitored", providing as a footnote May 2, 2004's "Meet the New Rush, Same as the Old Rush" (mediamatters.org/research/200405020008). The Ray quote doesn't appear on that page, and no other source or specific date is provided in that section of Huberman's book.

6/20/09 UPDATE: I haven't received a reply to either email I sent to The Nation asking about this. Maybe if enough people asked them they might respond: nationbooks.org/p/contact_us

10/13/09 UPDATE: The update above was mistakenly given as a "2/20/09 UPDATE"; that was a typo and the update was actually posted on 6/20/09. I never heard back from The Nation.

10/15/09 UPDATE: See also this post discussing why this matters and related issues, and note also that the Huffington Post has issued a non-correction correction.

[1] The IP address might now be banned at Wikiquote. It might be a dynamic address, but that doesn't seem likely. A person using the name "michelleknows" used the same IP to post three messages at a forum; her user page is at forums.s2smagazine.com/member.php?s=e9403090394eaf26f99ec5bc853bfad7&u=13499
"Melissa & Rob" posted a message using that IP address to disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=222664;article=6520;title=Ludwig%27s%20Doodles%20Chat however, they might have been using that IP address as a proxy server; the originating IP is different.

Wed, 06/17/2009 - 05:37 · Importance: 4

Sat, 11/21/2009 - 05:34
Joe Lastname

take that bone out of your nose and call me back