More MSM News Fakery

Not the most earth-shattering story you'll hear about today, but illustrative.

As part of a "Friends of Ireland" luncheon the other day, President Trump made the following reference:

As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of that proverb -- and this is a good one, this is one I like; I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it -- “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue. But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.” We know that, politically speaking. A lot of us know that, we know it well. (Applause.) It’s a great phrase.

Legions of Trump-hating fact-checkers jumped to their Interweb terminals! And so we started seeing stories like [NBC News] Did Trump’s Irish Proverb Come From a Nigerian Muslim Poet?

But as viewers were quick to point out after Trump's meeting with [Ireland's Minister for Defence Taoiseach Enda] Kenny aired on MSNBC, a Google search for the proverb quickly leads to a longer poem posted online in January 2013 by a Nigerian Muslim bank manager named Albasheer Adam Alhassan.

Trump quoting a Nigerian Muslim as if he were Irish! LOL!

And … this is CNN: Trump's 'Irish proverb' appears to be a Nigerian poem

A few people sleuthing for the proverb online posted links to Alhassan's poem, which includes a similar stanza. His poem is featured on PoemHunter, a website that collects famous poems, as well as verses submitted by users. Alhassan submitted his poem in January 2013.

And even the Washington Post:

Across social media, many pointed out that a poem by Nigerian poet Albashir Adam Alhassan includes a similar stanza.

… and embedded a tweet for "proof":

But wait a minute. Doesn't this just scream "too good to check"?

Exactly. Local researcher Janice Webster Brown (no Trumpkin, she) actually did some research on the quote. And she took issue with (especially) CNN on Facebook:

She snipped out the 1936 occurrence:

I will only quibble with her "CNN is silly" comment. In fact, CNN is lazy, sloppy, and malicious. As are NBC, the Washington Post, and the many others jumping on this yarn with glee.

Even the left-leaning Politifact's skeptical Spidey-sense was triggered, although (predictably) they posed it as a Trump-debunk: Donald Trump's St. Patrick's Day 'Irish proverb' was probably not Irish

During the annual meeting between American and Irish leaders, Trump recited an Irish proverb that he said he’s "heard for many years."

"Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you," Trump said.

But the "Irish proverb" might not actually be Irish.

Well… nice try, Politifact. You might expect that Trump might quote an Irish proverb at the Irish-heavy gathering. You might plausibly suspect that Trump thought he was quoting an Irish proverb.

But in fact, (as the linked transcript and the video they provide show) Trump did not claim the proverb was Irish. Politifact was wrong to put "Irish proverb" in quotes they way they did, as if they were quoting something Trump said.

That's the bad news for Politifact. The good news is they go even farther in debunking the "Nigerian Muslim" provenance. They dig out another "poet" claiming the phrase ("JoAnne Tuttle, a Texas woman who included the poem, dated Feb. 9, 2003, in a collection titled Crystal Inspirations: Poems by JoAnne Tuttle").

And they dig out another 1936 source: a "1936 volume of the International Stereotypers' and Electrotypers' Union Journal." (Can't tell whether this is credited to Levi Furbush, or someone else.)

Bottom line: don't trust 'em.

Last Modified 2018-12-25 11:26 AM EST