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Over the weekend, a statement was floating around the Internet that was attributed to actor Morgan Freeman. It attacked the media for its coverage of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre and some agreed, sharing the statement. It turns out though that the statement was fake, Freeman’s publicist has confirmed.
According to The Wrap, the statement accuses the media of turning shooters into household names, treating them like celebrities. “Turn on the news and see how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single 'victim' of Columbine?” the statement read.
Later, it specifically targets CNN and Fox News. “CNN's article says that if the body count 'holds up,' this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another,” it reads. “Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell."
It concludes, “So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next. You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.”
The Facebook user actually predicted that someone will attribute it to a celebrity like Freeman or Betty White “and it’ll go viral.” He was right.
Freeman’s publicist later cleared up the whole mess, telling The Wrap that Freeman has not issued any statement on the tragedy in Newtown.