Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImageFirst Snopes debunked it, now Morgan Freeman himself has stated that the widely-circulated quote condemning the media's response to the Newtown, CT tragedy is, in fact, not from him. The statement took the media to task for the manner in which they cover mass shootings, claiming that it glorifies the killers and gave other disturbed individuals an incentive to follow suit. The fact that the statement purported to be from the beloved, Academy Award-winning 75 year old actor led to it being posted and re-posted far and wide the Internet over, which led some to become suspicious of the quote's true source. This is not the first political stance misattributed to Freeman: in September, a quote from a Twitter parody account featuring Freeman's photo condemning homophobia was widely attributed to the actor himself, in spite of clear indications—the spelling of the account, the profanity it employed—that it was not him.
Why Morgan Freeman, and why do so many people believe these quotes are him? As it turns out, the original author of the quote, which originated as a Facebook post about the Newtown shooting, commented, "If I know the Internet, someone will attribute the quote to Morgan Freeman or Betty White and it'll go viral." Leaving Betty White aside, someone did attribute the quote to Morgan Freeman, and it did go viral, which speaks to the body of work he's amassed as an actor, during the course of which he has played countless wise old sages, the President of the United States, and God.
It also speaks to the collective desire of a shocked and mourning nation for comfort. If thoughts a lot of people are thinking anyway are spoken by an actor as singularly beloved for as particular a kind of role as Morgan Freeman, one can not be blamed for wishing it were so. But, all the same, we should always check the sources of our information.