Whopper of the Week: Osama Bin Laden

Whopper of the Week: Osama Bin Laden

Whopper of the Week: Osama Bin Laden

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Dec. 27 2001 10:24 PM

Whopper of the Week: Osama Bin Laden

Al-Qaida leader libels Rummy!

"After they (the Americans), for no reason, bombed entire villages to scare the inhabitants, the defense secretary said it was the United States' right to exterminate the peoples since they are Muslim and since they are not American."

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-- BBC transcript of Al Jazeera's latest Osama Bin Laden video.

Discussion: This column's usual practice is to provide refutation. In the case of a statement falsely attributed to an individual, Chatterbox will ordinarily track down the original quotation in order to demonstrate how it has been garbled and misrepresented. But what do you do when a false attribution comes out of thin air? Chatterbox can't find anything Donald Rumsfeld has said since Sept. 11 that even vaguely resembles what Bin Laden claims that he said. (Maybe it's out there and Chatterbox has missed it.) What Chatterbox can say with great certainty is that if Rumsfeld had ever suggested in any way that the U.S. had the right to exterminate people on the basis of their being non-American Muslims, that would have attracted considerable attention in the press, and probably would have cost Rumsfeld his job. It didn't happen.

Got a whopper? Send it to chatterbox@slate.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:

Dec. 20: Orrin Hatch

Dec. 13: Osama Bin Laden

Dec. 7, 2001: Henry Kissinger

Nov. 30, 2001: Council on American-Islamic Relations

Nov. 23, 2001: Bud Selig

Nov. 16, 2001: Sara Jane Olson

Nov. 9, 2001: Donald Rumsfeld (item includes retraction)

Nov. 2, 2001: Dick Armey  

Oct. 26, 2001:  Gale Norton

Oct. 19, 2001: State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker

Oct. 12, 2001: Clarence Thomas

Oct. 5, 2001: Abdul Salam Zaeef

Sept. 27, 2001: Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, and Dick Cheney

Sept. 20, 2001: Larry C. Johnson

Sept. 13, 2001: Yasser Arafat

Sept. 7, 2001: Tommy Thompson

Aug. 30, 2001: HHS spokesman Bill Pierce

Aug. 23, 2001: Variety Editor Peter Bart

Aug. 17, 2001: Tom Daschle

Aug 10, 2001: Robert Mueller

Aug. 3, 2001: Barbara Olson

July 27, 2001: Jeffrey Archer

July 20, 2001: George W. Bush

July 13, 2001: George W. Bush

July 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone

June 29, 2001: David Brock

June 22, 2001: Edmund Morris

June 15, 2001: George W. Bush

June 8, 2001: Nepali Prince Regent (subsequently, King) Gyanendra

June 1, 2001: Mary McGrory

May 25, 2001: Ari Fleischer

May 18, 2001: York, Pa., Mayor Charles Robertson

May 11, 2001: Ted Olson

May 4, 2001: Rear Adm. Craig Quigley

April 27, 2001: Ben Affleck

April 20, 2001: South Carolina state legislator Chip Limehouse

April 13, 2001: Gray Davis

April 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone

March 30, 2001: Spencer Abraham

March 23, 2001: George W. Bush, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, and/or the Treasury Department

March 16, 2001: George W. Bush

March 9, 2001: Russ Freyman, spokesman, National Association of Manufacturers

March 2, 2001: Paul O'Neill

Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik

Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney

Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson

Jan. 26, 2001: Denise Rich