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Posts attribute bogus quote to New Zealand’s prime minister

April 4, 2022 GMT
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures during a press conference at parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. A fabricated quote attributed to Ardern about Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch has spread on social media, despite the fact that there is no record of Ardern making such comments. (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures during a press conference at parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. A fabricated quote attributed to Ardern about Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch has spread on social media, despite the fact that there is no record of Ardern making such comments. (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures during a press conference at parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. A fabricated quote attributed to Ardern about Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch has spread on social media, despite the fact that there is no record of Ardern making such comments. (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures during a press conference at parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. A fabricated quote attributed to Ardern about Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch has spread on social media, despite the fact that there is no record of Ardern making such comments. (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures during a press conference at parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. A fabricated quote attributed to Ardern about Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch has spread on social media, despite the fact that there is no record of Ardern making such comments. (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)

CLAIM: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country doesn’t have an issue with the “rage of older white men” because “we’ve never allowed Rupert Murdoch to set up a media outlet here.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The quote is fabricated. There is no record of Ardern making such comments, and a spokesperson for her office confirmed she did not.

THE FACTS: Posts sharing the bogus claim that Ardern made the comment about the News Corp founder circulated widely on social media on Saturday and Sunday.

“Asked why New Zealand does not suffer from the rage of older white men like in other western Anglo countries, PM Jacinda Adern replied, ‘Because we’ve never allowed Rupert Murdoch to set up a media outlet here’,” one Twitter user wrote on Saturday in a tweet that has been shared over 37,000 times. “The guy has wreaked havoc on civil society in US.”

But the quote is fake. Searches of news archives, Google and transcripts from New Zealand Parliament’s House of Representatives show no record of Ardern ever making such remarks.

“We have no recollection of the Prime Minister making this comment and cannot find any source for it,” Ardern’s office confirmed in a statement to the AP.

The bogus quote is similar to a real comment made by David Cormack, a former director of policy and communications for New Zealand’s Green Party, several years ago. Cormack told The Guardian in October 2020: “A huge reason that our politics is not so extremely polarised and so far out there is because we no longer have Murdoch-owned press in New Zealand, and it’s never taken a foothold.”

News Corp has owned stakes in New Zealand media companies in the past, including television provider Sky and New Zealand Media and Entertainment, which owns newspapers, radio stations and websites, according to a report from the Auckland University of Technology’s research centre for Journalism, Media, and Democracy.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.