Fact Check: Image Does NOT Show 'Prague Newspaper' Quote On Canada's Trudeau -- It's Old Meme That Has Targeted Other Politicians

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Image Does NOT Show 'Prague Newspaper' Quote On Canada's Trudeau -- It's Old Meme That Has Targeted Other Politicians Fake Quote

Did a "Prague newspaper" publish an article referring to Canada as a "confederacy of fools" and describing its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, as "the prince of fools" in 2023? No, that's not true: The purported quote is a years-old repurposed fragment of text whose authorship has never been verified. In the past, the same quote was used to criticize other political leaders.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on November 14, 2023. It opened:

Canada is in trouble....

The post contained an image of what looked like a message or an email citing a foreign news outlet:

From a Prague newspaper.
'The danger to Canada is not Justin
Trudeau, but a citizenry capable of
entrusting a man like him with being Prime
Minister. It will be far easier to limit and
undo the follies of a Trudeau government
than to restore the necessary common
sense and good judgment to a depraved
electorate willing to have such a man for
their prime minister. The problem is much
deeper and far more serious than Trudeau,
who is a mere symptom of what ails
Canada. Blaming the prince of the fools
should not blind anyone to the vast
confederacy of fools that made him their
prince. The country can survive a Trudeau,
who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less
likely to survive a multitude of fools, such
as those who made him their Prime

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-11-14 at 1.16.22 PM.png

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Nov 14 15:16:22 2023 UTC)

This block of text allegedly taken from an unnamed Prague newspaper is a piece of political misinformation that has been in circulation since at least 2009, when then-President Barack Obama was the focus of the passage.

Over the years, different versions of this claim mentioned Obama, Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. However, the targets were not limited to U.S. presidents. The list included public figures from other countries: for example, then-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and then-New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Screen Shot 2023-11-14 at 2.27.51 PM.png

(Sources: Archive.Today screenshot taken on Tue Nov 14 18:22:01 2023 UTC; Archive.Today screenshot taken on Tue Nov 14 18:22:01 2023 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)

As seen in the left screenshot above, in some instances, the quote was attributed to the German-language Czech news resource Prager Zeitung (archived here.)

As of November 14, 2023, its website did not contain (archived here) any mentions of Trudeau (whose name remains the same if spelled in German):

Screen Shot 2023-11-14 at 2.51.23 PM.png

(Source: Prager Zeitung screenshot taken on Tue Nov 14 18:51:23 2023 UTC; the page was automatically translated to English by Chrome)

In 2020, the website's editor-in-chief Marcus Hundt told Reuters that, regarding the resurfacing claim, his news outlet:

has never published such an article ... about Joe Biden nor about Barack Obama.

He added that the Prager Zeitung

primarily reports on events in the Czech Republic and Europe and not on domestic affairs in other counties.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of the stories mentioning foreign countries can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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