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Penn & Teller in the News – Just Who is Spreading the Bull… Now?

I’ll partially censor the full name of the show, but in recent years, some of my friends have often cited Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t! as authoritative commentary on the world. The infotainment TV show had a large audience and at one point, apparently was the longest running series on Showtime. The goal of the show was generally to debunk pseudoscientific beliefs and popular misconceptions, sometimes suggesting that the perpetrators of such misconceptions were largely seeking fame and fortune at the expense of accuracy and reality. So Penn & Teller came to be seen by some as heroes for truth.

So it was interesting to read that in 2011, one of the duo allegidly retweeted a misquote, out to over 1 million fans. It stated  “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr”. If I recall correctly, I saw that one of my friends forwarded it too. The problem is that apparently Martin Luther King, Jr never made that statement.

With further research I found accusations that the TV series promoted a number of misconceptions through the years and I found a claim on Wikipedia that the hosts recognised they made errors of judgment. This just further goes to show that it’s wise to be skeptical of what you see on TV, read in newspapers, or come across online.


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