Cross-posted at PoliNation.
The story, as reported, is about an attack by 5 Islamic ‘immigrants’ in the streets of Perugia, Italy near the St. Barnabas shrine. It’s difficult to say exactly where the story started due to a lack of good citations, and it’s still being reported as fact by U.S. news outlets. However, just in the last few hours a blogger named John Liburne and I both noticed that the photo of a smashed Virgin Mary statue accompanying the stories was actually from an attack in Rome in 2011.
All English language reports quote either The Gateway Pundit or the translated story by Raymond Ibrahim which cites a Spanish Language news blurb by Alerta Digital, apparently from Madrid. This appears to be the source of the re-purposed photo from 2011.
The fallout from the hoax is that the story is being used to portray Pope Francis as even more willing to excuse the excesses of violent Islamists than he actually is. That, in turn, is generating actual outrage and hatred directed at the Pontiff, all on account of words that he’s not really said about an event that never really happened. He is already under attack for real statements he’s made about the recent French massacre that seem far too critical of those who insult religion and not critical enough of those who murder cartoonists.
It’s interesting that the story is being repeated by the FreeRepublic, which is a news site that also published the story about the original Rome attack, including the picture of the smashed virgin being passed off now as the statue that was smashed in Perugia. They apparently didn’t remember the photo. But they’re in good company. Megyn Kelly also parroted the story on her website.