The Independent: Greatest Threat to Journalism Since Polio

The Independent has a profile of Eminem’s publicity for his upcoming new album which include this claim,

As his fame grew, Eminem became a magnet for controversy. He was accused of glorifying misogyny, homophobia, bad language and violence. He was arrested on gun charges. On one occasion, George Bush, upset by his lack of respect for the forces of conservatism, labelled him: “The greatest threat to America’s children since polio.”

How stupid is the reporter who wrote that? That has urban legend written all over it. And, per Snopes,

Given that:

  • None of these articles [from 2001 when the quote first appears] contains any details about when (or where, or under what circumstances) President Bush allegedly described Eminem as “the most dangerous threat to American children since polio.”
  • All of the articles containing this putative quote come from newspapers published in the UK.
  • We haven’t yet turned up even a single article from a U.S. newspaper which includes this quote (other than brief references to its having been mentioned in British newspapers), even though President Bush and Eminem are both Americans and major media figures.

We’re guessing that this was a spurious “quote” fabricated by someone for publicity purposes (nothing piques curiosity about a person more than the President’s declaring him to be a dangerous enemy), or to poke fun at President Bush. Since no one else has been able to verify the authenticity of this quote, we’re assigning it a “False” rating.

Many of us who live in the United States can remember the withering criticism directed at George H. Bush for his moronic statements about The Simpsons. If George W. Bush had really said something as stupid as that, it would have been major news in the United States.