NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell incorrectly accused Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of misquoting William Shakespeare on Wednesday in a fact check attempt that brutally backfired once Internet users picked up on her error.
Mitchell, a journalist at NBC for four decades who carries an English literature degree from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, wrote to her 1.9 million Twitter followers that Cruz was quoting William Faulkner, not Shakespeare.
“.@SenTedCruz says #ImpeachmentTrial is like Shakespeare full of sound and fury signifying nothing. No, that’s Faulkner,” she wrote.
Cruz had appeared on America’s Newsroom earlier Wednesday to discuss the Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump. “It is reminiscent of Shakespeare, that it is full of sound and fury and yet signifying nothing,” he had said, employing a quote from Macbeth, a tragedy by Shakespeare, perhaps the most famous playwright in history.
The veteran journalist had to apologize upon realizing her error, adding in a follow-up tweet, “I clearly studied too much American literature and not enough Macbeth. My apologies to Sen. Cruz”:
I clearly studied too much American literature and not enough Macbeth. My apologies to Sen. Cruz.
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) February 11, 2021
Faulkner, a well-known American writer, authored the highly regarded 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury.
Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, a self-proclaimed Never Trumper who has been aggressively advocating for the former president’s impeachment conviction, further perpetuated the erroneous tweet, responding to Mitchell, “and it says volumes about his lack of soul. That’s Any Thinking Person”:
and it says volumes about his lack of soul. That's Any Thinking Person.
— Jennifer 'America is Back' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) February 10, 2021
Cruz was quick to defend himself against Mitchell’s failed fact check, writing, “Methinks she doth protest too much. One would think NBC would know the Bard”:
Methinks she doth protest too much.
One would think NBC would know the Bard. Andrea, take a look at Macbeth act 5, scene 5:
“[Life] struts & frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound & fury,
Signifying nothing.” pic.twitter.com/3GbvoLSJTh
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 11, 2021
He also replied to Rubin, “Between NBC & the Washington Post, you’d think somebody would have read Macbeth.”
The Texas Republican was not the only Twitter user to highlight Mitchell’s literary blunder. One commenter pointed to her Ivy League degree, writing, “Oh, dear. Oh, dear old Penn”:
Oh, dear. Oh, dear old Penn. pic.twitter.com/anhJo1MNQl
— Percy Gryce (@percy_gryce) February 11, 2021
Donald Trump Jr. advised his followers, “Don’t go for the dunk if you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about”:
It’s Macbeth. You’re trying too hard.
Twitter Pro Tip: Don’t go for the dunk if you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. https://t.co/u2K3TOI6yM
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 11, 2021
Marianne Williamson, a 2020 Democrat primary presidential candidate, also chimed in to issue a correction:
“Sound and fury signifying nothing” is Shakespeare. “The Sound and the Fury” is a novel by Faulkner.
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) February 11, 2021
Washington Examiner writer Siraj Hashmi, who compiles factually inaccurate or otherwise objectionable tweets into a weekly “List,” replied to Mitchell:
— Siraj Hashmi in Gitmo (@SirajAHashmi) February 11, 2021
Many others also weighed in:
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) February 11, 2021
Finally, my AP Lit class is going to come in handy.
[clears throat for ten seconds]
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) February 11, 2021
Just here for Horatio.
— A.R. (Actually Republic) Moxon (@JuliusGoat) February 11, 2021
I came here to post the same. This is my first time ever defending Ted Cruz.
— couldntquite (@couldnt_quite) February 11, 2021
I normally wouldn't care that @mitchellreports doesn't know her Faulkner from her Shakespeare but the fact that she tweeted this in an effort to paint @SenTedCruz as stupid makes it just too delicious to resist!
— Adriana Stubbs (@adriana_s1970) February 11, 2021
We have the worst elites. https://t.co/JYClITaSEr
— John Carney (@carney) February 11, 2021
It pains me to say this but Ted Cruz wins this round. https://t.co/VXDYiTlXFJ
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) February 11, 2021
I love @tedcruz. I get that a lot of people hate his guts. That’s the game.
But what I will never get is people who think they’re gonna match IQs with the guy. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to someone that smart in my entire life. Talk about punching above your weight class… https://t.co/i1qw6CDVzp
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) February 11, 2021
Yes, your problem was “you studied too much” instead of “in my rush to sanctimoniously ‘literature flex’ on Ted Cruz (who I believe is beneath me in intellect), I exposed myself as a fraud.” https://t.co/jleILp1WwG
— Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) February 11, 2021
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