Some misconstrue Declaration of Independence tweets by NPR

Legal History

Declaration of Independence


One Twitter user thought National Public Radio was calling for revolution. Some thought NPR’s tweets referencing “absolute tyranny” and a “tyrant” were referring to President Donald Trump.

They were wrong. NPR was tweeting the Declaration of Independence in 113 consecutive posts, the Washington Post reports. BuzzFeed and the Associated Press also have stories.

NPR has broadcast a reading of the Declaration of Independence for 29 years to commemorate the July 4 holiday. This year, the network decided to extend the tradition to social media, generating “a lively conversation,” NPR spokesman told the Washington Post.

Lines about wrongs by King George III brought the most condemnation from confused Twitter users.

One of those lines read: “He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.” Another said, “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

One Twitter user responded (from an account the Washington Post says has since been deleted), “Propaganda is that all you know how? Try supporting a man who wants to do something about the Injustice in this country #drainingtheswamp.”

Many of the Twitter users who misconstrued the tweets have deleted their comments. Some issued a mea culpa. “I Tweeted a VERY dumb comment. But ask yourselves; if read to the average American, would they know that you were reading the DOI? I do now,” one person tweeted.

The Washington Post article includes the full text of the Declaration of Independence.

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