Update of December 22: Replacement of paragraph 8 with a comment from Prager Zeitung
Social media users are sharing a text, allegedly an excerpt from a Czech newspaper editorial translated into English, which claims the United States is endangered by the people who elected Joe Biden as president. Reuters could not find any evidence to support this translation from an actual article. Almost the same text has been circulating since at least 2010, targeting Barack Obama.
Examples can be seen here, and here, here, here.
“According to a PRAGUE DIARY – It seems that it has become evident to the rest of the world that the United States is digging its own grave (sic),” the post begins.
Some iterations claim that the text is an excerpt from a “Prague newspaper article” which has been translated into English. The alleged article excerpt reads: “The danger to America is not Joseph Biden, but citizens capable of giving a man like him the presidency.” The “Republic”, the text says, can outlive Biden but “is less likely to outlive a multitude of fools, like those who made him their president.”
Most of the text of this statement, but referring instead to President Barack Obama, has been circulating online since at least 2010. (here, here).
Some versions of the Obama version indicate that the article is from “Prager Zeitung” (here, here), a Czech German-language publication (www.pragerzeitung.cz/uber-uns/).
Some later iterations (here, here) attribute it to the “Prague newspaper, Praguer Zeitungon”, which is probably a misspelling of Prager Zeitung.
Marcus Hundt, editor-in-chief of Prager Zeitung, told Reuters by email that the newspaper “never published such an article. Neither about Joe Biden nor about Barack Obama ”. Prager Zeitung, he added, “mainly reports events in the Czech Republic and Europe and not home affairs in other countries.”
A search of its website returned 15 articles mentioning Obama, the oldest dated March 10, 2012 (www.pragerzeitung.cz/?s=OBAMA). None included the statement in this complaint, or anything similar.
According to a 2012 article from fact-checking site Snopes here, the text was also falsely attributed to Václav Klaus, a Czech politician who served as President of the Czech Republic between 2003 and 2013 (here, here).
Snopes also noted that the allegation was used to target several world leaders, including former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (here) and former South African President Jacob Zuma (here).
False. Reuters found no evidence that a news agency in the Czech Republic or elsewhere wrote this text about Joe Biden. A similar version targeting Barack Obama has been circulating since at least 2010.
This article was produced by the Reuters fact-checking team. Read more about our work to check social media posts here.