I wrapped up investigation of two different bogus quotations here, and I subsequently contacted one of the sites that had posted the bogus information, letting them know that they were perpetuating an error.
That site was the North Texas Skeptics quotation page. I've been in intermittent e-mail contact with John Blanton about the problem since May 24 (that's a week ago if you're keeping track) and thus far there's no change. The Web site still features the following bogus quotation:
My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns. We don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand.
James Watt, Secretary of the Interior for Ronald Reagan
Quoted in the Washington Post, May 24, 1981
(emphasis in the original)
John asked me about the quotation and context and whatnot--understandably curious as to what the problem is. Apparently he's skeptical enough about there being a problem so that he's delayed making any changes until he checks everything out for himself.
If only that had been the practice when they posted the quotation in the first place, eh?
Just checking the cited source would have revealed the problem. The current holdup, I suppose, is the problem of accessing the original story from the Washington Post (which took the quotation from the Wall Street Journal, as I've documented elsewhere). The news story isn't part of the news archive made available to libraries through Proquest for some reason. You have to go to directly to the Post archive to get it. If you want more than the first paragraph, they want a few dollars for it.
The preview does include the entirety of the Watt quotation in question (minus the second sentence, which is bogus). I sent the URL of the right search page to John.
Let's see how much longer it takes to fix the problem.
It will also be interesting to see if they publish some form of correction notice.