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When it comes to the wide world of internet misinformation, fake quotes are plentiful.
And one quote on conservatives and liberals often attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt has popped back up on social media after circulating the internet for years.
The post, shared to Facebook on March 8, is accompanied by a photo of the former president and says: "To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth."
The quote was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
There is no date or source provided with the quote and we could not find any official record of Roosevelt ever saying this. The quote has been floating around online in the form of memes and a discussion board topic for years, and has been debunked as a faux quote before.
We checked with the Theodore Roosevelt Association, a historical and cultural organization dedicated to honoring the life and work of the 26th president, and nothing close to those words turned up in an archive of Roosevelt’s speeches and letters.
Barry Popik, an etymologist and consulting editor for the Oxford English Dictionary, also researched the quote in 2013 and found no evidence Roosevelt said it. Popik discovered the phrase first appeared in print sometime around 2007, well after Roosevelt’s lifetime. On online message boards and blogs dating back to 2002, the quote was simply attributed to no one, appearing in signatures or in the middle of bodies of text with no source.
We rate this false Roosevelt quote Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, March 8, 2019
TruthorFiction.com, Teddy Roosevelt: "To Anger a Conservative, Lie to Him" Quote-Reported Fiction!, June 3, 2016
BarryPopik.com, Entry from November 24, 2013, Accessed March 11, 2019
TheodoreRoosevelt.org, Quotations from the speeches and other works of Theodore Roosevelt, Accessed March 11, 2019
TheodoreRooseveltCenter.org, Theodore Roosevelt Quotes, Accessed March 11, 2019
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