I saw a curious quote on Twitter yesterday that was attributed to none other than Theodore Roosevelt: “To anger a conservative lie to him, to anger a liberal tell him the truth.” The only problem with this quote? Roosevelt never said it.
As best I can tell, the quote was manufactured sometime in the mid-2000s. It doesn’t show up in a single biography of Roosevelt, nor in any book with notable quotations. It’s not clear who first attached Roosevelt’s name to it, but it’s definitely a creation of the 21st century.
The thing about the term “liberal” is that in Roosevelt’s time, it really wouldn’t have been used like this anyway. Calling someone “a liberal” to mean progressive would probably have been met with blank stares of confusion at the turn of the 20th century.
It’s not just Teddy Roosevelt who has his name attached to this one. Sometimes you’ll see modern conservative standard bearers like Rush Limbaugh with their pictures next to the gem.
But I’ve found no evidence that Limbaugh said it either.
Whether you’re liberal or conservative, you shouldn’t get mad about anyone pointing out that this quote is fake. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Debunking fake quotes on the internet transcends politics.”