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Did Rachel really say that?

Spot checking and sometimes debunking quotes and memes ascribed to Rachel Maddow.

The internet being what it is, sourcing information can sometimes be a challenge, particularly once it has been filtered through the various strata of social media.

We have noticed over the years that The Rachel Maddow Show has been on the air that some of the things Rachel says on TV, at outside speaking engagements, or online can take on a life of their own on the internet. And sometimes things she never actually said take on a life of their own as well.

To set some of the record straight, here are a few of the more common ones to cross our radar. If you have a question about whether a quote or event is really Rachel, write to me on Twitter at @WillAtWork and we’ll hunt it down (and maybe even add it to this page!).

Using a fake, poorly photoshopped tweet is a weird way to argue against content moderation on Twitter.

This has been an oddly persistent meme for a quote that Rachel never actually said. It seems to be one of a class of memes that started as a quote placed next to a photo of Rachel and eventually the quote was falsely ascribed to Rachel. Google doesn't offer much help on the question of where the quote originally came from but it is not from Rachel Maddow.

NOPE. This is from that weird family of memes in which someone writes a random thing and then puts Rachel's photo on it.

This is actually a Facebook tease for a Steve Benen post. The link in Facebook doesn't work anymore but you can find a version of the post here.

Well, not exactly.

Rachel was clear in calling the protests in Venezuela “antigovernment,” but the banner on the screen while she said it was not correct. As a TV show, we have to get them both right, and sometimes we miss.

This is what Rachel said:

Now, Venezuela doesn’t get a ton of political coverage in the United States, but Venezuela is a country in intense turmoil right now. The sanctions that the U.S. put on Venezuela were put there in 2014, after 43 people got killed while participating in antigovernment protests. Another three people got killed in antigovernment protests just yesterday. There have been weeks and weeks and weeks of rioting and violent protests.

And now, today, Venezuelans are enraged anew by this brand new FEC filing from the White House which shows that interesting thing about the guy who got the meeting with the NSC officials and with Steve Bannon. It also shows that while Venezuelans have been rioting in the streets, while there have been acute food shortages and medicine shortages in Venezuela, this is a country that should be a rich country but people have literally been starving in Venezuela, somehow in the midst of this incredible economic and political crisis in Venezuela, Venezuela’s state-run oil company somewhere found a half million dollars to donate to the very, very, very inexplicably overfunded Trump inauguration.

We fixed the graphic on the web version, which you can watch here.

Nope: This group exists, but none of its founders are named Rachel and they don’t claim any affiliation with Rachel Maddow.

NOPE. It’s a fake Us Weekly page, fake story, fake quotes, fake everything.

Nope. This wasn’t even a good fake.

Nope: This was popular on some of the lower rungs of right-wing media in the days after the 2016 election. The video itself is real, but Rachel is reacting to the release of the audio of Donald Trump bragging about getting away with grabbing women’s genitals.

Nope. This one has hit some big Facebook groups lately, but Rachel didn’t actually say this.

Nope. Pithy, but not Rachel.


Yes! Posting a photo holding a sign online invites Photoshop fakery, but this is the original. It was for a MLK, Jr. commemoration that MSNBC was doing in 2013. Here it is on our Tumblr from the time, along with one of her writing the sign.

Yes! You won’t find this one in the show archives though. Rachel said this on The Colbert Report, November 6, 2008.

Yes! November 20, 2015 on The Rachel Maddow Show. Here’s the fuller quote:

“Donald Trump is deep now into blaming the media for this whole scandal. Blaming the media for us reporting that he’s campaigning on the idea of watchlists and databases to register American Muslims. And I know it’s fashionable and politically smart to blame the media, but this is important. And somebody’s gotta report this out. Somebody’s gotta do something other than standing there, agog, disbelieving that this is really the top tier of the Republican contest to try to be the next president of the United States of America.”

Yes! Well, mostly. It’s a little bit edited from the April 2, 2010 TRMS.

Yes! A relatively fresh one from the December 7, 2016 TRMS.

Yes! Not sure about the actual day, but it’s from the May 2010 edition of the Valley Advocate.

Yes! This was June 30, 2013 on Meet the Press. Here’s coverage by ThinkProgress.

Yes! It has a couple tweaks but it’s from the January 20, 2012 TRMS.

Yes! This was May 13, 2015 on TRMS. Here’s Steve Benen’s write-up on The MaddowBlog the next day.

Yes! This might be the most shared Maddow meme, though not necessarily with the random ancient Meet the Press photo. It’s from the August 4, 2010 TRMS.

Yes! Rachel Maddow’s remarks after Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election were picked up and shared in a lot of forms. Here’s a YouTube snip of it that includes this particular meme.

Yes! Like the above, this is from November 7, 2012. A little edited, but basically the same. A lot of people found this very poetic, and I transcribed it as such on The MaddowBlog here.