FACT CHECK: Did Groucho Marx Say, ‘Politics Is The Art Of Looking For Trouble’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook alleges that comedian Groucho Marx once stated, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller News Foundation found no evidence that Marx made this statement.

Fact Check:

A member of the Marx Brothers comedy act, Julius “Groucho” Marx had a successful entertainment career that spanned nearly 70 years. His work, which ranged from vaudeville to film, often featured his iconic greasepaint mustache, spectacles and cigar.

While Marx coined numerous maxims and witticisms, there is no evidence that the quote attributed to him in the Facebook post is one of those. The saying doesn’t appear in his collected writings or his correspondence. Searching his autobiographies didn’t return any results either.

Etymologist Barry Popik traced the statement back to a 1930 Massachusetts newspaper where, according to his website, British publisher and writer Ernest Benn is quoted as saying the expression, though the wording varies slightly. The quote can also be found, attributed to Benn, in Henry Powell Spring’s 1944 book “What is Truth.”

The earliest instance of Marx being credited with the expression occurred in a 1964 issue of the Kentucky New Era newspaper, according to Popik.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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