On seeing D.W. Griffith's Ku Klux Klan-worshipping drama
The Birth Of A Nation
, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was moved to declare, "It's like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all terribly true."
How It Started:
The quote was first published in the New York Post in 1915 and used extensively in the publicity materials for the film, which proceeded to break box office records and led to a resurgence in support for the KKK.
Thomas Dixon, a former classmate of Wilson who wrote the film's source novel, set up a White House screening precisely to try and secure Wilson's endorsement. But it's most likely that Dixon himself composed the quote, as Wilson asked his press secretary to tell people who wrote to him about the film, "Please say I have expressed no opinion about it."