Facts Matter: Claim Pelosi planned to take family to Afghanistan is false

  • A social media post falsely claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taking 93 family members along on a trip to Afghanistan to visit troops, which President Donald Trump canceled.

    A social media post falsely claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taking 93 family members along on a trip to Afghanistan to visit troops, which President Donald Trump canceled. Associated Press

 
 

A recent blog post said U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had planned to bring 93 family members with her on a trip to Afghanistan that was canceled by President Donald Trump.

"Who takes 93 family members (mostly children) on a secret government business trip on military aircraft, paid for by taxpayer dollars?" the post asked.

Not Pelosi, according to PolitiFact.com. The story is false.

The story was published on The Marshall Report, a website known to post things that aren't true, PolitiFact said.

The trip was to include Pelosi and six other lawmakers, along with top staffers, but no family members, PolitiFact reported. The group planned to meet with North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials in Brussels before heading to Afghanistan to visit with U.S. troops.

Hours before they were to depart Jan. 17, Trump canceled the trip, saying Pelosi needed to stay in Washington. D.C. "negotiating" to end the partial government shutdown, The Washington Post said.

Comparison shows difference ice shelves

A recent entry in the 10 Year Challenge, in which social media users post images showing how something has changed over 10 years, uses side-by-side photos to show the deterioration of sea ice from 2008 to 2018.

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But the photos are of different ice formations, according to The Associated Press. In fact, they are from opposite sides of the earth.

The photo purported to be from 2008, actually taken in 2016, shows the Getz Ice Shelf in Antarctica while the other photo, taken in 2018, is of a small piece of ice in the Chukchi Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean.

The photo of the ice remnant in the Chukchi Sea was taken by Julienne Stroeve, an ice scientist with the University of Manitoba, while studying ice positions in the summer, AP said.

"This picture is really misleading," Stroeve told AP. "You can't just cherry pick individual years. You have long-term change happening."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 10 Year Challenge meme has been shared more than 200,000 times, AP said.

Border wall won't stop drug abuse

In a speech last week, President Donald Trump made the case for a wall at the southern border, claiming the barrier would "quickly and greatly" reduce the drug problem in the U.S.

"We can stop heroin," he said.

But findings by the Drug Enforcement Administration contradict the president, according to The New York Times.

The DEA report said "only a small percentage" of drugs seized by law enforcement come across the border between ports of entry, the Times said. Drugs smuggled into the U.S. are most often inside passenger cars or tractor-trailers, despite inspections at the border. Other methods include trafficking drugs in buses and cargo trains and through tunnels.

Even stopping all drugs from Mexico would not end America's drug problem, the Times said. The U.S. Centers on Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 40 percent of opioid deaths in 2016 were a result of prescription painkillers -- drugs made by pharmaceutical companies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Quote falsely attributed to Ocasio-Cortez

A fake quote attributed to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is just another of the false rumors and accusations aimed at the New York congresswoman, according to Snopes.com.

The fake quote attributed to Ocasio-Cortez, "Owning guns is not a right … If it were a right, it would be in the Constitution," has been shared numerous times on social media, Snopes said. The quote can't be found in any news articles, interviews or social media posts that involve Ocasio-Cortez.

Snopes points out that it isn't believable that Ocasio-Cortez, who often talked about gun rights during the campaign, would not be aware of the Second Amendment.

The congresswoman has said she is a "firm believer" in the amendment and an assault weapons ban could strengthen gun laws without "running afoul" of the Constitution.

Fast food quote fake

A fake quote was attributed to Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence after President Donald Trump hosted the national champion football team at the White House, according to PolitiFact.

The football team was treated to an assortment of fast food from McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Domino's Pizza on Jan. 14 following a victory over the University of Alabama a week earlier.

Following the feast, a meme showed Lawrence saying, "President Donald Trump got all our favorite foods, it was the best meal we ever had. Then we go and see the coastal elite media trashing it for not being organic vegan. We're football players not bloggers. This was a perfect blue collar party."

But Lawrence, 19, said on Twitter that everything presented in the meme was "fabricated" and he didn't know where it came from, PolitiFact said.

"However the trip to the White House was awesome!" Lawrence said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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