Facts Matter: Trump doesn't give Chicago credit for nation's drop in crime rate

In his first visit to Chicago since becoming president, Donald Trump focused part of his speech last week on the city's crime stats.

"Over the last two years, the number of murders in America and America's major cities has dropped, unlike here, by more than 10 percent," the president said. "And if we ever took the Chicago numbers out of our total numbers, the numbers would be incredible - and they already are, even including Chicago."

Not quite, according to

Statistics covering 2016 to 2018, the latest figures available, show the drop in murders nationally at 6.9 percent, not 10 percent, PolitiFact said. Chicago experienced a decrease from 765 murders to 563 during that period, one of the biggest drops among the 30 largest U.S. cities. Only San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose had bigger declines.

"He's dead wrong on Chicago," Ames Grawert, of the New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice, told PolitiFact. "The city's gotten a lot safer in the past two years, and it's not right to say Chicago's lagging the national trend. … It's one of the cities that's led the downward trend of the last two years."

In that regard, PolitiFact cited Chicago Sun-Times research that showed Chicago was responsible for 86 percent of the national decrease from 2016 to 2018. Read more at

Fake meme targets CNN

Just before Trump made his way to Chicago, he spent the weekend overseeing the U.S. military operation that killed terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As the news media covered the accomplishment, a fake meme purporting to be a screenshot of a CNN broadcast began circulating on social media, according to

The image shows al-Baghdadi, an inset photo of CNN news anchor Don Lemon and the headline "Trump kills unarmed father of three."

The photo is a "digital forgery," Snopes said. Part of the image, especially near the headline, is blurry and opaque, indicating it was added when the meme was created.

The inset picture of Lemon is also a giveaway, Snopes said. The photo is old and has been used in other digitally manipulated offerings. Lemon wasn't even on CNN that night. The actual coverage featured anchor Jake Tapper.

And the real headline during that broadcast was "President Trump announces ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is dead."

The fake item was flagged as part of Facebook's efforts to combat false news. Read more at

Chicago photo altered as fake call for violence

A photo recently posted to Facebook pages shows protesters holding a banner that reads "Assassinate Republicans that defeat Democrats. Make America Great."

The photo, according to The Associated Press, was accompanied by a caption stating "Openly calling for assassination. Guess what comes next … war."

This photo has been doctored to change the words on the sign, the AP said. In the original photo, the banner said "Trump makes America hate, our students make America great."

The photo was taken by photographer Matt Marton during a March 2016 protest at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Trump, the Republican candidate at the time, was planning a rally at the school, but he canceled the event over security concerns after protesters and supporters clashed, the AP said. Read more at

Hunter Biden received $32,850 during 31 months on Amtrak's board of directors, not $1.76 million, as some on social media have claimed. Associated Press file photo

Hunter Biden didn't get $1.76M from Amtrak

Recent posts online and on social media claim Hunter Biden received $1.76 million from taxpayer-funded Amtrak. The postings also suggest the rail line paid Biden's lobbying firm for work.

Biden, son of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, did receive money from Amtrak but it was well short of the false claims, according to The Associated Press.

Biden received $32,850 during 31 months on Amtrak's board of directors, the Associated Press said.

Biden was on the board from 2006 to 2009 after he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. He received the payments for per diem fees and for attending 43 board meetings during that time.

Amtrak told the AP there was no record of a contract with Biden's lobbying firm.

Biden resigned as a federal lobbyist in 2008 when his father was a vice presidential candidate on the ticket with Barack Obama, the AP said. Read more at

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

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