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Posts falsely claim Chicago mayor supports New World Order

May 13, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows proof of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot supporting the “New World Order,” a conspiracy theory built on the idea that the world’s most wealthy and powerful are plotting to overthrow democracy and install a single, global authoritarian government. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was edited to take her words out of context. Lightfoot was not planning a global coup, she was talking about ending a long-standing and unusual custom in Chicago called “aldermanic prerogative,” which gave aldermen absolute power on zoning and development decisions in their home wards. 

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THE FACTS: Social media users are taking a comment Lightfoot made in a 2019 video out of context to suggest she is part of a global scheme to overthrow U.S. democracy and institute a “New World Order.” 

The video of Lightfoot talking was taken during an April 2019 interview with the Chicago Tribune, days after she won her mayoral bid with a historic campaign that vowed reforms that would root out corruption in the city. 

During the interview, Lightfoot said she would put a stop to aldermanic prerogative, sometimes called privilege, which allowed a single alderman (out of 50) to veto or hold up a project in their home ward. Some criticized the practice as unchecked power that was easy for aldermen to abuse. 

Lightfoot goes on to explain that aldermanic prerogative isn’t a law or actual rule but part of the city’s “dominant culture.” To help get rid of the practice, Lightfoot says she plans to sign an executive order that says the city will no longer honor the practice. She tells the Tribune that after that order is signed, she will then hire new officials across key departments in the city, like zoning and housing, who are on board with abolishing the custom. 

“You pick the people to run those agencies and the deputies that are pledging allegiance to the new world order and good governance,” Lightfoot said. 

Social media users are sharing an edited, one-minute video clip  of that comment to suggest she is talking about trying to overthrow the government with a new world order. Other social media posts share a screenshot of her quote to make the misleading claim. 

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In May 2019, after she was inaugurated, Lightfoot signed an executive order limiting aldermanic prerogative. 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536