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Friday, January 24, 2020


Headlines for Jan. 24, 2020

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.  
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted time slot.

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for Jan. 24, 2020

*Biden charges Sanders camp ‘doctored video’ to attack him
"Joe Biden accused Bernie Sanders’ campaign Saturday of issuing a “doctored video” to attack him over Social Security, a false claim that ratcheted up the tension between the two campaigns in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses…the video in question…was not doctored."
Even in the article, the word "falsely" should be the third word. Not "Joe Biden accused…" but "Joe Biden falsely accused…". Because the story is precisely that. Not that Biden accused Sanders, but that Biden *falsely* accused Sanders.

*CNN poll: Bernie Sanders surges to join Biden atop Democratic presidential pack
Sanders 27, Biden 24. Accurate headline would be: "Bernie Sanders surges past Biden".

*The real story: OPCW investigator testifies at UN that no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria
*“Mainstream” coverage, UK version: Russia accused of misinformation over claim Syrian chemical attack was faked
Is this better or worse than the total absence of coverage in US mainstream media?
*“Mainstream” coverage, US version: 
Yes, absolutely nothing. Not a word. A United Nations Security Council meeting convened to assess inconsistencies within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report on alleged chemical attacks in Douma, Syria. A former OPCW specialist, Ian Henderson, who was part of the Douma investigation, had his application for a visa denied, but still spoke on video. The meeting received zero coverage in U.S. media. Zero.

*Schiff warns of Russian attack on US mainland, as Day 2 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial concludes
I couldn't even find a reference to Schiff's important but also insane remark in other mainstream sources, much less a headline. Although WaPo https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/15/impeachment-managers-senate-trial/
in an article on "who are the impeachment managers", notes this almost identical quote as Rep. Jason Crow's "big moment": "We help our partner fight Russia over there, so we don’t have to fight Russia here."

And speaking of insane:
*What if Trump Gave Alaska to Putin?
In which Nick Kristof approvingly quotes Alan Dershowitz, who wrote in 2018: “Assume Putin decides to ‘retake’ Alaska, the way he ‘retook’ Crimea. Assume further that a president allows him to do it, because he believed that Russia has a legitimate claim to ‘its’ original territory.” [For the record, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867; Russia has no claim to it, legitimate or otherwise.

As Protests in South America Surged, So Did Russian Trolls on Twitter, U.S. Finds
So much wrong with this. For starters, "finds" in the headline should be "claims"; the article presents only claims by anonymous officials, not actual evidence. In the first few paragraphs, we find references to "Twitter accounts that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia" and "Russia-linked accounts", but note that in the headline, it was just "Russian Trolls", not "Russia-linked trolls" or "Trolls that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia" (not Russian, just "being linked to Russia"). And, although it doesn't figure directly in the headline, the whole thrust of this article, repeated many times, is about "disinformation", e.g., "The Spanish-language arms of two news organizations in Russia have been accused of spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories and, in some cases, outright falsehoods to undermine liberal democratic policies, mostly in the West." But NOT ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of "disinformation, conspiracy theories, or outright falsehoods" is provided, and the last few words of that sentence tell the real story: "to undermine liberal democratic policies". In other words, it wasn't disinformation, but rather information which contradicted the U.S. "line".

Iran Admits Firing 2 Missiles at Jet and Says It’s Studying Effect
Iran confirms two Russian-made missiles hit Ukrainian airliner
There is absolutely no reason for the “Russian-made” in this headline other than to promote hostility towards Russia (and in turn justify the trillion dollar war budget).

Poll: Most Americans want Trump removed from office by Senate
Remember last week's abortion story when 99% of women who say they made the right decision became "most women". Now what is actually "a bare majority" of Americans, 51%, is now also "most Americans".

Friday, January 17, 2020


Headlines for Jan. 17, 2020

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.  
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted time slot.

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for Jan. 17, 2020

*Warren accused Sanders in tense post-debate exchange of calling her a 'liar' on national TV


*Warren accused Sanders of calling her ‘a liar on national TV’ in their tense confrontation after Tuesday’s debate

*Warren accused Sanders of calling her a liar, recording shows
*Warren Told Sanders After Debate, ‘I Think You Called Me a Liar on National TV’
Subhead: “You called me a liar,” Bernie Sanders responded, as the candidates’ sudden clash injected new uncertainty into the Democratic presidential race.
But if you listen to the video, Sanders also accuses Warren of calling him a liar. Here’s the lead paragraph of the WaPo story: “Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the two leading liberal presidential candidates, accused each other of calling the other a “liar” in an extraordinary exchange caught on a CNN microphone moments after the end of Tuesday’s presidential debate.”
So why does this headline only convey half the story?

*Warren, Sanders spar over claim that a woman can’t win
Nonsense. They both agreed strongly that a woman can win. And there is a subtlety here. If Warren and Sanders really did spar over that claim, obviously Warren thinks a woman can win, since she's running, so implicitly, they're saying that Sanders does claim a woman can't win. Which is a lie.
*Can a Woman Win the Presidency? It’s a Good Question
It’s not a “good question”, it’s a ridiculous question. If we had a system of direct election, a woman would have already won. Even with the system we have, she only lost by tens of thousands of votes in a few states. Get out of here with that “good question”.

Sanders-Warren rift highlights liberal divide: purity versus pragmatism
Really what it highlights is how low Warren will stoop to beat Sanders.

Bernie Sanders’s agenda makes him the definition of unelectable
Jon Cowan is president and Jim Kessler is executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a center-left think tank.
Sanders is a socialist, Medicare for All is toxic, blah, blah. You know what receives nary a mention in this article? Polls that show Sanders beating Trump by the widest margin of any Democrat. Next to last paragraph attempts to explain this: “Sanders is truly an authentic politician. That helps explain why some early national polls show him competitive in a head-to-head race against Trump.” Nonsense. The polls reflect his agenda, not his “authenticity”.

*Pompeo says Soleimani killing part of new strategy to deter U.S. foes
Accurate headline: Pompeo confesses US committed a war crime.
*State Department security officials weren't notified of 'imminent' threats to US embassies
In an article which uses the word "imminent" no less than 15 times, this nugget is buried in the 6th paragraph: "the State Department did not produce the analysis that US embassies in the Middle East faced an imminent threat, the legally required threshold to justify Soleimani's killing." "War crime" or "war criminal"? Not once.
*Trump authorized Soleimani's killing 7 months ago, with conditions
"International law"? "War crime"? Unmentioned.
*If there was no ‘imminent’ attack from Iran, killing Soleimani was illegal
Only mention of "war crime" is in the final paragraph: "And while military officers and others in the chain of command may question or push back on his proposals, they will follow his orders (short of clear war crimes and other patently illegal acts)."
A Narrative Collapses as Trump Tweets: ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’
How about “Administration lies fall apart.”

*The majority of women feel relief, not regret, after an abortion, study says
*Five years after an abortion, most women say they made the right decision
After five years, 99% of these women said having an abortion was the right decision. That 99% statistic is completely omitted in the CNN article.
Proper headline:
*Almost no women regret having abortions 5 years later, according to a landmark study

Trump Sold Voters on Stopping ‘Endless Wars.’ What if a New One Starts?
The good old passive voice. How about as the 2nd sentence: “He just started a new one”?

11 Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump
Trump did say that, of course, but the claim comes from the military, not Trump.

Who is Lev Parnas? Soviet-born operator thrust into Trump impeachment scandal
He was born in Ukraine (admittedly then part of USSR), then moved to the US…WHEN HE WAS THREE!!! But he’s still “Soviet-born” in the headline as if it’s relevant.

Friday, January 10, 2020


Headlines for Jan. 10, 2020

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.  We were preempted last week, so there are "old" headlines below as well.
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted time slot.

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for Jan. 10, 2020

*The reason Qassem Soleimani was in Baghdad shows how complex the Iran crisis is
Subhead: The commander is said to have been in Iraq to discuss moves to ease tensions between Tehran and Saudi Arabia – something that will have been of interest to Washington
The headline that did not appear (and not just in a headline) in any US corporate media outlet, meaning the American people are completely uninformed about this clearly significant information #FakeNewsByOmission
Note that this peace initiative was no secret — it was reported last month in the WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-seeks-to-ease-tensions-with-iran-11576178194

*Pro-Iranian Protesters End Siege of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
Subhead: Iran’s ability to deploy militias to attack the American Embassy, with Iraqi support, made clear how much power it wields in Iraq.
Zero evidence that Iran “deployed militias”. By the next day, David Sanger was referring to the “Iranian-backed attack on the United States Embassy”, again with no evidence to back up that assertion. A demonstration of how the U.S. media helps fuel the war drive.

*US isolationism leaves Middle East on edge as new decade dawns
[Appears the same day US planes kill 25 Iraqi militia members] 800 military bases and bombing seven countries and trying to overthrow governments in Bolivia and Venezuela etc etc equals…isolationism? Another case of confusing Donald Trump’s words with U.S. actions.

*Iranian General Traveled With Impunity, Until American Drones Found Him
As if Suleimani was like Osama bin Laden hiding in a cave, and not someone who was featured in stories in U.S. media just a few years ago. And impunity? He’s not a war criminal.
The impersonality of the headline is reminiscent of the famous NYT headline from the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza: 
Missile at Beachside Gaza Cafe Finds Patrons Poised for World Cup
Both headlines have now been changed, but the Gaza one is immortalized in the URL.
How about: Iranian General traveled openly until the US decided to assassinate him?

Qassim Suleimani, Master of Iran’s Intrigue, Built a Shiite Axis of Power in Mideast
Was: Qassim Suleimani, Master of Iran’s Intrigue and Force, Dies at 62
Subhead: The commander helped direct wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and he became the face of Iran’s efforts to build a regional bloc of Shiite power.
“Dies”. Also, those “wars” in Iraq and Syria were wars eradicating ISIS, but you’d never know it from the subhead.

Trump Backs Away From Further Military Conflict With Iran
Bad enough, but the Mercury News runs this as a subhead under the headline “Trump: US ‘ready to embrace peace’”
Lede: “President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran and called for renewed diplomacy.” End of the third paragraph: “he dropped for now his bombastic threats of escalating force, vowing instead to increase economic sanctions while calling for new negotiations.” This could only be a written in a world that doesn’t acknowledge that sanctions are war, intended to (and do) kill people. Tulsi Gabbard frequently refers to sanctions, quite accurately, as a modern-day seige.

*Bolton Is Willing to Testify in Trump Impeachment Trial, Raising Pressure for Witnesses
What an empty promise. He’ll do so IF subpoenaed by the Senate. As if that’s going to happen!

*From the Brig to Mar-a-Lago, Former Navy SEAL Capitalizes on Newfound Fame
It’s only the first week of the year, but this may hold up as the most disgusting headline and article of the year. War criminal Eddie Gallagher has a new clothing line, and the NYT happily gives him free publicity.

Facebook executive says company was responsible for Trump’s victory but warns against policy changes
5th paragraph: “Bosworth dismissed the idea that Russian efforts to manipulate U.S. voters over Facebook, a subject of extensive government investigation and journalistic scrutiny, were crucial to Trump’s victory.” From his actual report: “$100,000 in ads on Facebook can be a powerful tool but it can’t buy you an American election, especially when the candidates themselves are putting up several orders of magnitude more money on the same platform (not to mention other platforms).”
Proper headlines from Forbes:
Top Facebook Exec Says Trump’s Ad Strategy Won Him The Election — And Could Do It In 2020

Will the United States Lose the Universe?
First China, now the universe? And, since we’re talking about China, there’s no mention in this article of China’s recently finished FAST radio telescope, the largest in the world, nor of its planned, but not yet built, giant optical telescope. Only European telescopes still in the planning stage are mentioned. The article does feature a rare positive (or is it) reference to Tulsi Gabbard and her support for native Hawaiian objections to the Mauna Kea telescope.

Trump’s Iran Strike Hands Biden Edge in 2020 Democratic Race
Sure, because running the Queen of Warmongers against Trump in 2016 worked out so well.

Trump upended three decades of U.S. strategy with North Korea, but the gamble has failed to pay off
Another case of confusing words with actions. Trump did upend the policy of not talking to North Korea. But the strategy — make DPRK suffer via crippling sanctions until it bends to US will — never changed at all.

North Korea Is Not Done Trolling Trump
Perpetuating the notion that North Korea conducts its foreign policy not in the interests of its own people, but just to “get attention” or “troll Trump”. “The government in Pyongyang is looking to establish a new normal: One where it gets to threaten San Francisco with incineration, and we get to do nothing.” “Crippling sanctions” and maintaining 30,000 troops in South Korea is not “doing nothing”!

Pete Buttigieg raised $24.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, campaign says
Bernie Sanders campaign announces a massive cash haul of $34.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019
Not changing headlines this time, but changing pictures. The original Sanders picture was a menacing picture of Sanders rubbing his hands together, looking uncomfortably similar to some classic caricatures of “greedy Jews”.

In 2020, will Democrats embrace vanilla?
[George Will] “[Sanders continued strength] is encouraging because Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continue to divide, more or less evenly, the “let’s give government lots more to do” constituency. The longer this balance persists, the more time that normal — meaning not very agitated or attentive — voters have to rally ’round candidates who do not make prudent people wince.” But, contrary to the premise of the article, vanilla is actually a flavor, not the absence of one, and centrism is very much a choice — a choice to see continued wars of aggression, a choice to continue to see people die from lack of health care, and so on.

A British barrister was famous for battling Brexit. Then he beat a fox to death, while wearing a kimono.

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