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Friday, February 15, 2019


Headlines for Feb. 15, 2019

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 Feb. 15, 2019

U.S. Sanctions Are Aimed at Venezuela’s Oil. Its Citizens May Suffer First.
There’s no “may” about it, and it’s a present reality, not a future possibility, because sanctions, especially financial sanctions, have been in place long before new sanctions on oil. But most importantly, the first half of the headline is a lie. Sanctions are always aimed to make ordinary people suffer, so that they’ll force their government out. The mechanism may be oil (although it’s actually mostly financial), but the aim is to make people suffer.
For a reminder of what sanctions really are, you only need to read this State Department document from 1960, describing their plan for Cuba: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v06/d499 An excerpt: "every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba…to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government." This is exactly the same in Venezuela today, just as in the DPRK, Iran, still in Cuba, and in many other countries now and through the years.

As Venezuela’s opposition mounts another day of protest, Maduro’s inner circle remains intact
As with other coverage of Venezuela, what’s missing is the role of the masses. Headline could read, “Maduro’s mass support remains intact”. WaPo does mention “smaller” rally of government supporters, but not until 12th paragraph. Mercury News version only included the first 8 paragraphs, though, so no mention there at all. And still no mention in any corporate media of the massive anti-intervention petition campaign underway.
Robert Reich: America Is a Socialist Country for the Rich
America is a kleptocracy for the rich, not a "socialist country". Reich's conclusion rests on this ridiculous basis: "In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing." So, based on this absurd definition of socialism provided by "the conservative mind", Reich concludes that banks and others getting huge tax breaks are the beneficiaries of "socialism". Unbelievable.

The corporate whiteout of the campaign of Tulsi Gabbard, the latest example of #FakeNewsByOmission. No major outlet (NYT, WaPo, others) had a major article (or any article) about Gabbard’s announcement, which featured a powerful speech containing, among other things, a powerful antiwar message. NYT carried a Reuters article online (don’t know if it appeared in the print edition); WaPo had nothing. CNN had a graphic that featured 12 candidates, many of them unannounced. Missing: Gabbard. An accident that she happens to be the one candidate vocally opposing U.S. regime change efforts in Syria and Venezuela? Hardly. Some more examples.

‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail
Mentions Warren, Gillibrand, Harris & Klobuchar. But not Gabbard, making the headline more than a bit ironic.
2020 may be historic for women in more ways than one
Klobuchar, Warren, Harris, Gillibrand all featured, describing their reaction to the SOTU and something about them. Gabbard, who was also watching the SOTU (I assume!), makes it as an afterthought in 14th paragraph; other than her name, the article says nothing about her, unlike the others.
Democrats’ 2020 Choice: Do They Want a Fighter or a Healer?
Mentions Booker, Harris, Warren, Gillibrand, as well as unannounced candidates Biden, Brown, O'Rourke, Sanders & Bloomberg. But not Gabbard.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is officially running for president in 2020, joining a crowded and diverse field of Democratic candidates vying for the nomination.
Mentions Warren, Gillibrand, Harris, and Booker, as well as possible candidates Brown and Sanders. But not Gabbard.

Crystal Meth Is North Korea’s Trendiest Lunar New Year’s Gift
Is it? How do we know? Because “several anonymous sources” told the U.S. government (in the form of Radio Free Asia) so, claims which even the NYT admits “could not be independently verified”. But that didn’t prevent them from running the definitive claim as their headline!

Inside Paul Manafort's 2016 meeting with a Russian operative
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFAj-gQoxCA  (Washington Post video)
Description says Konstantin Kilimnik is a "Russian political operative". He is Russian, and he is a "political operative" (as well as an employee of Manafort). But describing him as a "Russian operative" makes him sound like something very different. Media frequently describe him as "tied to Russian intelligence". However there is NO publicly known information that supports that description.

Students go wild at school as Denver teachers strike over pay
They were dancing in the hallways. OMG. The real story which should have been the headline: "Many of the students who left for the day joined their picketing teachers, according to Pence. “We all support the teachers,” Pence said. “They deserve better pay for what they put up with."

U.S. cyber force credited with helping stop Russia from undermining midterms
“one [senator] suggesting it was largely due to U.S. Cyber Command that the Russians failed to affect the 2018 vote.” Delusional. There’s zero evidence Russia had any interest in the midterms whatsoever, or that the “cyber force” actually did anything. Who exactly were they trying to get elected? “Last week the Justice and Homeland Security departments reported there was no evidence that any foreign government had “a material impact” on the election or campaign infrastructure.” There’s also evidence (that we’re told about at least) that they even tried to do so!

New York Returns 25,000 Jobs to Amazon
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/amazon-new-york.html [NYT editorial]
Um no, no they didn’t. Amazon held out the promise of 25,000 jobs in 20 years. How many of those would have materialized is anyone’s guess, but chances are (based on past examples of such promises) it would have been less, even substantially less.

Friday, February 08, 2019


Headlines for Feb. 8, 2019

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 Feb. 8, 2019

Who’s Afraid of Socialism?
The new Democratic agenda sure looks like government control over the means of production.


[WSJ editorial] The means of production? Really? The article talks about the Green New Deal, as if, for example, the plan’s proposal to replace all cars with electric cars by 2030 isn’t going to mean a massive increase of private business, i.e., GM & Tesla & Ford etc producing millions of new cars. They talk of Medicare for All as if insurance companies, which the government would replace in some versions of M4A, are the “means of production”. The weirdest line, and the only one actually about a takeover of the means of production, is this: “Ms. Warren’s plan to set up a government-owned generic drug maker that would inevitably put private companies out of business because its cost of capital would be zero.” Apparently the WSJ doesn’t understand the meaning of the word capital since they believe this mythical company could manufacture drugs without factories or machines; presumably they’ll just have workers mixing up drugs with mortars and pestles like an old-time apothecary.. Nor do they seem to understand the value of patent protection; it’s the drugs that are under patent protection, not the ones now with generic competition, that make the most profits for the drug companies.

Venezuelans Opposed to Maduro Pour Into Streets for Day of Protests
Chavista rally finally makes it into the article…in the 32nd paragraph! Some interesting lines: “The turnout was far smaller than that of the opposition, experts said.” Experts? “Francisco Rodríguez, an economist at Torino Capital, said the firm had estimated turnout at over 800,000 people. [for the pro-coup rally]” I wasn’t aware financial firms had expertise in crowd estimates. One picture has a caption: “Thousands attended what appeared to be a counter-rally to Mr. Guaidó‘s to show their support for Mr. Maduro.” Picture shows a sign reading “Yankee Go Home!”
Venezuela’s Opposition Stages Massive Protests
Chavista rally makes it into the 16th paragraph, described as “smaller” but with no estimate of crowd size.
By the way: A Fox News report from a reporter in Caracas talked about “dueling protests” in Venezuela on Saturday and referred to “tens of thousands” on both sides. So an honest reporter on the spot certainly had access to accurate information. It's just that some media outlets choose not to report it.

Venezuela’s Crisis Spreads Beyond Its Borders
The citizens of Venezuela have become pawns in a global power game. They need a peaceful and rapid resolution to the crisis.
Nonsense. What’s happening is a struggle between US imperialism and the popular will of the people of Venezuela. NYT wants to bring in Russia just to enlist the Russophobes in this cause. It wasn’t Russia or China or Turkey who brought Chávez and then Maduro to power, it was the Venezuelan people. And, the NYT’s claim that only “the army and die-hard leftists” are still standing with Maduro is belied by the hundreds of thousands who have come out in the streets in support of the government. If only the NYT had reported on those demonstrations, maybe the editorial board would know about them.

Cuban, Hezbollah and Iranian cells drawn to embattled Venezuela: Mike Pompeo
Sheer insanity (admittedly on the part of Pompeo, not the headline writer). “Hezbollah has active cells.” “The Cubans invaded Venezuela. The Cubans have been controlling the security apparatus, protecting Maduro and destroying the way of life for the Venezuelan people for an awfully long time.” Destroying the way of life? Cuban doctors have restored the sight of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans! (just to name one positive contribution of Cuba in Venezuela) Incidentally Iran is only in the headline because Hezbollah=Iran in the minds of the media & US government; he doesn’t even allege Iran is directly involved.

Venezuela crisis sees US humanitarian aid at border as Nicolas Maduro under mounting pressure from Juan Guaido
No, they are under mounting pressure from imperialism (especially US imperialism); they are under no pressure from Juan Guaidó, whose forces have not yet seized a single government building or media outlet (well, they don't have to do the latter, since the right-wing controls many of them in this supposedly "dictatorial" country).

UN rejects Venezuela’s Guaido, will only cooperate with recognized government of Maduro
Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens
Two prime example of #FakeNewsByOmission. Both stories, both significant, have received ZERO coverage in U.S. corporate media as far as I can find. The name “Alfred de Zayas”, the UN rapporteur in question, has literally never appeared in either the NY Times or Washington Post.
Who represents Venezuela? U.N., international lenders stuck in limbo
Reuters is the only news agency to talk about the U.N., and they get it wrong. The U.N. Is not “stuck in limbo”. The U.N. recognizes and deals with the Maduro government, full stop.

Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard
RT & Sputnik, which are no more “propaganda” than NBC (or CNN or the NYT or WaPo etc) dared to run positive articles about Gabbard. The real scandal is the underreporting of Gabbard by the corporate media. She announced for President on Saturday and gave a strong speech, speaking out against regime change, against neocons and neolibs who demand permanent war. The next day both the NYT and WaPo (and other corporate outlets) had stories on Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and not a word about Gabbard’s announcement speech. Sunday night ABC had a brief roundup of Democratic announcements; they gave equal time to a clip from Gabbard’s speech (not centering on her antiwar message) and a clip from Pete Buttigieg (who? He’s the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana!).
But the biggest scandal of all isn’t the claim that RT & Sputnik are daring to report on Gabbard. It’s the claim of a “Russian bot” social media campaign. Or rather, the “stirrings of a possible campaign of support.” And who says so? “Analysts at New Knowledge.” And who is “New Knowledge”? The company that just got caught by the New York Times fabricating Russian troll accounts on behalf of the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to manufacture false accusations that the Kremlin was interfering in that election. The company whose CEO had his account closed by FB because of this fraud!

Russia’s Playbook for Social Media Disinformation Has Gone Global
NYT says “Russia created a playbook for spreading disinformation on social media. Now the rest of the world is following it” but then notes that most disinformation related to voter suppression, like tweeting “incorrect dates for the election or that falsely claimed that ICE was patrolling polling stations,” which has been a staple of US dirty tricks since before Russia existed. Just because it’s now being done by FB and not phone calls or flyers doesn’t make it “Russia’s playbook”. “Twitter said on Thursday that countries including Bangladesh and Venezuela had been using social media to disseminate government talking points.” No, they banned accounts “based in Venezuela suspected of attempting to “influence domestic audiences””, in other words, Venezuelans who support the government and wanted to share their views; the claim that this was a “state-backed influence campaign” was made by Twitter but was made utterly without proof; there is no evidence that “Venezuela” (i.e., the government) had anything to do with these accounts. And, just a reminder, “The campaigns tied to various governments — as well as privately held accounts in the United States — followed a pattern similar to Russian disinformation efforts before and after the 2016 presidential election. Millions of people were targeted by content designed to widen political and social divisions among Americans.” That is, you and I are mimicking “Russian disinformation efforts” by saying anything that will “widen political or social divisions among Americans.” God forbid.

Sweden's first new conscripts prepare to repel Russian invaders
WTF? When I saw the headline, I thought maybe it referred to an “invasion” of beatles or some other insects from Russia? No, they’re talking about a *real* invasion.

Twitter suspends anti-Kamala Harris accounts suspected of being trolls
One of the 2 accounts in question has been reliably verified, by people including well-known reporter Matt Taibbi, to be a real person. What does it mean to call him a “troll”? The only activity identified is posting factual information about Harris; how does that make you a “troll”?

Friday, February 01, 2019


Headlines for Feb. 1, 2019

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 Feb. 1, 2019

Donald Trump’s ‘Axis of Evil’: Pompeo, Bolton & Abrams
Headline of the week

The GOP has become the Soviet party
Media still can’t keep the distinction between the Soviet Union and Russia clear. The main thesis of the article is twofold — Trump and the GOP love Putin and Russia, and thanks to the shutdown workers are suffering. Minor details like the fact that Trump has done many things (weapons to Ukraine, trying to overthrow Maduro, expelling diplomats, withdrawing from arms treaty) counter to Russian interests, and that the USSR had universal health care, free education, and all sorts of things liberal champions like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are fighting for and the GOP opposes don’t seem to matter to the WaPo.

Trump and His Associates Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russians Before the Inauguration
The headline, which refers only to “Russians”, is a lie, over and above the fact that the reader is supposed to think that “Russians”=“Russian government”, which of course it doesn’t. “During the 2016 presidential campaign and transition, Donald J. Trump and at least 17 campaign officials and advisers had contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries, a New York Times analysis has found. At least 10 other associates were told about interactions but did not have any themselves.” By the way, Agalarov, who the article calls a Russian, is actually Azerbaijani. Missing from the article — a count of contacts with Israelis or their intermediaries, or Saudis or their intermediaries. The basic “misdirect” is to make the reader think that Russia is the only country the Trump campaign had any contact with.

Rubio disputes that the United States would participate in a coup in Venezuela
Not the Onion

Roger Stone’s Arrest Was Appropriate, Not Heavy-Handed
Really? If that’s true, it’s appropriate to make every single arrest predawn with 12 armed cops. The article admits he has no criminal record and was charged with a white-collar crime. They make a big point that he threatened a witness in an email by saying “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive]” as if that should be taken seriously. In actual fact, he was such a danger and flight risk that he was released the same day on a signature bond, a fact the author of this article conveniently omits!

Two Nuclear Capable Russian Aircraft Entered American Airspace Before Being Intercepted By U.S., Canadian Fighter Jets
First sentence: “Two nuclear-capable Russian aircraft encroached close to American airspace on Friday.”

Venezuela crisis: White House 'will respond to threats against diplomats'
There have been no threats. That this is a quote from John Bolton doesn’t excuse using this as a headline, leading the reader to think there have been. More accurate headline: “Bolton threatens Venezuela”.

US special envoy for Venezuela has long, controversial history in Latin America
Controversial? How about “sordid”?

Proper headline from the Guardian:
US diplomat convicted over Iran-Contra appointed special envoy for Venezuela
Elliott Abrams, who was linked to failed coup against Chávez, to join Pompeo to urge security council to recognize Guaidó as head

On Venezuela, Rubio Assumes U.S. Role of Ouster in Chief
How very precious. Yes, overthrowing governments is now just a joke to the NYT.

Fight in Venezuela is against more than a strongman — it’s against what some call a criminal empire
Who is this "some" that calls it that? Basically the authors of the article, plus Antonio Ledezma, an exiled Venezuelan opposition leader, Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society, and the U.S. government, which has accused senior Maduro officials of narco-trafficking. None of this is backed by a shred of evidence.

Trump’s ‘America First’ policy could work in Venezuela
“‪American pressure is also justified by our clear national interest. The regime has long been close to Communist Cuba. It has received tens of billions of dollars of crucial financial support from Russia and China over the past decade and a half. The Russian military has also conducted joint exercises with Venezuela, going so far as to send two bombers capable of bearing nuclear weapons to the country last December. Combating Russian influence in our backyard is at the core of our national interest.” How, exactly, does Russian and Chinese investment in Venezuela hurt Americans? Never explained.
Most deceptive sentence: “Venezuelans have tried to kick Maduro and his socialists out of power using the ballot box, but Maduro has used his control of the nation’s security apparatus to maintain control.” They tried, but failed, BECAUSE THEY LOST THE ELECTIONS, a fact omitted from this op-ed.

America Pushes Allies to Fight Huawei in New Arms Race With China
“Arms race”? This is about 5G technology.

Friday, January 25, 2019


Headlines for Jan. 25, 2019

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. 25, 2019

*Outraged Maduro Cuts Ties with U.S. After Opposition Leader Declares Himself Venezuela’s President
What a dishonest headline. The reason Maduro cut ties wasn't Guaidó, it was Trump's *recognition* of Guaidó as the "President" of Venezuela. Once again, the NYT evidently heard criticism (and likely not from just me), because the current headline now reads “After U.S. Backs Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s Leader, Maduro Cuts Ties”.

*Cuba Out of Venezuela
Friends of democracy need to target Havana’s control in Caracas.
With flagrant U.S. intervention ongoing in Venezuela, the WSJ thinks *Cuban* intervention is the problem. “Cuba is the imperial power in Caracas” says the WSJ. Also “Russia certainly wouldn’t mind a Syrian-style civil war in Venezuela that spread more chaos in the Americas and more opportunity to undermine democratic governments.” Absolutely delusional.

*D.N.C. Says It Was Targeted Again by Russian Hackers After ’18 Election
11th paragraph: “FireEye said that although Cozy Bear was the likeliest culprit, the firm could not firmly establish who was responsible for the 2018 campaign against the D.N.C. and other targets. CrowdStrike, another cybersecurity firm, also noted an uptick in hacking activity in November, but it could not say definitively that Cozy Bear was to blame.”

*Israel strikes Iranian targets in Damascus after missile fired at Golan Heights
*Israel Confirms Attacks on Iranian Targets in Syria
*Israel makes rare admission of striking Iranian forces in Syria
You can only "confirm" something or "admit" something if it's true. Both of these headlines should read "Israel CLAIMS to have struck Iranian forces in Syria"
"The strikes, which hit targets including a training camp, munitions storage depots and a site at the Damascus International Airport and were reported by Russia to have killed at least four Syrian servicemen, came after a day of escalation in Syria on Sunday." Strange that they hit "Iranian" targets and the only people reported killed were Syrians. Also note how the "Reported by Russia" is implicitly linked to the previous statements, as if it were Russia, and not Israel, which claimed the targets included a training camp, a munitions storage depot, and "a site" (whatever that means) at Damascus Airport.

A series of headlines from just the WaPo about the “Trump ordered Cohen to lie” story:
Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about Moscow project, report says
Trump reportedly told Michael Cohen to lie. His own attorney general pick testified that's a crime.
Why the BuzzFeed Trump-Cohen story could be the most damning to date
Five big takeaways from the stunning report that Trump told Cohen to lie

The BuzzFeed story about Trump telling Cohen to lie was front page material in the print NYT yesterday. Mueller’s denial is on p. 11.

Reports of damning Mueller findings prompt people to consider possibility of 'President Pelosi'
Huh? The "damning Mueller findings" (which, by the way, were denied by Mueller) about Trump ordering Cohen to lie have nothing to do with Vice-President Pence. So how exactly are they supposed to result in the impeachment not just of Trump but of Pence as well? The “people” in the headline, by the way, refers to random people on Twitter.

*FBI in shutdown: 'We can't pay informants’
At last, something to like about the shutdown: “FBI agents complained Monday that the month-old US government shutdown is preventing them from paying informants, buying drugs undercover in narcotics busts, and even renewing their own security clearances.”

Three hard-left women is a recipe for Democratic disaster in 2020
Hard-left, LOL. By the way the three are Harris, Gillibrand, and Warren; they don’t even mention Gabbard.

U.S. military leaders 'embarrassed' by Trump's Syria plan, Kurdish commander says
Wouldn't you want to talk to the actual alleged U.S. military leaders who are allegedly embarrassed, rather than taking the word of someone with an obvious vested interest in keeping U.S. troops there? Who should be embarrassed is NBC News.

Why Infants May Be More Likely to Die in America Than Cuba
There’s no “may be” about it. From the article: “The infant mortality rate in Cuba is only 4.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. In the United States, it’s 5.9. In other words, an American infant is, by official statistics, almost 50 percent more likely to die than a Cuban infant. That means that 7,500 American kids die each year because we don’t have as good an infant mortality rate as Cuba.”

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