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Friday, August 16, 2019


Headlines for August 16, 2019

Click here (check back later for link) 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 August 16, 2019

*Wyatt Detention Facility correctional officer put on leave after truck drives into protesters; 64-year-old Warren man seriously injured
Just to emphasize the headline, the first line: “One protester was seriously injured after a black pickup truck drove into a crowd demonstrating at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility Wednesday night.” One of those self-driving trucks, evidently. Reminiscent of one of the most infamous NYT headlines during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza: “Missile at Beachside Gaza Cafe Finds Patrons Poised for World Cup”. No Israelis involved, apparently. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/world/middleeast/missile-at-beachside-gaza-cafe-finds-patrons-poised-for-world-cup.html?_r=0 )

*Jeffrey Epstein Commits Suicide at Manhattan Jail
Modified to (but not any better):
*Jeffrey Epstein Dead in Suicide at Jail, Spurring Inquiries (or, Officials Say)
Definitive pronunciation, no ”apparent” or any qualification. This was before even an autopsy had been performed, much less an investigation.

*Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned
Perhaps, but the fact that the NYT and many others immediately branded Epstein’s death a suicide before even a coroner’s report was out, much less an investigation, reflects just as poorly on our information system.

*Putin’s private army — Russia tightens grip on Africa, but Moscow doesn’t want to admit it
The “Africa” of the headline is basically one country, the Central African Republic, and that “grip” consists of 250 Russian mercenaries training army recruits. Evidence this has anything to do with Putin or even the Russian government? “Analysts say it’s inconceivable that Wagner  [the Russian mercenary company] would exist without Putin’s approval.” And the fact that there are 34 (known) U.S. military bases in Africa and an entire command (Africom)? Unmentioned in this article about “Russia’s grip” on Africa.

*Venezuela’s Maduro Cracks Down on His Own Military in Bid to Retain Power
The article talks about people who were accused of participating in coup plots including attempted assassinations of Maduro. Calling that “cracking down on the military” is absurd; it hardly constitutes “turn[ing] a brutal apparatus of repression against its own military” as the article alleges. And Maduro doesn’t need to make a “bid to retain power”; he is in power. 

Israel bars Democratic congresswomen from entering country
[NYT used the same headline on its home page although the actual article used a different headline]
At the time this happened, there were 41 Democratic members of Congress (along with 31 Republicans) in Israel, some of them surely women. Omar and Tlaib weren’t barred as “Democratic congresswomen”, they were barred as pro-Palestinian (or pro-BDS) congresswomen, just as so many other “regular” Americans have been.

Barring two U.S. lawmakers from Israel is un-Israeli. Trump’s cheering for it is un-American. [WaPo editorial]
Israel has been barring BDS supporters like Medea Benjamin for years, and Palestinians for decades. So the barring of Omar and Tlaib is hardly “un-Israeli” [The same edition of the WaPo actually carried an article headlined “Reps. Omar and Tlaib join a list of prominent figures barred by Israel” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/15/reps-omar-tlaib-join-list-prominent-figures-barred-by-israel/ ]. And American support for Israel’s discriminatory actions has also been going on for decades, so Trump’s action was hardly “un-American”.

Trump wants to focus on the ‘real threat’ to elections: Not Russia, but imaginary voter fraud
Wrong on multiple levels. First, the real threat is not Russia, as implied by the headline, but voter suppression including crosscheck, along with money in politics, gerrymandering, rules which suppress third party access, and more. And second, the author talks about Trump pushing voter ID, but rather than noting that voter ID is being pushed as a voter suppression tool, he merely notes how useless it is against the almost imaginary voter fraud.

Why Bernie Sanders Stood Out at the Iowa State Fair
Subhead: Most candidates go to the fair to establish human connections with voters. Mr. Sanders’s approach underscored how his campaign is focused primarily on championing ideas.
From the headline, you’d think this was a positive article about Sanders. Anything but. He gave a speech. So did every other candidate! So he didn’t spend as much time schmoozing as some others. OMG, he’s done!

US calls China a 'thuggish regime' for 'harassing' Hong Kong-based American diplomat
A U.S. diplomat meets with protesters in Hong Kong, protesters who are waving British flags and calling for the recolonization of Hong Kong — that’s the real “thuggish” behavior. The personal information? “the names of her husband and children.”
Interestingly enough, Julie Eadeh’s Twitter account has been deleted, she has no Wikipedia entry, a State Dept. profile of her from 2011 can be found archived on the web, but no longer exists, nor does any information on her.
*Workers line up for jobs opened by ICE Raids
Changed to: Citizens line up for Mississippi jobs but fear the impact of ICE raids
The real story, which should be in the headline, is how the workers who showed up expressed sympathy for the workers eliminated by the raid, even though they might have been expected to resent them for "taking 'their' jobs".

Friday, August 09, 2019


Headlines for August 9, 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 August 9, 2019

*San Jose police union cancels raffle of semiautomatic rifle after receiving complaints
It took six days after the mass shooting in neighboring Gilroy for them to take down this raffle, and then only after a public outcry. Adding additional irony to this story, the raffle was to benefit the SJPD Chaplaincy, presumably so they would have sufficient thoughts and prayers ready for the next mass shooting. Incidentally this was not the only gun raffle being run by police departments this week; it seems to be a common thing.

*He was a loner, not very memorable, but what made him a killer?
He may not have had any friends in real life, but one thing we know for sure — there are no “loners” in the days of the internet. This kind of headline just lets that kind of influence off the hook.

*Original headline: Trump urges unity vs. racism
Changed to: Assailing Hate But Not Guns (online: Trump Condemns White Supremacy but Stops Short of Major Gun Controls)
Trump did in fact say “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated.” Of course he also blamed video games, the internet and social media, and mental illness. The latter, by the way, not to propose improved mental health services, but just to talk about “involuntary confinement”, also called imprisonment without trial. 

*Original headline: Trump’s Latino Supporters Say They’re Sticking With Him After El Paso Shootings
Changed to: Latinos grapple with Trump’s views after El Paso shootings
Was there a poll? Nope. The original headline was a classic in spinning anecdotal evidence. The first 3 paragraphs are actually about a guy who didn’t vote for Trump and still won't. Then they talk to an 80-year-old who does. Well that certainly proves the thesis expressed in the headline.

*Putin Says Russia Will Spy on U.S. to Match Missile Development
Leader sets out retaliatory measures after collapse of Cold War weapons treaty
Actual Putin statement: “I instruct the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service to monitor in the most thorough manner future steps taken by the United States.” 

*Maduro government pulls out of talks with Venezuela’s opposition over U.S. sanctions
A classic blame the victim headline. How about "U.S. sanctions sabotage talks between Venezuela's government and opposition"? [For example, this from The American Conservative: Trump’s Embargo Torpedoes Venezuelan Negotiations
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trumps-embargo-torpedoes-venezuelan-negotiations/ ]
Also, the seizure of a ship in the Panama Canal delivering 25,000 tons of soy to Venezuela shows that the word “sanctions” is a complete misdirect. This is a blockade, not just “sanctions”.

*Tulsi Gabbard Thinks We’re Doomed
Print edition front page headline: “Gabbard, a soldier who is serious about peace”. Save the clickbait for the web, evidently.
Subhead on the web: “Or we will be if America doesn’t leave the rest of the world alone. That’s why the 38-year-old congresswoman from Hawaii is running for president.”
First sentence: “Tulsi Gabbard is running for president of a country that she believes has wrought horror on the world, and she wants its citizens to remember that.”
Further: “She lists countries: Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq. Failure after failure, she says. To drive the point home, she wants to meet on a Sioux tribe reservation in North Dakota, where, she explains, the United States government committed its original atrocity.”

Police shootings are a leading cause of death for young American men, new research shows
The weird thing about this headline, and this article, is that it was in the *business and real estate* section, not on the front page.

Friday, August 02, 2019


Headlines for August 2, 2019

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.  

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for August 2, 2019

Note: I started this site, Left I on the News, on August 2, 2003, 16 years ago. Two notes from the first month.

First, I was focusing on stories which were NOT covered in the media then, just as I do now. But whereas now I call them “#FakeNewsByOmission” stories, then I was calling them “MIA” stories - “Missing in America”.

Second, looking back at a story very much in the news today, I wrote about an article by the San Jose Mercury News Asia-Pacific correspondent, back in the day when a newspaper like the Mercury News actually had foreign correspondents. Here’s what he wrote back in 2003 about North Korea:
What's required is a willingness to chip away at Kim's post-Iraq paranoia by responding seriously to his shrill and unbending demand for a "non-aggression pact.'' No U.S. president would sign such an agreement, and Congress would never ratify it. But the U.S. delegation could break the ice by making an unambiguous statement that America does not intend to strike militarily at North Korea. 

The statement would carry more weight than past assurances because it would be witnessed in a formal context by North Korea's sympathetic former benefactors, China and Russia, who are party to the talks along with U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.
*North Korea Hostage Freed by Trump Details His CIA Work and Torture in Prison Camp: 'I Became a Traitor Overnight'
He was a CIA asset who was caught, not a hostage! Also if you were spying for the CIA for 6 years, you hardly became a traitor “overnight”!

*Health care costs, not the system, is failing Americans
http://mercurynews.ca.newsmemory.com/?publink=073364831 (AP story)
Aside from the casual unconcern about 30 million people (“America’s much-maligned health care system is covering 9 out of 10 people”), the article completely avoids mentioning that the costs it professes concern about are a direct result of “the system”, i.e., of a system based on profit, from the pharmaceutical and device manufacturers to the hospitals and health care providers.

*Top CBP Officer Testifies He’s Unsure if 3-Year-Old Is “a Criminal or a National Security Threat”
Not wrong or misleading or funny, just very disturbing.

*Even one of Trump’s favorite foods has a hidden Russia connection
Wait, aren’t hamburgers called that because of Hamburg, Germany? Why yes. But Anastas Mikoyan (then minister of food) came to US in 1936 to study mass production methods and brought back 25 hamburger machines to the USSR. Nevermind that they actually were then used to produce football-shaped cutlets, not actually hamburgers. No matter, we’ve got our six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, oops, I mean from Russia.

You know who was into Karl Marx? No, not AOC. Abraham Lincoln.
“Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” — Marx? No, Lincoln.

Team Trump Turns to Lindsey Graham to Cut an Iran Deal
Funniest headline of the week.

*Israel Is Expected to Approve Surge in Jewish Construction in West Bank
Israeli apartheid encapsulated in a headline.

Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA

Friday, July 26, 2019


Headlines for July 26, 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 July 26, 2019

*Massachusetts police ask residents to refrain from crime until after the heat wave passes
Oh, OK.

*Afghans seek clarity on Trump’s talk of wiping out the country
Ya’ think?

*The GOP’s questions to Mueller seemed bizarre — unless you watch Fox News
If names like Glenn Simpson & Joseph Mifsud and others are only familiar to viewers of Fox News, that’s an indictment of the WaPo and the rest of corporate media, not of Fox.

*The Plot to Subvert an Election
Unraveling the Russia Story So Far
Rehashes every unproven accusation about what "Russia" did, presented as fact (in a 10,000 word article, the word "allegedly" does not appear even once), and featuring a cover graphic with Trump's head, open and inside is someone else (Papadopolous?) and inside his is someone else (Flynn?) and then someone else (Manafort?) and then, inside everyone else, Putin.

Iran’s claims that it broke up U.S. spy ring are ‘totally false,’ Trump says
In the week this headline ran in the WaPo, as well as virtually identical headlines in every other media outlet, Trump told a documented 61 lies or falsehoods. It's completely indisputable that his word is worth nothing. So why run a headline like this?

*Kim Jong Un's former chef feared detained for 'betrayal' pictured making sushi for UK ambassador
Yet another person resurfaces in North Korea

China’s State Media Show Hong Kong Protest Images, Fanning Public Anger
How dare they not censor the news!

*Russia Targeted Elections Systems in All 50 States, Report Finds
Voter registration databases are not “elections systems”. And we have to take their word for it, since the information is largely redacted. And, of course, the *real* people changing voter registration databases, as extensively documented by Greg Palast, are Republicans like Kris Kobach with tools like “crosscheck”.

I Hacked an Election. So Can the Russians.
Totally misleading. This computer professor got some voting machines and, with physical access to them, changed their codes, then goes on to speculate how someone could do it remotely. But his speculation is only that Russia or North Korea could do this. Why not Republicans (or Democrats)? And, from a WaPo article on the “Russian targeting”, we read “The report runs through some of the ways that certain voting machines can be breached if someone obtains physical access.” Are we really worried that “Russians” are going to be able to obtain *physical access* to sufficient voting machines to have an affect on the election? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to worry about the fact that these machines are being produced by private companies, with their own potential political biases, using proprietary, non-open source code?

It’s not just the Russians anymore as Iranians and others turn up disinformation efforts ahead of 2020 vote
First of all, the whole use of the word “disinformation” is itself disinformation. Tweeting the Trump spews hate is not “disinformation”, it’s a fact (or an opinion if you prefer). Second, who says they’re Iranians? Remember the “Russian” accounts which suddenly became “Venezuelan” accounts? And third, as for accounts which are definitely Iranian, consider this sentence from the article: “Graphika found that among one set of 1,666 Iranian accounts taken down by Twitter in June, about 1 in 4 tweets were in English. Trump was mentioned more than 1,400 times — almost always in critical ways.” If 1 in 4 accounts were in English, then 3 in 4, 75%, were in Farsi. If this were really a coordinated attempt to influence US politics, why on earth would you devote 75% of your effort to a language few Americans can read? And how many actual Americans actually followed these 1,666 accounts? They never say.

*Why Cuba's streets are flooded with classic cars
A 3 ½ minute video in which the words “blockade” or “embargo” are not mentioned. Their “answer” to the headline question is that Cubans in the 50s loved Cadillacs and that after the Revolution Castro banned the importation of cars or car parts.

Trump takes aim at Iran with new sanctions on Hezbollah member Salman Raouf Salman
"Sanctions"? They announced a $7M reward for an alleged terrorist who hasn't been seen for 25 years! Oh, and they "froze his assets" in the US (that was the "sanctions" part), as if he has any! And the "takes aim at Iran" part is pure spin.

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