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Friday, July 10, 2020


Headlines for July 10, 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 July 10, 2020

*The only people dismissing the Russia bounties intel: The Taliban, Russia and Trump
Yeah, no. Interestingly enough, two of those three are the ones in a position to actually know!
*Colin Powell suggests media had ‘hysterical’ reaction to Russian bounty reports

Gareth Porter analyzes the whole series of NYT articles: 
*How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies
Afghan intelligence service known as the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
The CIA and National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) each gave the NDS intelligence an assessment of “moderate confidence,” according to memorandum.
The NIC memorandum reported that NSA gave the information from Afghan intelligence “low confidence”

*New York Times: New US memo highlights gaps in intelligence reports on Russian bounties
“A recent memo from the council helmed by the nation's intelligence chief confirmed accounts that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US troops in Afghanistan -- but cast the reports as incomplete and potentially dubious, The New York Times reported Friday.”
“Multiple former national security officials told the paper that the memo's depiction suggested that it may have been swayed by political intentions.”
*New Administration Memo Seeks to Foster Doubts About Suspected Russian Bounties
Analysis of the supposed motives right in the headline.
Also they buried the article on page 19!
“The memo is said to contain no new information, and both its timing and its stressing of doubts suggested that it was intended to bolster the Trump administration’s attempts to justify its inaction on the months-old assessment, the officials said. Some former national security officials said the account of the memo indicated that politics may have influenced its production.”
Why didn’t the NYT speculate like this about motives when they published the original claims?

U.S. officials say intel on Russian bounties was less than conclusive. That misses the big picture.
The big picture — we’re going to whip up a new Cold War against Russia and justify spending a trillion dollars a year on war, evidence be damned.

*US seizes items thought to be made from hair of Muslims in Chinese labor camps
“US federal authorities have seized a shipment of products made from human hair believed to have been taken from Muslims in labor camps in China’s western Xinjiang province.” That’s it. That’s the sum total of the evidence. But actually this has nothing to do with whose hair it is, as this shows: “In May, a similar detention was placed on Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co Ltd, although those weaves were synthetic, not human.”

*Web headline: Trump Defends Confederate Flag in Latest Race-Based Appeal to White Voters
Article: Trump Adds to Playbook of Stoking White Fear and Resentment
“Race-based”. “Stoking white fear”.

*U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran's Soleimani an 'unlawful' killing
The news that wasn’t “fit to print” by either the NYT or WaPo, although both have frequently cited reports by the same UN rapporteur in the past (eg, re the Khashoggi murder).

‪*Beijing’s secret police get a room with a view in Hong Kong‬
‪“Secret police” only exist in official US enemies; in the US and its allies they’re just “intelligence agencies” (even though they’re equally secret; even their budgets are kept hidden from the public).‬

*U.N. Chief Says Foreign Meddling in Libya Conflict at 'Unprecedented Levels'
https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/07/08/world/europe/08reuters-libya-security-un.html (Reuters)
“Unprecedented”? Really? US & NATO bombing the country and overthrowing its government wasn’t a precedent?

Wednesday, July 01, 2020


Headlines for July 2, 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 July 2, 2020

*Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says
“American intelligence officials have concluded…”

Total actual NYT reporting in this article? Asking DoD and Russia and Taliban for comment.

Taliban spokesperson (9th paragraph): “These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless — our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,”

“Intelligence” which originates with “interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals”. 

“The officials briefed on the matter said the government had assessed the operation to be the handiwork of Unit 29155, an arm of Russia’s military intelligence agency…Western intelligence officials say the unit, which has operated for more than a decade, has been charged by the Kremlin with carrying out a campaign to destabilize the West through subversion, sabotage and assassination.” Really? How do the deaths of a handful of American soldiers in Afghanistan “destabilize the West”?  Also allegedly part of the same effort was the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal. Again, how exactly would Skripal’s death have “destabilized the West”? This is all such complete & utter nonsense.

And why now? NYT has no speculation on this.

Also not mentioned in this or any other article: U.S. spent $20 Billion arming and funding the mujahedin fighting the Soviet Union. 14,000 Soviets died.

Later, one of the authors tweeted this: “The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have confirmed our reporting.” “Confirmed” does not mean to these stenographers what it means to most of us. To them it means the same anonymous sources called up other stenographers and got them to publish the story as well. This is not “confirmation”, it just confirms that the NYT didn’t simply make it up by itself.

And here’s where this leads: that very day, a friend on FB approvingly posted the following tweet: “I'm an Afghanistan vet. Came home as a passenger on a MedEvac. Spent that flight sitting feet from my critically injured brethren. 
He let the Russians put a bounty on our heads.
If you're in the GOP, if you voted for this traitor, you never get to thank me for my service again.”
So not only the whole “bounty” thing now accepted fact, but Trump apparently knew about it and “let” the Russians do it!

And now it’s a Biden (actually just a “not Trump”) ad from the Lincoln Project. “Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers”.
Even the original NYT “reporting” said: “While officials were said to be confident about the intelligence that Russian operatives offered and paid bounties to Afghan militants for killing Americans, they have greater uncertainty about how high in the Russian government the covert operation was authorized and what its aim may be.”

Link to Brezinzski talking about the “Afghan Trap”: https://dgibbs.faculty.arizona.edu/brzezinski_interview

*Lawmakers Press for Answers on Russian Bounty Offers to Taliban to Kill U.S. Troops
From “intelligence claim” to fact in one day.

*Pentagon: 'No corroborating evidence' yet to validate troop bounty allegations
“The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan.  To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
*Suspicions of Russian Bounties Were Bolstered by Data on Financial Transfers
Subhead: Analysts have used other evidence to conclude that the transfers were most likely part of an effort to offer payments to Taliban-linked militants to kill American and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
8th paragraph: The White House “pointed to statements late Monday from Mr. Ratcliffe; the national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien; and the Pentagon’s top spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman. All of them said that recent news reports about Afghanistan remained unsubstantiated.”
*Republican lawmakers confirm intelligence reports on Russian operation to target U.S. troops but say material needs further review
9th paragraph: Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that the Defense Department continued to evaluate the intelligence. “To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports,”

*WaPo front page: Deaths linked to Russian bounties
Subhead (much smaller type): Officials believe several U.S. troops were killed
“Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.
Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program.
NYT: Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops
“They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties.” Wow, that’s one extensive program. It may have helped cause the death of one person.
"United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter."

Intelligence reports on Russian bounty operation first reached White House in early 2019

And where might the money they found come from? From December, 2019:
U.S., International Contractors Sued for Allegedly Paying Protection Money to Taliban
“That U.S. companies were paying millions of dollars to warlords and insurgent groups for protection at the height of the war, when over 100,000 U.S. troops were deployed to Afghanistan, has been widely documented by congressional investigations.
”In 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that protection money was a major source of funding for the Taliban. In 2010, a congressional report entitled “Warlord, Inc.” concluded that payments were systematically funding warlords, corrupt officials and likely the Taliban itself.”

*How The World Missed Covid-19’s Silent Spread
Subhead: Symptomless transmission makes the coronavirus far harder to fight. But health officials dismissed the risk for months, pushing misleading and contradictory claims in the face of mounting evidence.
Articles like this just serve as a coverup for the utter failure of Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, and others. Vietnam is adjacent to China and has had zero deaths. Why? Because they reacted immediately and strongly to the threat. Others chose to downplay or ignore the threat. No “mounting evidence” was needed.

Watch This Protest Turn From Peaceful to Violent in 60 Seconds
Original headline: Protesters March, Police Escalate: How Demonstrations Turn Violent
Thanks to @nyt_diff

Hong Kong is about to be governed by a law most residents have never seen. And it's already having an effect
Every single law passed by the U.S. Congress has never been seen by most Americans. Many have never even been seen by most members of Congress!

After weeks of protests, meaningful police reform appears unlikely
Ridiculous take of the day, based on the premise that the bills in Congress are the only meaningful path to police reform.

How the Trump Campaign Is Drawing Obama Out of Retirement
Nonsense. It’s the anemic Biden campaign that is drawing Obama out of retirement, not the Trump campaign.

What’s behind Russia’s growing ties with the Taliban
There is zero actual evidence in this article that Russia even has “growing ties” with the Taliban, but no matter. Russia, like the US, has communications channels with the Taliban. Aside from that, there are only unsubstantiated claims by the US.

Trump's ties to Putin under fresh scrutiny in wake of Russia bounty reports
Trump has no known "ties" to Putin, nor are any claimed in this article.

Friday, June 26, 2020


Headlines for June 26, 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 June 26, 2020

*For new listeners: Why Headlines?
For more general analysis of the biases and problems with corporate media, follow FAIR — Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
But we concentrate on headlines because:
  1. Headlines form the first and lasting impression
  2. Even when articles have clarifying or even contradictory information, it’s often in the 15th paragraph; most people don’t read that far
  3. If you get your news from a local paper, like the Mercury News, those papers often contain shorter versions of the articles, which don’t get down to that 15th paragraph
  4. If you get your news from TV news, it’s about the equivalent of the first 3 or 4 paragraphs, but basically the equivalent of the headline
  5. And finally, if you get your news from social media, very often you only read the headline that someone else has posted. A friend posted this article: “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting”. But that article itself was a trap; after the first paragraph it was just Latin gibberish. But of course people commented on it!

*A DNA Mix-Up Involving a Washing Machine Kept a Man in Jail for 3 Years
Subhead: The Louisiana case highlights how prosecutors and crime labs withhold key documents from defense lawyers, keeping some defendants in custody for months or years.
So it wasn’t a “DNA Mix-Up” that kept this man in jail for three years, it was the willful and illegal actions of prosecutors and crime labs.

*A Conspiracy Made in America May Have Been Spread by Russia
Subhead: The Americans who pushed a conspiracy theory the night of the Iowa caucuses have migrated to coronavirus conspiracies on Twitter, with help from a very Russia-friendly account.
“Russia-friendly account”≠”Russia” “Ann Louise La Clair, a self-described Los Angeles filmmaker with a Russian Twitter following. Her tweets praising RT advertisements and protesting American airstrikes in Syria — a key Russian ally — had previously been picked up by RT, the Kremlin-owned news outlet.” She’s just a Sanders supporter. Some Russian guy, with no known connection to the Russian government, retweeted her. “@DanWals83975326 continues to play his part. He amplifies Mr. Sanders and Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the Democrat from Hawaii who is a favorite of the Russian press, while slamming Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the D.N.C. He applauded Joe Rogan, the podcaster and onetime Sanders supporter, when Mr. Rogan announced that he would vote for Mr. Trump over Mr. Biden.” (Gabbard is barely tweeting any more, by the way). “DanWals” has a whopping 1200 followers on Twitter, most of them Russians, so his influence over anything happening in the U.S.? Non-existent. (Trump has 82 MILLION followers).

*Venezuela's rival presidents prepare to battle over gold in London vaults
Even the article refers to “Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro” and “His rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido”.

*How the Trump Campaign’s Plans for a Triumphant Rally Went Awry
Weird headline because the rally hadn’t happened yet when this article ran. How did the NYT know it wouldn’t be triumphant? I know for sure Trump will spin it that way no matter what happens, and I doubt he’ll be wrong.

*Wall Street spent heavily to take down Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It was a bad investment.
The word “investment” in this headline isn’t a metaphor.

The case for renewed US engagement in Latin America
A column by Newt Gingrich and others. Of course the US has never stopped being “engaged” in Latin America, whether it’s Venezuela, or Cuba, or Bolivia, or almost any other country – sponsoring coups, economic blockades, etc. But Gingrich is actually talking about *constructive engagement”, not because it’s the right thing to do, but only to “counter Chinese influence”. Totally reminiscent of Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, also an effort to counter alleged Communist influence.
Simon Bolívar: “The United States appears to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.”

Trump is right to withdraw troops from Germany — as long as he sends them east
This is a column from the Post’s right-wing columnist Marc Thiessen. Is there a single columnist working for a major news outlet saying that withdrawing troops from Germany would be a good thing, and not so they can be sent to Poland, as Trump is planning, but to bring them home? No, of course not.

Green Party candidate lays out party's platform
A short article, but at least it’s there. Similar (or any) coverage in more widely circulated media — NYT, WaPo, CNN, etc.? Non-existent.

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