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Friday, June 21, 2019


 

Headlines for June 21, 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 June 21, 2019


Trump Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html
Trump ordered attack on Iran for downing drone, then called it off, citing casualties
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/trump-ordered-attack-on-iran-for-downing-drone-then-called-it-off/2019/06/21/24f4994e-93f3-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html?utm_term=.a98497f8394f
How is there not an “allegedly” in this headline, or at least a “sources say”? Trump has told a documented 10,000 lies since he became President. Maybe this is true, maybe it’s an exaggeration, maybe it was all an elaborate bluff. There’s no way that the NYT or WaPo can know this is an absolute fact to justify this headline. Interestingly, the Mercury News ran the NYT story with this headline: “Officials say Trump OK’d Iran strike, pulled back”. NYT article, by the way, also refers to how some want to “punish the regime for its support of terrorism and other destabilizing behavior in the region”, presenting those things as facts to (when in fact they both apply to U.S., not Iranian, behavior).

*Iran Shoots Down a U.S. Drone, Escalating Tensions
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/us-iran-drone.html
[Note: this headline has been changed, along with the entire story]
No, flying drone over another country = escalating tensions, not shooting it down. Article says US says drone wasn’t in airspace, but provides no details of that claim, while Iran says exactly where it was shot down.

*With a New Threat, Iran Tests the Resolve of the U.S. and Its Allies
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html
[Note: this headline has subsequently been changed]
On the same day reports appear that the U.S. is planning a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, and after the U.S. has already sent various military assets to the region, the NYT says *Iran* is making threats and testing the U.S. And what was the threat? A statement that it would soon have a larger stockpile of LEU than allowed by the JCPOA, a deal abrogated by the US and, incidentally, the reason Iran is about to exceed the limit is because US sanctions have prevented its export!

*Google Pledges $1 Billion For Affordable Housing
https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/733955577/google-pledges-1-billion-for-affordable-housing
*Google promises $1 billion to help fix Bay Area housing crisis it helped create
https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-google-bay-area-affordable-housing-20190618-story.html?outputType=amp
To read the headline, you would think this was philanthropy. Maybe they’re emulating the Venezuelan government and building housing to give away to workers? Not at all, this is an investment on which they will be making profit. Even the headline referencing “affordable housing” is a lie. From the article: “housing will be “at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families.” The details reveal that: $750M of that Billion is just repurposing land it owns from commercial to residential and lease it to developers, and the other $250M is an investment fund for developers who pledge to build affordable housing. Then there is “$50 million in grants for nonprofits that deal with homelessness and displacement,” which of course is tax-deductible. Basically it just reflects that they have more money than they know what to do with, plus their realization that if they want to retain employees they’ve got to do something about housing prices in the Bay Area.

*US sanctions 'suffocating' ordinary Venezuelans
https://news.yahoo.com/us-sanctions-suffocating-ordinary-venezuelans-014734736.html (AFP)
AFP acknowledges that US sanctions are hurting Venezuelans, but in a long article has no room to mention the CEPR study which estimated that 40,000 of them have died (been killed) from sanctions. And the “ordinary Venezuelans” the article highlights consist of a video game store owner whose prices for importing videos have gone up, and a doctor who’s having a harder time traveling to the U.S. for academic conferences. Not exactly typical of millions of working-class Venezuelans who really are suffering — and dying — because of sanctions.

*Report: Harris owes Oakland $122,000 for campaign rally
https://mercurynews-ca.newsmemory.com/?publink=0a2e449e6
This might be a story, except for one fact — the money isn’t due until next week! Trump owes at least 10 cities more than $800,000; this story can only be viewed as an attempt by the media to be “even-handed” even at the expense of bending reality. By the way, this number also puts into perspective the allegedly “sweeping and systematic” $44,000 IRA campaign; that number was ⅓ what Kamala Harris paid for security for ONE campaign rally!

*Trump’s U.N. nominee breaks with the president on climate change
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-un-nominee-breaks-with-the-president-on-climate-change/2019/06/19/aa103cd4-929d-11e9-b570-6416efdc0803_story.html?utm_term=.2b12de88fab7
Big “break”. She says humans are causing climate change…but she doesn’t think we should do anything about it. In other words, in the real world, she completely agrees with Trump.

Russia Sought to Use Social Media to Influence E.U. Vote, Report Finds
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/business/eu-elections-russia-misinformation.html
Phrases in the article include “Russian-linked groups and other nonstate actors had worked to undermine credibility in the European Union”, “Russians and others continue to be in spreading divisive content online”, “an increasing number of smaller, harder-to-detect domestic groups adopting Russia-like strategies to influence voters”, “Russia-linked groups and those in favor of far-right policies to use Facebook and Twitter to spread false information and exaggerate political divisions.” And then this: “European officials did not draw a direct link in the report between the disinformation campaigns and the Kremlin or provide details about what groups in Russia or elsewhere were behind the efforts. The report also stopped short of assessing whether the tactics had an impact on how people voted, with turnout in the elections having hit record levels.”

This week’s “Fake News by Omission” story:
From coup leaders to con artists: Juan Guaidó’s gang exposed for massive humanitarian aid fraud
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/06/17/from-coup-leaders-to-con-artistry-juan-guaidos-gang-exposed-for-massive-humanitarian-aid-fraud/
Dan Cohen’s extensive report for the Grayzone, based on a report by the staunchly anti-Maduro PanAm Post editor-in-chief Orlando Avendaño.
Venezuelan prosecutor: Opposition leader linked to crimes
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/18/world/americas/ap-lt-venezuela.html
The story was covered by AP, albeit with few details (the whole article is 123 words, vs. 2500 words in Dan Cohen’s article, and the implication that this all originates with a prosecutor who is a Maduro ally. But in the most important media – WaPo, NYT, and the network evening news broadcasts, not a word about this scandal. You can find the AP story in the NYT online by searching specifically for it, but not by going to the “World” section or the “Americas” section. Basically it’s buried.

NYT: Officials wary of telling Trump about Russia strategy
front page headline: Officials were reportedly reluctant to give President Trump details of the operation to place malware deep within the Rusdian power grid
https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/06/15/new-york-times-russia-malware-trump-josh-campbell-wkdnr-vpx.cnn
Neither in this article, nor the NYT article it’s based on, do the words “Deep State” appear, despite the claim that it was precisely that unnamed Deep State that was worried Trump would countermand their plan.

Trump's Iran problem: he's blown America's credibility
https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/16/opinions/donald-trump-iran-problem-distrust-intelligence-vinograd/index.html
Really? After the Gulf of Tonkin and WMD in Iraq (and lots more), it’s *Trump* who has blown America’s credibility?



Friday, June 14, 2019


 

Headlines for June 14, 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 June 14, 2019

‘Executed’ North Korean pop star back from the dead — and by Kim Jong-un’s side
https://nypost.com/2019/06/08/executed-north-korean-pop-star-back-from-the-dead-and-by-kim-jong-uns-side/
A new story, but after being reported (by the infamous Chosun Ilbo) as executed in 2013, Hyon Song-wol, “came back to life” in 2014 (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/17/north-korean-singer-rumoured-executed-appears-tv).
According to Wikipedia she has even been a member in the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea since 2017! But we need another reminder that Kim is a monster, hence this story.

And if that wasn’t enough…

*Kim Jong-un executes general by throwing him in piranha-filled fish tank
Kim Jong-un has become a real-life Bond villain
https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/784284/kim-jong-un-execute-general-piranha-fish-tank-north-korea
“Sources said”

*2020 Campaigns Remain Vulnerable as Signs of Russian Hackers Re-Emerge
https://www.wsj.com/articles/presidential-campaigns-remain-vulnerable-on-cybersecurity-11560448372?mod=hp_lista_pos1
“Microsoft Corp.’s threat intelligence team in recent months detected Russian attempts to hack U.S. think tanks, academics and nongovernmental organizations that may be involved in U.S. politics or become advisers to campaigns.”
“The attempts, waged by a group known as Fancy Bear that is believed to have ties to Russia’s military intelligence, may be routine espionage.”

*Man killed by U.S. Marshals in Memphis was wanted for violent car theft
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1017416
Typical smear the victim headline. Even if were wanted for murder, that doesn’t give cops a license to kill him, but that’s the implication of the headline.

*The World’s Malnourished Kids Don’t Need a $295 Burger
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/opinion/guatemala-malnourished-children.html
Nick Kristof misses the point. All he says is “If some distant planet sends foreign correspondents to Earth, they will be baffled that we allow almost one child in four to be stunted, even as we indulge in gold leaf cupcakes, $1,000 sundaes and half-million-dollar bottles of wine. Something’s wrong with this picture.” Indeed. But the problem isn’t the $295 burger. It’s capitalism, a system that allows the 1% to have enough money to afford $295 burgers while others starve.

*Journalism sheds light in Russia and China. No wonder their despots hate it.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/journalism-sheds-light-in-russia-and-china-no-wonder-their-despots-hate-it/2019/06/11/8ee1752e-8b9d-11e9-8f69-a2795fca3343_story.html?utm_term=.b988911becaa
WaPo runs this editorial literally the day after Russia dropped charges against Golunov and the US finalized its extradition request for Assange. You can’t make this stuff up.

Queen Elizabeth II, master of soft power, celebrates her 93rd birthday with a massive parade
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/queen-elizabeth-ii-master-of-soft-power-celebrates-her-93rd-birthday-with-massive-military-parade/2019/06/08/16fe9526-892e-11e9-9d73-e2ba6bbf1b9b_story.html
”Master of soft power”? The only actual accomplishment she can take credit for during her so-called “reign” is keeping the monarchy popular enough to avoid its abolition. Otherwise, nada. The Post even admits that: “she is still a master at the game of this kind of diplomacy, in which there are no real “deliverables,” no overt advancements of any particular policy, but instead a gloss of warm feelings, mixed with awe.”

*Trump still owes D.C. $7 million in inauguration costs as he plans July Fourth gala
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/trump-still-owes-dc-7-million-in-inauguration-costs-as-he-plans-july-fourth-gala/2019/06/13/c55565b6-8df5-11e9-8f69-a2795fca3343_story.html?utm_term=.11157bc7c4d4
Do Presidents have to pay the costs of their own inauguration? Of course not! "Trump" doesn't owe D.C. anything, as the article finally informs the reader, it's "the Trump administration and Congress" that owe the money.



Friday, June 07, 2019


 

Headlines for June 7, 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 June 7, 2019


*North Korea Executed and Purged Top Nuclear Negotiators, South Korean Report Says
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/world/asia/north-korea-envoy-execution.html
They cover their rear end by saying “South Korean Report Says”, making the headline technically true even if the story turns out to be false, as is virtually certain will be the case. But the headline should say, “anonymous source allegedly tells South Korean paper”.  Or said “unconfirmed report” rather than just “report”. From the article: “without providing any hint of who its source might be or how it obtained the information.”

Like the headline, the whole article reads like the first paragraph: “North Korea has executed its special envoy to the United States on spying charges, as its leader, Kim Jong-un, has engineered a sweeping purge of the country’s top nuclear negotiators after the breakdown of his second summit meeting with President Trump, a major South Korean daily reported on Friday.” — a long declarative sentence of 42 words with no qualifiers like supposedly or allegedly, followed by weasel words attributing it to Chosun Ilbo after the reader’s brain has already accepted the claims as simple fact.

“Purged” is of course a highly pejorative word, which is NEVER used in the context of U.S. politics. Tillerson? Mattis? No one is ever “purged”. Trump has already had a 75% turnover in Cabinet and senior-level positions, but don’t say “purged”!

Reliability of this source is indicated by this sentence (among others): “Even Kim Jong-il’s sister and adviser, Kim Yo-jong, did not accompany Mr. Kim to the meeting with Mr. Putin, although she has been a fixture in high-profile summit meetings with American, Chinese and South Korean leaders. Chosun Ilbo said the sister may have been reprimanded by Mr. Kim or may be sick with pneumonia.” The Times could have pointed out that Chosun Ilbo, the source of this story, is the same paper that claimed Kim had executed his girlfriend, only to have her miraculously turn up alive.
AP and Reuters have run this story, as have most papers.

Some sources were more cautious:
*Has Kim Jong Un executed top envoys over his failed summit with Trump? Maybe, maybe not.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-korea-kim-jong-un-execute-envoys-kim-hyok-chol-choson-ilbo-claims-wrong-before/
Lists all the previous false reports.
North Korea execution reports - why we should be cautious
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48477248
Was a North Korean official executed? Mystery may cloud new talks with the U.S.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/05/31/report-north-korean-officials-execution-prompts-skepticism-concern-about-gaps-knowledge/

And then the followup!
*North Korean Official Blamed for Failed Trump Summit Reappears in Public
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/world/asia/north-korean-purge-kim.html
But is the Times taking responsibility? Oh no. “Kim Yong-chol, a former North Korean spymaster and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart in recent diplomatic contacts between the North and the United States, resurfaced in public this week, undermining a South Korean newspaper’s report that he was banished to forced labor in a re-education camp.” Not one word in the article indicates that the Times, along with most Western media, had dutifully passed along the story and lent their imprimatur to it.

*Why are so many doctors burning out? Tons of real and electronic paperwork.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/why-are-so-many-doctors-burning-out-tons-of-real-and-electronic-paperwork/2019/05/31/3335ca78-346c-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html
How do you write an article like this without mentioning Medicare for All? It’s the insurance system in this country that is responsible for all that paperwork. The article talks about “hours spent on the phone waiting for patients’ tests to be approved by insurance companies,” yet it only talks about hiring more administrative assistants as a solution, never about getting at the root of the problem and eliminating the insurance companies.

*Trump told Prince Charles the US has one of ‘cleanest climates’
https://nypost.com/2019/06/05/trump-told-prince-charles-the-us-has-one-of-cleanest-climates
Aside from the fact that Piers Morgan was asking Trump about his discussion with Prince Charles about climate change and having clean air air and clean water has nothing to do with climate change, there’s not one word in the article challenging Trump's claim. In fact (https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/aug/23/donald-trump/united-states-not-cleanest-country/ ), although Trump has previous claimed that the U.S. is "the cleanest country in the planet", it actually ranks on 27th using combined ratings of various things, e.g., 10th in air quality, 29th in water quality, etc.

World marks 30 years since Tiananmen massacre as China censors all mention
https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/03/asia/tiananmen-june-4-china-censorship-intl/index.html
Based on the information in this article, “the world” consists of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Washington DC.

*Iran’s Supreme Leader Rails Against U.S. Peace Plan
https://www.wsj.com/articles/irans-supreme-leader-rails-against-u-s-peace-plan-11559743565
Peace plan? The US wouldn’t know a peace plan if it bit it on the ass. The US “plan” for Palestine is “peace” for Israel, total submission for Palestinians.

*U.S. Lets Some Countries Continue Limited Iran Oil Imports
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-lets-some-countries-continue-limited-iran-oil-imports-11559233603
The arrogance of this headline is staggering. Not surprising, but staggering nonetheless.
US diplomat Pompeo holding talks with Dutch government
https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-diplomat-pompeo-holding-talks-with-dutch-government
FOX has to remind you that Pompeo is a "diplomat" because otherwise it would be easy to assume he was one of several Secretaries of War employed by the Administration.

Friday, May 31, 2019


 

Headlines for May 31, 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 May 31, 2019


*US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as ‘molecules of freedom’
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/may/29/energy-department-molecules-freedom-fossil-fuel-rebranding
#NotTheOnion Liquid natural gas is now “freedom gas”, composed of “molecules of freedom”, per a press release from the DoE: https://www.energy.gov/articles/department-energy-authorizes-additional-lng-exports-freeport-lng

*Lawyers for Noah’s Ark theme park are suing its insurance company for rain damage
https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/05/25/lawyers-noahs-ark-theme-park-are-suing-its-insurance-company-rain-damage/?utm_term=.9acc696ecbb0
Irony alert.

*Sanders refuses to apologize for opposing war with Iran
https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/445382-sanders-slams-calls-to-apologize-for-opposing-war-with-iran
Only in America. If anything, Sanders should be criticized for not opposing a war strongly enough! He’s also been asked to apologize for opposing America’s contra war against Nicaragua, for opposing the war in Vietnam, and for opposing the invasion of Iraq! In a recent tweet, Sanders calls a war against Iran “unnecessary”. Isn’t “illegal” enough? A “war crime”, actually the “supreme war crime, a war of aggression”? This is reminiscent of Obama’s “opposition” to Iraq invasion as a “dumb war”. And Sanders has supported sanctions, the ongoing war against Iran, although he did oppose the latest round in 2017.

North Korea Executed and Purged Top Nuclear Negotiators, South Korean Report Says
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/world/asia/north-korea-envoy-execution.html
They cover their rear end by saying “South Korean Report Says”, making the headline technically true even if the story turns out to be false, as is virtually certain will be the case. But the headline should say, “anonymous source allegedly tells South Korean paper”.  Or said “unconfirmed report” rather than just “report”. From the article: “without providing any hint of who its source might be or how it obtained the information.” Reliability of this source is indicated by this sentence (among others): “Even Kim Jong-il’s sister and adviser, Kim Yo-jong, did not accompany Mr. Kim to the meeting with Mr. Putin, although she has been a fixture in high-profile summit meetings with American, Chinese and South Korean leaders. Chosun Ilbo said the sister may have been reprimanded by Mr. Kim or may be sick with pneumonia.” The Times could have pointed out that Chosun Ilbo, the source of this story, is the same paper that claimed Kim had executed his girlfriend, only to have her miraculously turn up alive.
AP and Reuters have run this story, as have most papers. To its credit, the Washington Post is one of the few that hasn’t.
(Reuters) North Korea executes envoy in a purge after failed U.S. summit: media
https://news.yahoo.com/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-230019893.html
Paragraph 5: “Reuters was unable to independently confirm the report. Previously, North Korean officials have been executed or purged only to reappear with a new title, according to media reports…A diplomatic source told Reuters there were signs Kim Hyok Chol and other officials were punished, but there was no evidence they were executed and they may have been sent to a labor camp for re-education.”
Has Kim Jong Un executed top envoys over his failed summit with Trump? Maybe, maybe not.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-korea-kim-jong-un-execute-envoys-kim-hyok-chol-choson-ilbo-claims-wrong-before/
Lists all the previous false reports.
North Korea execution reports - why we should be cautious
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48477248

*U.S. Yet to Find Evidence of New Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-weapons.html
This came two days after this headline:
*U.S. Says Assad May Be Using Chemical Weapons in Syria Again
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/world/middleeast/bashar-assad-syria-weapons.html
But yet the article repeats the claims of previous chemical weapons attacks, the ones that brought military responses from the U.S. government, without mentioning the new evidence casting doubt on those attacks.

Similar problems in the media:
*Top U.S. military intelligence official says Russia ‘probably’ not adhering to nuclear test ban
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/top-us-military-intelligence-official-says-russiaprobably-not-adhering-to-nuclear-test-ban/2019/05/29/815a1a36-8234-11e9-9a67-a687ca99fb3d_story.html?utm_term=.a9b5c01a98d5
*Iran 'almost certainly' sabotaged ships off UAE, Bolton says
https://www.foxnews.com/world/iran-sabotage-ships-uae-john-bolton
Day after day, media repeat evidence-free claims by the U.S. government.

And a rare exception showing how it is possible to report correctly:
*Bolton, without offering evidence, says Iran 'almost certainly' responsible for oil tanker attack in UAE
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/29/politics/john-bolton-iran-uae-oil-tankers-attack/index.html

*White House Wanted USS John McCain ‘Out of Sight’ During Trump Japan Visit
https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-wanted-uss-john-mccain-out-of-sight-during-trump-japan-visit-11559173470
A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit.

Despite a booming economy, many U.S. households are still just holding on
https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-federal-reserve-household-survey-20190523-story.html
Well, perhaps it's time to redefine the concept of a "booming economy".

*And in our #FakeNewsByOmission watch, still absent from the U.S. corporate media:
The Center for Economic and Policy Research paper suggesting that 40,000 Venezuelans have died as a result of U.S. sanctions, has now been mentioned in one British paper (the Independent), and still not a single U.S. corporate outlet.
The leaked OPCW internal report which showed that not only was the alleged chemical attack in Douma most likely faked, but suggested a strong possibility that people had been deliberately killed by the jihadis and then their bodies used as part of the faked evidence. Again, the Independent in the U.K. (Robert Fisk) has now reported on this, but no corporate media outlet in the U.S., despite the incredibly significance of this report.

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