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Monday, December 09, 2019


 

Pelosi knew…and kept quiet…and Americans and Iraqis died


The most significant political development today was not, as you may think, the release of the Inspector General’s report on the FBI investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, although that will dominate the news. Nor was it even a blockbuster story in today’s Washington Post in which they reveal the Afghanistan equivalent of the Pentagon Papers, showing that generals and politicians have been systematically lying to the public about the progress of that war since practically the day it started. Significant, sure, but hardly surprising.
No, the most significant development today came in a question from a student at Johns Hopkins University to Pelosi at a CNN Town Hall. The question was about impeachment, but in answering it, Pelosi reveals that, as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, she heard all the information about “WMD in Iraq” that was kept secret from us. And what she says is that she (and by extension, the other members of the “inner circle” of Congress who got the same briefings) *knew* that George Bush was lying about WMD in Iraq. She and the others knew, and did nothing, and kept their mouths shut while millions of us were in the streets trying to stop that war. They kept their mouths shut while establishment media gushed over Colin Powell’s lying performance at the U.N. Keeping their position in the “establishment” by keeping quiet about what they knew was more important to them than the lives of American soldiers, 4424 of whom would die and tens of thousands more be seriously injured in a war they could have stopped just by telling the truth. Definitely more important to them than the lives of Iraqis, hundreds of thousands and probably more than a million of whom would die and are still dying as a direct result of that illegal invasion.
And that significant development? I doubt very much you’re going to hear about it on the news tonight or read about it tomorrow. Except right here.

Friday, December 06, 2019


 

Headlines for Dec. 6, 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 Dec. 6, 2019


*AMLO is Mexico’s strongest president in decades. Some say he’s too strong.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/amlo-is-mexicos-strongest-president-in-decades-some-say-hes-too-strong/2019/11/28/9ee6e6d0-1071-11ea-924c-b34d09bbc948_story.html
The article starts with references to unnamed “critics” and “detractors”. Not until the 23rd paragraph (!) do we find out who “some” are — the “national director of the opposition National Action Party” and then, in para. 30, the “head of the Mexican Council of International Affairs” (whatever that is).

*Tear gas returns to Hong Kong as police disperse authorized protest
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/tear-gas-returns-to-hong-kong-as-police-disperse-authorized-protest-march/2019/12/01/ee5c860a-1415-11ea-924c-b34d09bbc948_story.html
The Art of Writing Misleading Headlines 101: In the 7th paragraph you learn that the marchers were not only not on the authorized route, but were throwing bricks at police.

‘Nonlethal weapons’ fired at protesters in Hong Kong, Chile and Iraq are having very dangerous — even deadly — effects
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/11/23/non-lethal-weapons-fired-protesters-hong-kong-chile-iraq-are-having-very-dangerous-even-deadly-effects/
WaPo lumps Hong Kong in with Chile & Iraq, where dozens (Chile) & hundreds (Iraq) have died. Remarkably, the article says 2 have died in HK, without noting who or how—1 protester who fell from a parking garage & a man hit on the head with a protester brick. And of course no mention of the bricks, Molotov cocktails, & flaming arrows being deployed by the “non-violent” “protesters” in Hong Kong, just the water cannons cops are using, which “have the potential of causing serious injury and even death.” Yes, but they haven’t, so apparently that “potential” isn’t very great. They do cite two protesters in Hong Kong that have lost an eye to rubber bullets. That compares to **200** in Chile, where all evidence points to this being a deliberate tactic. Dozens of “Yellow Vest” protesters in France have also lost eyes to rubber bullets, but that goes unmentioned in this article.

*Venezuela’s Kids Are Dying. Are We Responsible?
Subhead: Our well-meaning sanctions may be inflicting pain on the wrong people.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/23/opinion/sunday/venezuela-us-sanctions.html
Time for a periodic reminder about the 1960 State Department memo promoting sanctions on Cuba (https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v06/d499 ), which described its aim as “to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” There are no “well-meaning sanctions”; sanctions are always meant to make people suffer. But also worth noting, this op-ed article actually breaks the NYT’s silence on the fact that sanctions are killing Venezuelans, but still fails to mention the CEPR study which put a number on those deaths — 40,000 (and that was months ago).

*How Huawei Lost the Heart of the Chinese Public
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/technology/huawei-china-backlash.html
“In the most recent quarter, Huawei’s smartphone sales in China grew 66 percent from a year earlier”…but some people on Twitter are upset by its treatment of one employee, so “Huawei Lost the Heart of the Chinese Public”? Note: this is not a comment about the specific case, about which I know nothing. It’s a comment on this hyperbolic, unsupported headline.

*Can hanging out with Tulsi Gabbard fans help us understand what her deal is?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/whats-the-deal-with-tulsi-gabbard/2019/11/23/8499c374-0c9d-11ea-bd9d-c628fd48b3a0_story.html
WaPo wants to know what Tulsi Gabbard’s “deal” is. But RT and Sputnik, who half the time run articles favorable to her (and equal amounts unfavorable), and who have a fraction of WaPo’s reach, are the ones with their thumb on the scale. In case you thought only the NYT was going to go off on Gabbard wearing a white pantsuit; now the WaPo joins in! “she has come across in debates as if she were a leader beamed in from an apocalyptic future (or the Divergent series) with her all-white pantsuit, her streak of white hair and her unique manner of delivering answers in an affectless monotone straight into the camera”

Surprising headline of the week:
*Frozen II isn’t just a cartoon. It’s a brilliant critique of imperialism
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/12/05/kids-love-anna-elsa-frozen-iis-lesson-is-adults/
Yes, this is a serious article, with discussions not only of imperialism but also climate change and reparations.

Charges of Ukrainian Meddling? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/22/us/politics/ukraine-russia-interference.html
A perfect demonstration of how just one word can turn a news article into propaganda. “The revelations demonstrate Russia’s persistence in trying to sow discord among its adversaries”. These are not “revelations”, they are “assertions”. Claims. Accusations.

*Bernie Sanders’s Loyal Voters Could Keep Him in Race for Months
https://www.wsj.com/articles/bernie-sanderss-loyal-voters-could-keep-him-in-race-for-months-11574611201
Who knows, they might even get him elected in 2020 if Obama keeps his mouth shut.



Friday, November 22, 2019


 

Headlines for Nov. 22, 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 Nov. 22, 2019


From the NYT, the paper that brought us “What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?” and Tulsi Gabbard Thinks We’re Doomed”, comes the latest gem:
*Tulsi Gabbard’s White Pantsuit Isn’t Winning
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/style/tulsi-gabbard-democratic-debate-white-pantsuit.html
Really NYT? All your other smears against Tulsi Gabbard aren’t succeeding? And no, this isn’t just a silly (and sexist) fashion article about not wearing white after Labor Day or whatever. No, this is quite serious. From the article:
“Gabbard herself doesn’t seem particularly interested in connecting with the suffragists, but rather is using her white suits to tap into another tradition, latent in the public memory: the mythical white knight, riding in to save us all from yet another “regime change war.””
“they are the white of avenging angels and flaming swords, of somewhat combative righteousness (also cult leaders). And that kind of association…sets someone apart, rather than joining others together. It has connotations of the fringe, rather than the center.”
Compare to this article, by the same author, in 2016:
*Why Hillary Wore White
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/fashion/hillary-clinton-democratic-national-convention.html
“In her white suit, with her white crew neck underneath, Mrs. Clinton looked supremely unflappable: perfectly tailored and in control. Not a hair out of place (but some hair nicely waved). The kind of person who could carry the nuclear codes with aplomb. That suit, quietly yet clearly, made reference to history, specifically the history of the women’s movement.”

*Russian web trolls boo Biden, often boost Gabbard, report finds
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/russian-web-trolls-boo-biden-often-boost-gabbard-report-finds-n1085216
[An article written by who else but Ken Dilanian?] “Mentions of Gabbard, a Hawaii congresswoman, by English-language Russian propaganda outlets [Sputnik and RT] were 46 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.” Really? That's how they "boost" her? Well, I guess it beats the 99% unfavorable (and general lack of coverage) in the US corporate media.

*Americans Steal Kremlin’s Playbook, for Clicks and Profit
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/technology/LaCorte-edition-news.html
A) Clickbait was hardly a Russian invention, and hardly invented in 2016.
B) If you read the article, the headline really should be “American steals Macedonian playbook”, and there’s no evidence the Macedonians stole that “playbook” from the IRA.
“Among Mr. LaCorte’s network was one writer who helped peddle a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had ties to a pedophile ring.” That, of course, is Pizzagate, which was basically the origin of the term “fake news”, which, as this article makes clear, originated with Macedonian teenagers out to make money, not with “the Kremlin”.

*25 times Trump was soft on Russia
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/17/politics/trump-soft-on-russia/index.html
Of the 25 times, 19 are things Trump has said, not done, e.g., "Trump has repeatedly praised Putin". And most are like this: "Trump mulled giving spy compounds to Russia". Except the only evidence he did so is a Washington Post anonymously sourced story, not a Trump tweet, and it never happened. By the way, that WaPo story was headlined "Trump administration moves to return Russian compounds in Maryland and New York", as if the action was in progress and pretty much a fait accompli.
To contrast with the CNN article, Caitlin Johnstone has written an article entitled 25 times Trump was dangerously hawkish on Russia, filled with things that the U.S. *actually did*.

*At Odds With Labour, Britain’s Jews Are Feeling Politically Homeless
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/world/europe/britain-election-antisemitism.html
The headline doesn’t say “some British Jews”, just “Britain’s Jews”, which implies that all British Jews, or at least the vast majority, are abandoning Labour. You might expect an actual poll to back that up, but all you get are a handful of anecdotal examples. A story trying to make the news instead of reporting it.

Bolivia’s crisis turns deadly again as 5 killed in clash
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/clashes-break-out-in-bolivia-challenging-interim-government/2019/11/15/50f232fa-080a-11ea-ae28-7d1898012861_story.html
Compare headline to the lede: “Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly after security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales in a central town, killing at least five people.” THAT IS NOT A “CLASH”, IT’S A MASSACRE. And if anyone thinks “massacre” is too strong a word, I remind you that one of the most famous “massacres” of the American Revolution, the Boston Massacre, involved the death of…five people. The essence of a massacre isn’t the number of people killed, it’s the one-sided nature of the event. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the famous mob murder in Chicago, also involved “only” seven victims. But, like Boston and like Bolivia, it was a one-sided “clash”.

Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests
https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250
Ooh, scary! The war has started, right? Not quite. “mainland Chinese soldiers in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts jogged out of a barracks here to clear streets of bricks, metal bars and other debris left by demonstrators.”

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html
Just like last week, here we have a quote with no attribution or context. It was said by China’s President Xi, but he was talking about the “struggle against terrorism”, not Muslims in general.

Hong Kong police move on university campus, threaten live rounds, retreat before growing flames
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/hong-kong-police-pummel-university-with-water-cannon-as-officer-hit-by-arrow/2019/11/17/f004c978-091f-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html
The students are shooting arrows, hurling molotov cocktails, and throwing bricks, all of which are deadly weapons, but the police *threatening* live rounds is what makes the headline.

Esper: ‘We’re not the ones looking for a Cold War’ with China
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/11/19/esper-were-not-ones-looking-cold-war-with-china/
First sentence: The Chinese government is undermining the international system and trying to alter it through coercion and malign influence, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper [said].

New U.S. Policy, Same Old Bind for Israeli Settlers and Palestinians
Subhead: Israeli and Palestinian residents of the West Bank say the new American stance toward settlement does nothing to change their fundamental insecurity.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/19/world/middleeast/israel-settlements-palestinians.html
Unbelievable false equivalence between the problems of illegal Israeli settlers and Palestinians. Weirdly, the original headline (still shown in the thumbnail), was much better: US Reversal on Settlements Shows Pro-Israel Bias, Palestinians Say

Friday, November 15, 2019


 

Headlines for Nov. 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 Nov. 15, 2019


*Visit to Arlington Cemetery reminded Donald Trump Jr. of all his family’s ‘sacrifices,’ he writes
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/07/visit-arlington-cemetery-reminded-donald-trump-jr-all-his-familys-sacrifices-he-writes/
Did he lose an uncle in the Vietnam war perhaps? Um, no. The sacrifice he’s talking about is “voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off the office’”.

Not one corporate newspaper used the word “coup” in their headline to describe what happened in Bolivia. Most used some variation of “Morales resigns” (WaPo) or “Morales steps down” (NYT). Not one even used the phrase “Morales is forced out”; I guess that’s too close to saying coup.

The NYT print edition:
*Bolivia’s Leader Resigns, Heeding Protesters’ Call
‘The End Of Tyranny”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/world/americas/evo-morales-bolivia.html
That quote comes from Carlos Mesa, the man who just lost to Morales
That subhead was only in the print edition. Online, the subhead is just as bad in a different way: “A leftist who had served longer than any other current head of state in Latin America, Mr. Morales lost his grip on power amid violent protests set off by a disputed election.” No mention of the role of the military or police.

*Morales, supporters reject interim president, deepening Bolivia’s crisis
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/morales-supporters-reject-interim-president-deepening-bolivias-crisis/2019/11/13/8ff38680-061f-11ea-9118-25d6bd37dfb1_story.html
So it wasn't someone appointing themselves President with no Constitutional authority whatsoever that deepened Bolivia's crisis, but the fact that Morales and his supporters reject her.

*Evo Morales’ power grab would be a great Netflix series. Call it ‘Emperor of the Andes’
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article237168994.html
Winning an election with 47% of the vote is now a “power grab”. Another brilliant insight from Andrés Oppenheimer,  the guy who wrote “Castro’s Final Hour”…in 1993.

But the worst headline goes to the Express in the UK:

*Putin suffers crushing blow to South America dominance as Bolivia President ousted
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1202780/putin-news-bolivia-president-kremlin-south-america-evo-morales-spt

*Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters' 'weapons factories'
https://news.yahoo.com/flaming-arrows-petrol-bombs-inside-100641272.html
(Reuters article)
From this article glorifying violent protesters: “The protesters say their non-violent efforts have been met by brutal police tactics, & their weapons are needed to protect themselves.” Sorry, flaming arrows, petrol bombs & bricks aren’t defensive weapons! And of course, no mention that one of those “non-violent bricks” just killed a 70-year-old man, or that the fire they love has put another man in the hospital fighting for his life.

Hong Kong Protester Shot by Police as Clashes Escalate
https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-police-shoot-at-protesters-one-man-is-in-emergency-surgery-11573442207
Opening paragraph: “one of the bloodiest days of unrest so far left two people critically injured—a protester who was shot by police and a man set on fire after arguing with demonstrators.” But only one of those made the headline. And, not coincidentally, that was also the only one mentioned on my local TV news.
Then on Wednesday, a 70-year-old street sweeper was killed after being hit on the head by a thrown brick. Coverage in the Western media? ZERO. No headlines, no stories, nothing.
Two days later, today, finally one headline, but only from the BBC:
*Hong Kong protests: Man dies after being hit 'by hard object' during protests
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50428704
But even the article tries to mislead: “A man has died in Hong Kong after being hit on the head during clashes between government supporters and protesters.
The government said the 70-year-old cleaner was on a lunch break on Wednesday when he was struck by "hard objects hurled by masked rioters".

Meanwhile In the WaPo https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/holed-up-in-university-hong-kong-protesters-issue-demands/2019/11/14/d7d171de-0754-11ea-ae28-7d1898012861_story.html, a brief mention in the tenth paragraph of an article on developments in HK. Likewise in the NYT https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/11/15/world/asia/15reuters-hongkong-protests.html, a brief mention also in the tenth paragraph.

*Mars shock: Space race erupts as China unleashes devastating plan to find life before NASA
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1200599/Mars-news-NASA-space-latest-china-us-space-race-life-on-mars-astronauts
Devastating!

‘I’m Full Tulsi’: Inside Tulsi Gabbard’s Wild Bid to Make Trouble in 2020
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kz4jww/im-full-tulsi-inside-tulsi-gabbards-wild-bid-to-make-trouble-in-2020
Imagine describing her very serious campaign as a “bid to make trouble”. And by the way, that quote in the headline comes from a supporter expressing her total support for Gabbard, although the way the headline is written, you can easily imagine it’s Gabbard bragging about how she’s in this race for herself.

Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Leader, Prompting Gaza Rocket Attacks
Original headline: Gaza Militants Fire Rockets Into Israel After Islamic Jihad Leader Killed
https://www.wsj.com/articles/gaza-militants-fire-rockets-into-israel-after-islamic-jihad-leader-killed-11573543719

Bannon testifies Trump campaign viewed Stone as access point to WikiLeaks
https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/08/politics/bannon-stone-wikileaks-court/index.html
Bannon: Stone was Trump campaign link to WikiLeaks
http://mercurynews.ca.newsmemory.com/?publink=2615fe447
But the testimony is that he was, in fact, *not* a link, just a bs artist.



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