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Friday, July 12, 2019


Headlines for July 12, 2019

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Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted time slot.

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for July 12, 2019

*Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon — and Trump Can’t Stop It
By John J. Mearsheimer
No, they’re not. Not rushing, not going in that direction at all. The whole article is about why they should. But they’re not. No mention of the "fatwa" by which Iran has completely renounced nuclear weapons.

*Iran surpasses uranium enrichment limit in its first major breach of nuclear deal
When first posted, headline lacked the “its” (still evident in the URL for the article, by the way). But no mention that what Iran did was completely in accord with the JCPOA (Paragraph 36), only this: “Iran has said that it will scale back its obligations under the accord.”

*Five things to know about Iran's breaches of the nuclear deal
I could have picked a dozen headlines on the same point — Iran breached the nuclear deal. The only mentions of Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which allows Iran to do exactly what it is doing in response to actions by the US and inactions by the EU are in a NYT article (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/04/world/middleeast/iran-zarif-interview.html ) entitled “In His Own Words: Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif”, and a similar reference to Zarif’s statement in the WaPo. So yes, Iran says they’re not violating the deal, but the media isn’t to find any non-Iranian who can correctly read the JCPOA.

*Gibraltar Seizes Syria-Bound Tanker Thought to Be Carrying Iranian Oil
First of all, it was British marines who boarded and seized the ship, reportedly at the request of the US. More importantly, no indication in the headline or the article that this was an illegal act of piracy. The article even acknowledges the existence of international law: “Although it is not illegal under international law to buy or ship Iranian oil or related products, foreign companies that do so risk punishment by the United States.” The only indication of the illegality of this action is that Iran called it a “illegal” seizure.

Trump has referred to his Wharton degree as ‘super genius stuff.’ An admissions officer recalls it differently.
A headline that epitomizes the media tendency to frame stories as completing claims by two individuals (or political parties) and to avoid committing themselves to objective statements about truth. Trump claimed that Wharton was "the hardest school to get into" which was objectively, provably false. The article also notes how twice the New York Times has quoted Trump claiming he was first in his class at Wharton, when in fact a simple investigation (which the Post did) shows he wasn't in the top 56 in his class (and possibly much lower). Yet despite all this, the headline still gives us only "an admissions officer" and his decades-old "recollections" as refuting Trump's claim of being a "super genius".

*The U.S.-U.K. ‘special relationship’ is in tatters after the resignation of British ambassador
Oh please. The next time the US says “jump” the UK will ask “how high?”, just as they did two weeks ago when they seized an Iranian oil tanker when the US told them to.

*How US foreign policy in Central America may have fueled the migrant crisis
May have?

*New study shows Russian propaganda may really have helped Trump
Subhead: The study does not prove Russian interference swung the election to Trump. But it did find Trump's poll numbers improved when Russian trolls were active.
An article by rabid Russiagater Ken Dilanian, totally demolished by the WaPo’s Philip Bump:
*No, Russian Twitter trolls didn’t demonstrably push Trump’s poll numbers higher
Russia [should be the IRA, of course; there’s still zero evidence this is linked to “Russia”, i.e., the Russian government] paid for a lot of Facebook ads in the populous states of New York and Texas in the last five weeks of the campaign, but its ads targeting the three states that handed Trump the election — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — were seen by only 1,000 people. There’s no evidence at all that Russia used Twitter to target people in particular places or demographic groups.
It’s important to note that, on its face, the idea that 25,000 retweets could drive national political polls by a percentage point seems highly unlikely. Over the course of the 2016 election, there were 75 million tweets directly related to the election itself. If only 1 percent of those were retweeted 10 times, that means that the 25,000 retweets are fitting into a flood of 75 million original and 7.5 million retweeted tweets. It means, in other words, that the requisite 25,000 retweets make up 0.03 percent of all of that Twitter activity. That’s only for election-related tweets, mind you. Most of the IRA tweets (like most of their Facebook ads) were qualitatively something else.

A Koch Executive’s Harassment in China Adds to Fears Among Visitors
How dare China respond? The article barely mentions the case of Meng Wangzhou, the Huawei executive detained in Canada at the request of the U.S. since last November; it doesn’t even refer to her by name, just this: “The problems escalated after Canadian officials arrested an executive of Huawei, the Chinese technology giant, at the behest of American officials.” And are “visitors” to China really worried? The article is about businesspeople, not “visitors”. 

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