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Friday, August 14, 2020


Headlines for Aug. 14, 2020


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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 August 14, 2020

*Enhanced unemployment would continue at $400 per week under new Trump executive order

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/10/enhanced-unemployment-would-continue-at-400-per-week-under-trump-executive-order.html [Monday, 1:22 pm]

Should have read “Trump executive order cuts enhanced unemployment to $400/week”

*Trump’s proposed extra unemployment could amount to $300 a week instead of $400, and you may not qualify

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/10/extra-unemployment-could-be-300-a-week-and-you-may-not-qualify.html [Monday, 4:45 pm]

Trump’s order says recipients would have to collect at least $100 weekly in other unemployment insurance to qualify for the extra federal benefits.

Additionally, states would need to chip in 25% ($100) of the $400 weekly extra.

States could count the first $100 they pay in unemployment benefits toward their share, thereby reducing the total extra amount to $300.

*Waiting on that extra $400 unemployment benefit? Here’s what we know so far

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/13/waiting-on-that-extra-400-unemployment-benefit-heres-what-we-know.html [Thursday]

Days later they’re still pushing the $400 figure!

*Trump says open schools. Teachers say safety first. As cases rise, unions may win.


How about “students may win”? Or “sanity will prevail”?

*A ‘radical’ leftist who is ‘against God’? Trump paints Biden in a picture many don’t recognize.

Subhead on web: The president has concocted a profile of the presumptive Democratic nominee at odds with much of Joe Biden’s personal and professional life.


Who are these people who think Biden is a “radical leftist” who is “against God”? Even Trump doesn’t really believe it. And “much of”? Which part of Biden’s life fits that profile?

How TikTok and ByteDance could be using — and abusing — user data


“Could be”.

“they have access to data that can be used to make facial recognition and AI algorithms more accurate, for instance. What are the security implications of that? Well, we see in China how such technology is used in very invasive ways for surveillance, and the more accurate it is, the more effective it can be.”

First, most Americans don’t look like most Chinese, so improving facial recognition of Caucasian and Black and Latino faces isn’t helping China recognize Chinese faces any better, and they already have a data set of hundreds of millions anyway. Second, note the implicit conflation between “security”, which we assume to mean “our national security”, and China’s surveillance of its own population, which has nothing to do with our national security.

“What a company like TikTok is doing isn't fundamentally different [than Facebook or Google]. The difference, potentially, is the intent, and how that data can be used.” And what is that intent? They have no idea, but just assume the worst!

*U.S. intelligence report on Trump-Biden election meddling reveals who Russia, China and Iran want to win


First of all, after all Trump has done to China and Iran, it would hardly take a genius to know that both would prefer to see Trump lose, although the idea that the intelligence community “knows this” as if they’ve been intercepting the internal communications of Chinese and Iranian leaders is doubtful (although possible). But running that under a headline about “election meddling” is totally misleading; there is nothing in this article about Chinese or Iranian interference. And what about Israel? Taiwan? Ukraine? Are there any other governments who have a preference in the next election? Are they doing anything to advance their interests?

Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections. Iran is likely focusing on online influence operations, including social-media disinformation campaigns and promulgating anti-American content.”

“China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”

U.S. intelligence assesses that the Kremlin “is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’” Russian officials are “spreading claims about corruption” to try to “undermine” Biden and the Democratic Party, the statement said. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television,” it said.

From the statement: “For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

Here’s how things get twisted. Bloomberg headline:

*U.S. Intelligence Agencies Say China and Iran Want Trump to Lose


But then Bloomberg promotes that accurate headline with this tweet: “U.S. intelligence agencies say China and Iran are working to sway voters against Trump while Russia is working against Biden.”

Belarus opposition candidate flees to Lithuania amid crackdown on election protests


Article also claims she “was forced out of the country”, but there’s no evidence for either description. She left, voluntarily, without making any claim of being threatened.

'Europe's last dictator' up for reelection, faces unprecedented challenge to his rule


Just a typical example of how “state-affiliated” news outlets report the news.

Print (front page): Facing insecurity at home, China’s Xi takes on the world

Web: A lion or a porcupine? Insecurity drives China’s Xi to take on the world.


The actual story described in the article is “U.S. leads all-out war (short of shooting) on China, not “China takes on the world”. The “evidence” for the “insecurity” which features so prominently in the headline? "officials and analysts…say China’s refusal to back down on external disputes large and small stems from a sense of political insecurity and economic pressure at home."

A Bible Burning, a Russian News Agency and a Story Too Good to Check Out


NYT turns a simple Ruptly video tweet & RT article about a minor but true event into Russian “disinformation”, & lies in the process, claiming tweets & article were about the Bible burning, when in fact they give equal billing to the flag burning.

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