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Friday, July 12, 2019


 

Headlines for July 12, 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 July 12, 2019


*Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon — and Trump Can’t Stop It
By John J. Mearsheimer
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/opinion/iran-is-rushing-to-build-a-nuclear-weapon-and-trump-cant-stop-it.html
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
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-surpasses-uranium-enrichment-limit-in-first-major-violation-of-nuclear-deal/2019/07/08/ccfad26c-a0f9-11e9-a767-d7ab84aef3e9_story.html?utm_term=.5aa522f528b5
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
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/451610-five-things-to-know-about-irans-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
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/04/world/middleeast/oil-tanker-gibraltar-syria-iran.html
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.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-who-often-boasts-of-his-wharton-degree-says-he-was-admitted-to-the-hardest-school-to-get-into-the-college-official-who-reviewed-his-application-recalls-it-differently/2019/07/08/0a4eb414-977a-11e9-830a-21b9b36b64ad_story.html?utm_term=.ac0fcf985655
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
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-us-uk-special-relationship-is-in-tatters-after-resignation-of-british-ambassador/2019/07/10/86fdea4a-a335-11e9-b732-41a79c2551bf_story.html?utm_term=.b5d48e8de1a0
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
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/12/21/has-united-states-foreign-policy-central-america-fueled-migrant-crisis-donald-trump/2338489002/
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.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/new-study-shows-russian-propaganda-may-really-have-helped-trump-n1025306
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
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/01/no-russian-twitter-trolls-didnt-demonstrably-push-trumps-poll-numbers-higher/?utm_term=.137639e70535
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
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/business/american-businesses-china.html
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”. 

Friday, June 28, 2019


 

Headlines for June 28, 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 28, 2019


*After a tense week, Trump strikes an unusually friendly tone toward Iran
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/irans-foreign-minister-tweets-images-he-saysleaves-no-doubt-us-drone-was-over-iranian-airspace/2019/06/22/38f8ee08-94f8-11e9-956a-88c291ab5c38_story.html?utm_term=.fd0bc0205466
1st paragraph: “President Trump said Saturday that he is comfortable with his decision to call off U.S. military strikes, adding that he is “not a warmonger.” He also said he could imagine a future where the U.S. is Iran’s “best friend.””
12th paragraph: “Trump said additional U.S. sanctions will soon be applied to Iran…Bolton and others have made no secret that a goal is to cripple Tehran’s oil-dependent economy.”
 Another example of how the corporate media pretend sanctions are some kind of diplomacy, rather than a vicious war directed at civilians.
Compare to…
Trump Plans New Iran Sanctions
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-iran-attack-scrapped-to-avoid-unnecessary-casualties-11561226052
*As sanctions bite in Cuba, the U.S. — once a driver of hope — is now a source of pain
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/as-sanctions-bite-in-cuba-the-us--once-a-driver-of-hope--is-now-a-source-of-pain/2019/06/23/ec632f54-8895-11e9-9d73-e2ba6bbf1b9b_story.html?utm_term=.251882748b10
To read this headline, and indeed the entire article, you would think the hostile U.S. policy towards Cuba started under Trump. No mention that sanctions have been in effect since 1960! There’s a brief reference to how Cuba was “largely shut off from the United States for more than a half-century”, but no mention of how that was so.

*What’s Wrong With Palestinian Surrender?
Knowing when to give up is often the first step to making peace.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/24/opinion/palestinian-peace-bahrain-conference.html
NYT gives Israel (Danny Danon is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations) a platform to extol the benefits of Palestinians surrendering their rights in return for “peace”, swapping the “peace” of the grave for the “peace” of the slave (“submission” in Danon’s words).

*Trump Takes On China and Persia at Once. What’s to Worry About?
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/opinion/trump-china-iran.html
Persia? Who else but Tom Friedman. At the very least, if you’re going to talk about “Persia”, you could mention that when Iran was called Persia was the last time it attacked another country. No, that would be too much to ask. Instead we get grotesque lies like “Iran…is led by a narrow-minded, aging cleric who’s been focused on acquiring the most important technology of the 20th century, nuclear weaponry, to help it dominate its region, push the U.S. out and win a struggle with the Sunni Arabs over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad from the seventh century — Shiites or Sunnis.”

*Russian accounts pushed fake Rubio tweet warning of British spy threat to US elections
https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/22/politics/russia-fake-rubio-tweet/index.html
Very first sentence: “A network of suspected Russian accounts promoted a fake tweet purportedly sent by Sen. Marco Rubio.” Then “While the fake tweet does not appear to have picked up significant traction online, it did form the basis of a story by RT, the Russian state-backed media company, in August 2018.
RT's German language service posted an article…”

Not wrong or misleading or even funny ha-ha, but still interesting…
*The average American worker takes less vacation time than a medieval peasant
https://www.businessinsider.com/american-worker-less-vacation-medieval-peasant-2016-11
"Economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year. As for the modern American worker? After a year on the job, she gets an average of eight vacation days annually."
"The tempo of life was slow, even leisurely; the pace of work relaxed," notes Shor. "Our ancestors may not have been rich, but they had an abundance of leisure."

Still this week’s “Fake News by Omission” story:

So Who Is Reporting That Trump Sanctions Have Killed Thousands of Venezuelans?
https://fair.org/home/so-who-is-reporting-that-trump-sanctions-have-killed-thousands-of-venezuelans/
After almost two months, Reuters finally reported on the CEPR study that estimated 40,000 Venezuelan deaths as a result of U.S. sanctions. No indication of how far their story reached, but it certainly wasn’t as far as the nightly network news or anything with any reach.

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.

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?



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