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Friday, January 18, 2019


 

Headlines for Jan. 18, 2018




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 Jan. 18, 2019

*North Korea’s Less-Known Military Threat: Biological Weapons
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/science/north-korea-biological-weapons.html
An utterly scurrilous, evidence-free article filled with speculation. DPRK has a biotech program (just like the U.S., Cuba, and dozens of other countries). It’s called “science”. Article even admits “Today, the North might well have no bioweapons at all” but then ominously adds “just research, prototypes, human testing, and the ability to rush into industrial production.” None of which is backed by actual evidence. It even admits “United States intelligence officials have not publicly endorsed those findings.” “Findings” which are not findings at all, just speculation. And, not coincidentally given the presence of John Bolton in the Administration (and potential upcoming ROC-DPRK and DPRK-USA summits), identical to the biological weapon charge hurled at Cuba during the Bush Administration, which was equally unfounded. He also accused the DPRK of the same thing at the same time.
And, just as in Cuba, where it was the U.S. that used biological weapons like dengue fever, there is also credible evidence that the U.S. used biological weapons against the DPRK during the Korean War:
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/the-long-suppressed-korean-war-report-on-u-s-use-of-biological-weapons-released-at-last-20d83f5cee54

*Facebook Identifies Russia-Linked Misinformation Campaign
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/business/facebook-misinformation-russia.html
Despite the use of the word "misinformation" in the headline & "disinformation" in the first sentence (and the term “Fake News” in my local paper, the Mercury News), there is not ONE example of any incorrect or even misleading information that was posted. Indeed, the only reference to content is "some presented negative views toward NATO and the treatment of ethnic Russians in Baltic countries." "Negative views toward NATO" are *opinions*, not mis- or disinformation. And in an irony alert, this: "Ben Nimmo, a research fellow at the Atlantic Council…said FB's decision to block Sputnik-linked accounts was significant because of the agency’s direct ties to the Kremlin." Not mentioned? The Atlantic Council’s ties to NATO! And, by the way, why are Russians not permitted to share their opinion of NATO as much as Americans, British, French, Italians, or anyone else?

*Jailed model who claimed she has dirt on Russian oligarch speaks out
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anastasia-vashukevich-model-claimed-dirt-on-russian-oligarch-speaks-out-today-2019-01-16/
Anastasia Vashukevich "spoke out" to say she can't wait to be released and is looking forward to a free life. Which provides a convenient excuse for CBS to rehash all the claims that she had dirt on Deripaska talking about Russian interference, without the slightest shred of credibility.
*Model who claimed U.S.-Russian collusion tape held in Moscow on prostitution charges
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/model-who-claimed-us-russian-collusion-tape-arrested-in-moscow-on-prostitution-charges/2019/01/17/97a65db2-1a66-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.20be61d8eb79
Just a way of keeping the word "collusion" in the headlines and in people's minds; when you get to the 4th paragraph, you read: "No evidence has emerged of the tape that Vashukevich claimed showed contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians."

*Kamala Harris Is Hard to Define Politically. Maybe That’s the Point.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/us/politics/kamala-harris-democrats.html
Really? She’s an utterly typical centrist Democrat, a more likeable version of Hillary Clinton.

*Pompeo Presses Saudi leader on War, Murder, and Rights Abuses
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/world/middleeast/pompeo-saudi-arabia-mohammed-bin-salman.html
Says who? The original article contained not a word to support the use of the headline. But by the next day, the headline was changed to “Pompeo Says He Pressed Saudi Leader on War and Rights Abuses” and the first sentence of the article repeats that claim.

What if the Obstruction Was the Collusion? On the New York Times’s Latest Bombshell
https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-if-obstruction-was-collusion-new-york-timess-latest-bombshell
This literally makes no sense. Why would you collude with Russia to obstruct an investigation into something that didn’t happen? And what did Russia do to aid the obstruction anyway?

*Iran nuclear weapons: How many nuclear weapons does Tehran have?
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1072813/iran-nuclear-weapons-how-many-does-tehran-have-missile-launch-failed
"Iran considers its space programme “a matter of national pride”, although an exact number of nuclear weapons is not known." Actually, it is known. It's a very small number. Zero.

As Maduro clashes with opposition, Washington engages in ‘careful little dance’ with Venezuela
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/01/12/maduro-clashes-with-opposition-washington-engages-careful-little-dance-with-venezuela/?utm_term=.eb826c0c612c
The “careful little dance” consists entirely of not cutting off diplomatic relations. Outside of that it’s a full-on regime change effort.

The 1 giant question Donald Trump still hasn't answered on Russia
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/14/politics/trump-russia-mueller/index.html
What is the "1 giant question"? Not "are you a Russian agent", but "why did you keep your meeting with Putin secret?" Does CNN's Chris Cillizza really think that if Trump spoke openly with Putin about how he was committing treason that Tillerson, who was at that meeting and is clearly no fan of Trump, wouldn't have talked?

*Rand Paul Heading To Canada, Land Of Universal Health Care, For Surgery
https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c3d1267e4b01c93e00cc061/amp
A widely reported attempt at a “gotcha” for the opponent of Obamacare, but totally misleading. The hospital he’s going to is a private hospital, world-renowned for hernia surgery and he’s paying out of pocket (an option most Americans and Canadians can’t even consider due to cost). So the implication that Paul’s action is somehow an endorsement of a single-payer system or any kind of socialized medicine is just nonsense.

Friday, January 11, 2019


 

Headlines for Jan. 11, 2018




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.

‘No different from my original statements’: Trump denies changes to Syria exit plan
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/no-different-from-my-original-statements-trump-denies-changes-to-syria-exit-plan/2019/01/07/d93922f2-128f-11e9-90a8-136fa44b80ba_story.html?utm_term=.66518e3cd669
Stop putting Trump's lies in the headline without rebuttal!!! Proper headline: "'No different from my original statements': Trump lies about changes to Syria exit plan"
Not until the 5th paragraph do we read: “Both his comments and Trump’s conflict with officials’ initial statements following the president’s unexpected Dec. 19 announcement that all troops would come home in short order.”
[Article revised: now in the 3rd paragraph: Last month, Trump declared the Islamic State defeated in Syria and said troops would be “coming back now.”]


‘I been eatin like a boss’: Federal prisoners served steak by unpaid guards during shutdown
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/06/i-been-eatin-like-boss-federal-prisoners-served-steak-by-unpaid-guards-during-shutdown/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.3035d5d4743b
For the first 12 hours online, this article was accompanied by a picture of a high-end restaurant steak on fine china! Aside from the absurd portrayal of prisoners living high off the hog, the story buries the real lede — unpaid guards having to take second jobs just to be able to afford gas money to get to their first job! And, get ready — “prisoners in Minnesota got chicken wings on New Year’s Day.” Whoa, chicken wings! What do they normally get, gizzards? Needless to say, no mention of the paltry amounts spent per prisoner per day on food in federal prisons, which would upset the story line. Also worth noting: the quote in the headline comes from an email allegedly sent by an inmate, read by prison guards and forwarded to their union President who made it public by revealing it to a reporter, a gross violation of the prisoner’s privacy.

Paul Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian associate, according to court filing
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/paul-manafort-shared-2016-polling-data-with-russian-employee-according-to-court-filing/2019/01/08/3f562ad8-12b0-11e9-803c-4ef28312c8b9_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.851047ca91cb=
Mueller Thinks Paul Manafort Shared Trump Polling Data With Russian Operative
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-manafort-mueller-investigation-konstantin-kilimnik_us_5c337efce4b09b02cb328230
Trump’s Campaign Manager Gave Polling Data to Russian Agent (by Jonathan Chait)
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/trumps-campaign-manager-gave-polling-data-to-russian-agent.html
"Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence agent."
Kilimnik was a translator for the Soviet Army *more than 30 years ago*. There is ZERO EVIDENCE he is a "Russian intelligence agent". Maybe he is, but there is no publicly known information which would suggest that. And, by the way, the MI/WI polling data Manafort allegedly shared with Kilimnik to allegedly share with Derepaska to allegedly share with Putin? It couldn’t have been very effective, because the IRA spent less than $3000 on ads targeted on MI and WI, and almost all of that was spent during the primary season, and none of it mentioned Trump! [https://www.burr.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Chairman's%20SFR.pdf]
This is exactly what collusion looks like
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/10/this-is-exactly-what-collusion-looks-like/?utm_term=.aad1e5e16795

Headline you didn’t expect to see in the WaPo:
That sophisticated, specific Russian 2016 voter targeting effort doesn’t seem to exist
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/09/that-sophisticated-specific-russian-voter-targeting-effort-doesnt-seem-exist/?utm_term=.f79196a33821
The WaPo finally discussing what was in the Burr report (see link above) from Nov. *2017* — the idea that the IRA campaign was aimed at the election, much less at electing Trump, is a joke, totally unsupported by the data. Using actual data (imagine that!) to prove there was no targeting effort aimed at electing Trump. “The black bars indicate campaigns that ran in October 2016 or in the first eight days of November; that is, until Election Day. You’ll notice that two of the states where the most ads ran were Texas and New York — neither of which was considered close in the final weeks of the campaign. States that Trump won narrowly — specifically Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — saw very few campaigns and, per our count, were seen by fewer than 1,000 people in the last five weeks before the election.”

Could a Chinese-made Metro car spy on us? Many experts say yes.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/could-a-chinese-made-metro-car-spy-on-us-many-experts-say-yes/2019/01/07/00304b2c-03c9-11e9-b5df-5d3874f1ac36_story.html?utm_term=.8439af93d875
Oy vey.
“The warnings sound like the plot of a Hollywood spy thriller: The Chinese hide malware in a Metro rail car’s security camera system that allows surveillance of Pentagon or White House officials as they ride the Blue Line — sending images back to Beijing. Or sensors on the train secretly record the officials’ conversations. Or a flaw in the software that controls the train — inserted during the manufacturing process — allows it to be hacked by foreign agents or terrorists to cause a crash.”
“China’s attack on our rail system is insidious and ingenious,” retired Army Brig. Gen. John Adams wrote. By “attack” he means their desire to sell products they make. By the way, any government official who is discussing sensitive information while riding the Metro should be fired for gross stupidity in the first place. Also by the way, I don’t know if these new train cars have WiFi available for passengers, but if they do, that would be a lot more of concern then the security cameras or “hidden sensors”, and it would apply to a a lot more than just hypothetical Chinese spying.

Veselnitskaya, Russian in Trump Tower Meeting, Is Charged in Case That Shows Kremlin Ties
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/nyregion/trump-tower-natalya-veselnitskaya-indictment.html
Not just "ties", but "close ties" according to the article. The Kremlin? She talked with a Russian prosecutor. That's hardly the same as "the Kremlin", much less "close ties".

Trump administration officials admit mistakes while trying to tie terrorism to southern border
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/08/trump-team-admits-mistakes-while-trying-tie-terrorism-southern-border/2512115002/
Those were not "mistakes", they were intentional lies to mislead the public. Why give them the cover of pretending they were "mistakes"?

Rashida Tlaib’s Expletive-Laden Cry to Impeach Trump Upends Democrats’ Talking Points
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/us/politics/tlaib-impeach-trump.html
Since when does one expletive become “expletive-laden”? And the whole framing is ridiculous anyway; various Democrats (not the leadership) have been talking about impeachment since practically Day 1 of Trump’s Presidency; Brad Sherman has filed articles of impeachment. How did Tlaib’s comment “upend Democrat talking points”?



Friday, January 04, 2019


 

Headlines for Jan. 4, 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 Jan. 4, 2019


*A rare moment of praise to start the show for this headline: “Trump falsely claims Mexico is paying for wall, demands taxpayer money for wall ahead of meeting with Democrats”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-falsely-claims-mexico-is-paying-for-wall-demands-taxpayer-money-before-meeting-with-top-democrats/2019/01/02/408bf86e-0e97-11e9-8938-5898adc28fa2_story.html?utm_term=.3351950510da
"His comments, many of which were inaccurate or exaggerated"
"He said, for example, that there were between 30 million and 35 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, roughly three times as many as most experts believe."
"He wrote that Mexico would be paying for the wall along the U.S. border under the parameters of a trade deal he has tentatively inked with Mexico and Canada. This is not true."

But on the other hand…
*Trump’s bizarre history lesson on the Soviet Union, Russia and Afghanistan
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/02/trumps-bizarre-history-lesson-soviet-union-russia-afghanistan/
Trump said “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.” which threw the establishment into apoplexy. But here’s part of the WaPo fact-check: “There was ultimately a problem with extremism in Afghanistan, but it developed largely after the USSR left, and the mujahideen groups that sprang up to fight the Soviets devolved into the Taliban.” In fact the mujahedin “sprang up” to overthrow the socialist PDPA government, not to fight the Russians, and the fact that the US was arming the mujahedin *before* Soviet troops were sent to Afghanistan, precisely to lure them into a quagmire? No mention. This is not disputed history. It’s acknowledged fact — Carter & Brezinski’s “Afghan Trap”.

*A Day, a Life: When a Medic Was Killed in Gaza, Was It an Accident?
Subhead: “When an Israeli soldier killed Rouzan al-Najjar, Palestinians called her an innocent martyr and Israel portrayed her as a threat. The truth is more complicated.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/30/world/middleeast/gaza-medic-israel-shooting.html
“An investigation by The New York Times found that Ms. Najjar, and what happened on the evening of June 1, were far more complicated than either narrative allowed.”
Really? Doesn’t sound that complicated: “The bullet that killed her, The Times found, was fired by an Israeli sniper into a crowd that included white-coated medics in plain view. A detailed reconstruction, stitched together from hundreds of crowd-sourced videos and photographs, shows that neither the medics nor anyone around them posed any apparent threat of violence to Israeli personnel. Though Israel later admitted her killing was unintentional, the shooting appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished.”
And by the way, Israeli snipers never just randomly fire “into a crowd”. Their targets are deliberately chosen. And their aim is assured by the best weapons American money can buy.
Headline should have read: “When a medic was killed in Gaza, it was no accident.”

*What a loan to Le Pen tells us about Russian foreign influence campaigns
https://wapo.st/2LDtml3
The answer is: nothing. A colleague of Le Pen talked to a friend in the Russian Duma who arranged a loan (for her party, not for her personally) from a Russian bank (which later went bankrupt and was taken to court by the Russian government, so presumably not actually a bank in the favor of the government). Reporter: “What kind of conversations that member of the Russian Parliament had with Putin, or not, or with the Kremlin, or not, we don’t actually know.” Then he says: “This member of the Russian Parliament used one of these Russian banks…to offer money to Marine Le Pen’s party following that direction from the government that was ‘Let’s find ways to support far-right parties.”

U.S. intel sources say retired Marine held in Moscow is no spy
https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/paul-whelan-not-spy-us-intelligence-officials-say-russia-ex-marine-espionage/
I have no idea if he is or isn’t a spy. But the *last* group I’d believe on the subject are “U.S. intel sources”.

*Socialism Rising: Dems take House pushing massive government expansion, as party lurches left
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/socialism-rising-dems-take-house-pushing-massive-government-expansion-as-party-lurches-left
If only.

War is complicated. Decisions about it can’t be made in 280 characters.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/war-is-complicated-decisions-about-it-cant-be-made-in-280-characters/2019/01/02/ad01cce0-0e0f-11e9-84fc-d58c33d6c8c7_story.html?utm_term=.09447c758035
An op-ed in the WaPo. It’s author? Patti Davis. Her qualifications? Daughter of Ronald Reagan.

Gatwick drone sightings may have been of police equipment, chief constable admits
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/29/gatwick-drone-sightings-may-have-police-equipment-chief-constable/
The story keeps getting funnier and funnier. First they said there might not have been a drone at all, now they say it might have been a police drone!

Ukraine Makes Birthday of Nazi Collaborator a National Holiday and Bans Book Critical of Anti-Semitic Leader
https://www.newsweek.com/ukraine-nazi-collaborator-birthday-holiday-anti-semitic-1272911
This development was covered in the Russian press and the Israeli press, but, aside from this Newsweek article, not a word in the American media.

Arms Sales to Saudis Leave American Fingerprints on Yemen’s Carnage
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/25/world/middleeast/yemen-us-saudi-civilian-war.html
On the one hand, ok, fingerprints do often identify the murderer. But “fingerprints” just sounds so dainty, and, as the article itself makes clear, are *way* more extensive than just arms sales. You don’t need fingerprints when you have video of the murder!
“American mechanics service the jet and carry out repairs on the ground. American technicians upgrade the targeting software and other classified technology, which Saudis are not allowed to touch. The pilot has likely been trained by the United States Air Force. And at a flight operations room in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi commanders sit near American military officials who provide intelligence and tactical advice, mainly aimed at stopping the Saudis from killing Yemeni civilians.”

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html
Nonsense. Yes, there are bot farms boosting views on YouTube, or giving people like Roy Moore fake Russian followers on Twitter. But the idea that "a lot" of "the Internet" is fake is nonsense. 99% of people spend 99% percent of their time interacting with real websites doing real things, including buying things, interacting with their friends, watching videos, playing games, reading news (almost all of it real), and everything else that happens on the Internet.

Friday, December 28, 2018


 

The top worst, most misleading, and funniest headlines of 2018




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: After a week of Russian propaganda, I was questioning everything
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/after-a-week-of-russian-propaganda-i-was-questioning-everything
First of all, isn’t questioning everything a *good thing*, *especially* if you’re a reporter? Second, she claims she spent a week consuming news only from Sputnik’s website, social media, and radio programs. Yet the only program she mentions is Fault Lines with Nixon and Stranahan. No Loud & Clear, no By Any Means Necessary, no nothing else. And while the whole article is about alleged Russian “disinformation”, here are two examples she includes: that Western politicians had supported the Nazis, and that the U.S. supported apartheid. Indeed. And she concedes that “proving disinformation can be impossibly slippery.” In other words, a different point of view or different interpretation of events like what happened in Ukraine  is not “disinformation”!

*WORST: How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of Law and Our Justice System
https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-putin-works-weaken-faith-rule-law-and-our-justice-system
“Having long realized that the most effective disinformation is based on a kernel of truth, Moscow latches on to legitimate criticisms of the justice system. Shows like “America’s Lawyer” and the “Criminal Injustice” segment on Sputnik’s “Loud & Clear” often weave genuine concerns and viable grievances in with misleading narratives. Important causes are hijacked, making Kremlin-linked outlets appear to be the champions of justice reform in the United States while, in reality, their programming is designed to exacerbate grievances and weaken our institutions.” Did “Putin” tell Brian and John to air the “Criminal Injustice” segment? Inquiring minds need to know.

*WORST (UTTERLY DISCREDITED): The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies
Denials in 10th paragraph. Since the publication of this story, every single piece of evidence from the allegedly affected companies, including Apple and Google, has proven this story to be a complete fabrication. But the attack on Chinese tech, most notably on Huawei, continues apace.

*WORST (UTTERLY DISCREDITED): Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/27/manafort-held-secret-talks-with-assange-in-ecuadorian-embassy
An utterly discredited story, but not before headlines like “What it would mean if Manafort and Assange met in 2016” appeared in the Washington Post.

WORST: Putin’s gamble is paying off big-time
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/obama-was-weak-on-russia-trump-is-much-weaker/2018/02/23/b78b848a-1824-11e8-b681-2d4d462a1921_story.html?utm_term=.ce18c54d7a87
Remarkable, even if you were to believe (which is simply assumed in this column) that Putin was responsible for Russian “meddling” and that those efforts were responsible for Trump’s election, both remarkably dubious assertions. The article compares the pros and cons — the cons for Russia are weapons to Ukraine, bigger defense budget, seized Russian compounds never returned, sanctions, etc. Facts. The pros for Russia (the “gamble paying off big-time”) are words — Trump trashes US politicians but never criticizes Putin, talked Russia (via Flynn) into not immediately retaliating for Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats (wait, wasn’t that a GOOD thing for the U.S.), etc.

RELATED HEADLINE FROM THIS WEEK: It’s official. We lost the Cold War.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-official-we-lost-the-cold-war/2018/12/21/1c3b52b0-0565-11e9-b5df-5d3874f1ac36_story.html
East Germany is no more, NATO is on Russia’s borders, Russia is now a capitalist country, but according to Dana Milbank “we lost the Cold War”.

WORST: Video Fact Check: 8 Putin Claims Regarding the Kerch Strait Incident
https://www.polygraph.info/a/eight-putin-claims-regarding-kerch-strait-fact-check/29626830.html
What is "Polygraph"? "Polygraph.info is a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA)​ and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty." In other words, it's the U.S. government. But it shows up in the Google News “Fact Check” column, which is how I found it. So Google is allowing the U.S. government to “fact check” the news. It was bad enough when they enlisted the right-wing Weekly Standard as one of their handful of approved fact-checkers. But now the U.S. government?

WORST: BBC Headline that began as “Israeli airstrikes ‘kill woman and baby’” becomes, 10 minutes later, “Gaza airstrikes ‘kill woman and child’ after rockets hit Israel”
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-45124357
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs complained about the first headline to the BBC, claiming “This title is a deliberate misrepresentation of reality ( that’s the polite equivalent of “ this is a LIE”, if you don’t get it). Israelis were targeted by Hamas and IDF acts to protect them.Change it IMMEDIATELY!!!” And they did, to a headline that is *really* a misrepresentation of reality.

WORST: N Korea 'providing materials for Syria chemical weapons'
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43219614
Headline is contradicted by the very first sentence, which says that the “acid-resistant tiles, valves and pipes” COULD be used for that purpose. Totally reminiscent of the “aluminum tubes” lie that helped bring us the Iraq War. “While the seized items "do not appear on any control lists", they included "materials that can be used to build bricks for the interior walls of [a] chemical factory", the report noted.”

WORST: ‘We bombed you to save you’ – NATO head Stoltenberg speaks about 1999 bombings on visit to Serbia
https://www.rt.com/news/440616-stoltenberg-serbia-nato-bombing/
Can’t fault the headline although it’s actually a paraphrase of what he said (“I stressed that we did this [bombing Serbia] to protect civilians and to stop the Milosevic regime”); it’s the story that’s disgusting.
The classic "destroying the village in order to save it" language. No coverage of the speech in any US media including the WaPo or NYT. Many hundreds to thousands of Serbians were killed in the bombing; including 16 killed when Radio Television Serbia was bombed.

WORST: Austin bomber was frustrated with his life, authorities say
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2018/03/21/b9bd06bc-2d4f-11e8-b0b0-f706877db618_story.html?utm_term=.e9f2c7bf3ee2
Poor guy! He was frustrated with his life?? Well then obviously placing seven bombs, some targeting Black and Latina folks is clearly the solution. Just another in a long line of articles whitewashing Caucasian terrorists (and not even labelling them terrorists).

*MISLEADING: Mail bomb suspect made numerous references on Facebook to Russian associates and echoed pro-Kremlin views
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/27/mail-bomb-suspect-made-numerous-references-facebook-russian-associates-echoed-pro-kremlin-views/?utm_term=.c9f3ba2a20cf
Headline could have been “Mail bomb suspect drove van covered in pro-Trump bumper stickers”, but no. His “Russian associates” are actual Russians he knows, and in addition to referring to his “Russian brothers”, he also refers to his “Italian brothers”…something you won’t learn until the 12th paragraph. And his “pro-Kremlin” views are simply his support for Russian and Syrian efforts to battle terrorists in Syria, a word the WaPo insists of putting in scare quotes‪, as if it isn’t a fact that both Al Qaeda and ISIS have had a major presence in Syria‬.

*MISLEADING: Syrians stream out of a Damascus suburb as it is overrun by government forces
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrians-stream-out-of-a-damascus-suburb-as-it-is-overrun-by-government-forces/2018/03/15/308d7623-a189-4e10-ba3a-a43622a4b82a_story.html?utm_term=.e8dd66985bb6
"Stream out" "Overrun" makes it sound like their fleeing from government forces. In fact, the opposite is true. They finally have a chance to escape from rebel-held areas.

*MISLEADING (and ironically funny): Saudi 'Prince Charming' Mohammed bin Salman comes to Hollywood
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43663447
BBC in its headline calls MbS "Prince Charming". That's not a quote from anyone other than BBC. In fact it's the opposite, because the only reference to that nickname in the article is a CodePink protester carrying a sign saying ""bin Salman is no Prince Charming"!!!

MISLEADING: Study shows 60% of Britons believe in conspiracy theories
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/23/study-shows-60-of-britons-believe-in-conspiracy-theories
“The most widespread conspiracy belief in the UK, shared by 44% of people, was that “even though we live in what’s called a democracy, a few people will always run things in this country anyway”.” So recognizing that you live in an oligarchy is now a “conspiracy theory”.

MISLEADING: Russian Trolls Were Sloppy, but Indictment Still ‘Points at the Kremlin’
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/world/europe/russia-indictment-trolls-putin.html
Note ‘Points at the Kremlin’ is in quotes. Who said that? One journalist you’ve never heard of. If anything, most of the article says exactly the opposite, e.g., “The fact that there were no senior government officials named probably helps Russia, said Mr. Frolov, because that echoed statements from Mr. Putin last summer that any election meddling was the work of eager Russian civilians rather than government agents.”

MISLEADING: John McCain: Hero at home, hawk in Middle East
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/john-mccain-hero-home-hawk-middle-east-180826065142381.html
No, he was a hawk EVERYWHERE.

MISLEADING: A non-Castro may soon become Cuba's president. He's endorsed by less than one percent of its voters
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article206276934.html
That’s because he’s elected from a constituency, and then the National Assembly selects one of its members to be the president. It’s the same thing as in most parliamentary systems. In 2017, Jeremy Corbyn got 40,000 votes in a nation of 66 million people. That’s less than a tenth of a percent of the population!

*FUNNIEST: Hawaii's governor couldn't correct the false missile alert sooner because he forgot his Twitter password
https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/23/us/hawaii-governor-password-trnd/index.html

*FUNNIEST (AND MISLEADING): A lot of the criticism of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' actually came from Russian trolls and bots, new study finds
https://www.businessinsider.com/star-wars-the-last-jedi-criticism-linked-to-russian-trolls-and-bots-new-study-finds-2018-10
They studied 206 Twitter accounts which tweeted negatively (basically racist and misogynist content) about The Last Jedi; 16 (a whopping 8%) of them "appear to be Russian trolls, or at least possess several of the Russian troll characteristics presented above"; those characteristics include "Russian trolls usually target “very specific world events” and “political threads”" and "prefer the Twitter web client over the mobile client". "They predominantly report their location (if at all) to be in the U.S., Germany and Russia"

*FUNNIEST: Trump says he has 'natural instinct for science' when it comes to climate change
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/17/trump-instinct-climate-change-910004
"You have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years, Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture."

FUNNIEST: Is Masha and the Bear a Putin stooge? Critics claim cartoon with 4.18m subscribers is made by Kremlin to subvert children
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6400667/amp/Is-friendly-Russian-Bear-YouTube-Putin-stooge.html
Times UK headline: Children’s show is propaganda for Putin, say critics
Only 2 critics are actually quoted—a lecturer at Tallinn University's Communication School who claims that the bear symbolises Russia and was designed to place a positive image of the country in children's minds. The lecturer, Priit Hobemagi, said that the series was a 'beautifully presented' part of a campaign that is dangerous for Estonian national security. Also an intelligence expert from The University of Buckingham told The Times: 'Masha is feisty, even rather nasty, but also plucky. She punches above her weight. It's not far-fetched to see her as Putinesque.' Last line in the article: The show receives no state funding.

*RELATED FUNNIEST: Russian operatives were promoting sex toys on Instagram to sow discord in the US
https://qz.com/1498265/instagram-was-a-massively-important-tool-for-russian-operatives/
#NotTheOnion, this is meant quite seriously. Even funnier than the idea promoted in the headline was the original headline hidden in the URL: "Instagram was a massively important tool for Russian Operatives" “The merchandise could have provided the IRA with some income, but more importantly, offered the operatives access to buyers’ personal data, including payment information, and help with ad targeting in the future. The Russian operatives’ activity on Instagram only increased after the 2016 US presidential election.”

Actually the only "massive tools" are the people who promote or believe this nonsense.

*NOT THE FUNNIEST HEADLINE, BUT THE FUNNIEST LINE THAT FOLLOWED:
Pence’s Olympic mission: Countering North Korean propaganda
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pences-olympic-mission--rebuff-north-koreas-propaganda/2018/02/09/6140f7b4-0d9c-11e8-baf5-e629fc1cd21e_story.html
“Before Air Force Two touched down Thursday at Seoul’s Osan Air Base, Pence had transformed himself into something of an anti-propaganda warrior — a mild-mannered, if resolute, superhero who arrived in South Korea on the eve of the Winter Games to single-handedly rebuff North Korea’s public relations efforts.” !!!

FUNNIEST: What Could Kill Booming U.S. Economy? ‘Socialists,’ White House Warns
A report from the Council of Economic Advisers compares Bernie Sanders to Chairman Mao, and warns that pickup trucks cost more in Sweden.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/us/politics/socialist-democrats-trump-elections.html
From the report: “The socialist narrative names the oppressors of the vulnerable, such as the bourgeoisie (Marx), kulaks (Lenin), landlords (Mao), and giant corporations (Sanders and Warren).” Other great quotes: Comparing Mao described “the ruthless economic exploitation and political oppression of the peasants by the landlord class” with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren saying “large corporations . . . exploit human misery and insecurity, and turn them into huge profits” and “giant corporations . . . exploit workers just to boost their own profits.” And “Speculators” are also blamed for high prices and other social problems, as by Marx, Stalin, Senator Sanders, Senator Warren, and Fidel Castro, who said that they “have turned the planet into a giant casino.”

Not mentioned in the article (or in the report): China has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty in the last 30 years, more than 70% of all people in the world who have been lifted out of poverty. And the pickup truck thing? It isn’t really about the cost. It’s about the cost of ownership which basically means gasoline, and that’s because gasoline is much more expensive in Europe due to higher taxes, and it has nothing to do with “socialism”.

FUNNIEST this set of two headlines from the NYT, 4 months apart: ‘Warning Lights Are Blinking Red,’ Top Intelligence Officer Says of Russian Attacks
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/us/politics/dan-coats-intelligence-russia-cyber-warning.html
Mystery of the Midterm Elections: Where Are the Russians?
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/business/midterm-election-russia-cyber.html

FUNNIEST:
Elon Musk decries UAW union, promises employees frozen yogurt and rollercoaster machine
https://m.sfgate.com/business/article/Elon-Musk-promises-frozen-yogurt-roller-coaster-10966087.php
Not the Onion!

NEW HEADLINES FOR THIS WEEK:

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines (WMMFH) for Dec. 28, 2018

Arms Sales to Saudis Leave American Fingerprints on Yemen’s Carnage
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/25/world/middleeast/yemen-us-saudi-civilian-war.html
On the one hand, ok, fingerprints do often identify the murderer. But “fingerprints” just sounds so dainty, and, as the article itself makes clear, are *way* more extensive than just arms sales.

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html
Nonsense. Yes, there are bot farms boosting views on YouTube, or giving people like Roy Moore fake Russian followers on Twitter. But the idea that "a lot" of "the Internet" is fake is nonsense. 99% of people spend 99% percent of their time interacting with real websites doing real things, including buying things, interacting with their friends, watching videos, playing games, reading news (almost all of it real), and everything else that happens on the Internet.



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