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Friday, May 17, 2019


Headlines for May 10, 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 May 10, 2019

*Not a headline but the most jaw-dropping media outrage of the week (and probably the year), in an article about a military helicopter crash in Venezuela:


Originally read: “Pressure has been mounting on Maduro to step down following elections in January in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaidó over him for president.”!!! The article has two authors, and presumably also editors and proofreaders.
Now reads: “Pressure has been mounting on Maduro to step down since January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president and was backed by the US and dozens of other nations.”
And this was not the only CNN “error”. As Dave Lindorff has noted (https://fair.org/home/failed-coup-a-fake-corporate-news-story-designed-to-trick-venezuelan-soldiers-and-us-public/), on April 30, the day of the last coup attempt, CNN ran a report that claimed Guaidó was on the La Carlota military airfield in eastern Caracas, which Guaidó said had been “liberated.” According to CNN, he was addressing “thousands of supporters” on the scene. Neither of those things was true, and neither was backed up by the video they ran, leading to the inescapable conclusion that these were deliberate lies, not just errors.

*American sanctions killed thousands in Venezuela
A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), by economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, finds that economic sanctions implemented by the Trump administration since August 2017 have caused tens of thousands of deaths and are rapidly worsening the humanitarian crisis.
Why am I highlighting this? Because, outside of left/progressive media, this weekly paper in Union and Middlesex Counties, NJ is the ONLY U.S. media outlet who covered this important story. #FakeNewsByOmission

*Trump’s Latin American allies want change in Venezuela, but not U.S. intervention
Headlines like this reinforce the impression that the U.S. is not already intervening in Venezuela, and perpetuate the lie that sanctions are diplomacy, not war.

*ABC, NBC, and MSNBC prime-time shows ignored landmark UN report on biodiversity
Only three of 26 prime-time news programs on major networks covered the report
1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction due to expansive human development. Important? Not to corporate media. More #FakeNewsByOmission

*Want to build a far-right movement?
Spain’s Vox party shows how.
Front page of the website several days running. “The story of Vox also belongs to a larger global story about the online and offline campaign tactics developed by the American alt-right and the European far right, which are now used throughout the world. The use of social media marketing to exacerbate polarization; of websites created especially to feed polarized narratives; of private fan groups that pass around conspiracy theories; of language that deliberately undermines trust in “mainstream” politicians and journalists: Fans of the party that wants to “Make Spain Great Again” used all of these tactics to move its message from the fringes to the mainstream.”

*What Makes a Coup Succeed? Confidence, Consensus and a Sense of Inevitability
Helpful advice from the Times. An example: “Some of Mr. Guaidó’s failures have been tactical, such as issuing his call to action on Twitter, Mr. Singh said. Coup leaders traditionally favor national TV and radio stations because seizing them is a way to convince the country that they have already taken control.”

FBI director tells Congress he has no evidence of ‘spying’ on Trump campaign
Implication of the headline is that nothing happened. No, it did, and Wray isn’t denying it, he just calls it “surveillance” instead. “Surveillance” which included sending people pretending to be something other than they were, offering money, etc. Wray says “that’s not the term I would use” (about “spying”) but I’m pretty sure that “surveillance” isn’t the term most people would use about what happened to George Papadopoulos.

Russian Collusion in Venezuela
Why does Donald Trump believe Putin instead of his advisers?
Trump said Putin "is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. And I feel the same way." As if the U.S. is not involved in Venezuela, and definitely not in a positive way! (40,000 dead from sanctions). But that's not the WSJ's problem with what Trump said, not at all. No, it's the claim that Russia "is not looking to get involved". So Russia sells arms to Venezuela, which is no secret, and Trump is hardly denying that, but apparently selling arms now constitutes "collusion". The article itself refers to Russian "incursions" into Venezuela. Of course it repeats the fiction (based solely on Mike Pompeo's claim) that Maduro was about to board a plane to Cuba but was talked out of it by Russia, and calls the coup attempt an "attempt by democrats to restore the constitution." Amazingly the editorial does NOT repeat the claim that there are 20,000 Cuban troops in Venezuela, nor Russian troops.


Headlines for May 17, 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 May 17, 2019

*Venezuela's Guaido seeks U.S. Pentagon cooperation to solve political crisis
Setting new standards for euphemisms: “Cooperation”!
Sampling of headlines from Google News searching for Guaidó:
CNN: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido calls for US help in letter
CNBC: Venezuela's Guaidó asks for relations with U.S. military
TIME: Venezuela's Opposition Leader Guaidó asks U.S. military to put more pressure on Maduro

*Russia and Cuba Could End the Venezuelan Catastrophe. Seriously.
Jorge Castañeda (Foreign Minister of Mexico from 2000 to 2003, now a professor).
Referring to Russia: “Their friends in Cuba have been lurking around Venezuela for years.”
Castañeda talks about “applying pressure” on Cuba and then “loosening the screws” to get them to convince Maduro to leave. “Tightening the screws” is a metaphor which is 100% appropriate. It harkens back to medieval torture chambers, where people’s fingers or heads were put into vices and tightened. The goal of the “pressure” he writes about is exactly the same—make Cubans suffer.
Funniest line: ‪”Mr. Putin is picking his nose at the US by being a nuisance in its backyard, in a tit-for-tat response to what Moscow considers NATO’s interference in Eastern European affairs.”‬

*Will Iran Revive Its Nuclear Program?
Suffering under U.S. sanctions, Iran announced last week it might resume production of highly enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear weapons.
Count the lies. Iran does not have partially built nuclear weapons waiting to be finished, if its people are going hungry it’s because of US sanctions, but most egregious of all, Iran has NEVER produced highly enriched uranium. And the NYT knows it.

*We’re drifting toward war with Iran. Trump needs to take a diplomatic way out.
“Drifting” implies the U.S. warships headed for the region are just being carried along by a current out of our control. No, Bolton is gunning the engine toward war with Iran, and we don’t need “diplomacy” to stop it, we just need to stop it, period. It’s totally in our (U.S.) hands. The editorial itself repeats two big lies — that Iran might “renuclearize” (impossible, it was never nuclearized) and it might resume high-level enrichment of uranium (same lie as the NYT cartoon—you can’t “resume” something you never did in the first place).

*U.S. Ambassador Says Israel Is ‘on the Side of God’, in a sign of partiality in the Israel-Palestinian conflict
U.S. is partial to Israel? I sure hope this wasn’t their first clue!

Trump Said He Would Tame Rogue Nations. Now They Are Challenging Him.
Note: not an op-ed but a “news analysis” article. Who’s the “rogue nation”? And who is challenging whom? This headline stands the world on its head. “Three nations that have long defined themselves as bitter adversaries of the United States — North Korea, Iran and Venezuela — decided this week they could take on President Trump. Each one is betting that Mr. Trump is neither as savvy a negotiator nor as ready to use military force as he claims.” NYT doing its part to goad trump into war, as well as skandering three countries by the absurd idea that they “define themselves” by their relationship to the U.S.

CNN Anchors reveal how they disrupt the status quo
As if. A reminder that FAIR last month found that out of 76 opinion pieces on Venezuela from major U.S. media outlets, including CNN, NOT ONE opposed regime change. That’s how much challenging of the status quo the media in this country are doing. And we saw that above, with both the NYT and WaPo printing identical lies about Iran and its non-existent nuclear weapons program.

Trump, frustrated by advisers, is not convinced the time is right to attack Iran
On the one hand, classic spin from the usual anonymous "senior Administration officials". Trump trying to look like he is antiwar, just as he posed during the campaign, but not actually meaning it. But on the other hand, reflective of the complete normalization of imperialism. The headline accepts the idea that there is a "right time to attack Iran", which has nothing whatsoever to do with international law providing an actual justification for such an attack.

Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise.
RT America, a network known for sowing disinformation, has a new alarm: the coming ‘5G Apocalypse.’
“Known for”? I think they mean “smeared”.
I went to Google News and searched for “5G Dangers”. After the NYT article, the next three articles, which were about studies showing potential 5G dangers, were from CounterPunch, MedicalDaily, and VentureBeat. Not a Russian among them.

Pompeo crashes Brussels meeting of E.U. diplomats but changes few minds on Iran
A charitable description from the WaPo; there isn’t a single word in the article indicating he changed a single mind.

Friday, May 03, 2019


Headlines for May 3, 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 May 3, 2019

*Uber is paying drivers up to $40,000 each to celebrate its IPO


"Drivers are in line to earn $100 for making at least 2500 trips (4¢ @!), $500 for at least 5K trips, $1K for at least 10K trips (10¢ @!), $10K for at least 20K trips, and $20K for at least 30K trips. The largest reward—for 40K trips—is $40K." That's $1/trip—MAX! Cheapest tipper ever! People tip that much on a $4 cup of coffee at Starbucks!
And, by the way, Uber started 10 years ago. A driver starting on day 1 would have had to drive 4000 trips/year, or 11 trips a day, 365 days a year, every day since then to get to 40K trips! And, also by the way, at an average trip length of 6 miles, they would have put 240,000 miles on their car (not even including the miles between fares while driving around), which means they needed that $40K to buy a new car long ago.

*US rolls ‘100K tons of international diplomacy’ into the Mediterranean. Will Russia get the message?
The disgusting quote about “international diplomacy” comes directly from u.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, who has served every Administration since Reagan, including being Ambassador to China under Obama. US “diplomacy”, a.k.a. imperialist warmongering, is totally bipartisan.

*Venezuela's Guaidó accused of coup attempt by government
“Accused”? He’s in the streets with armed men, calling on the military to “oust the usurper”, but BBC isn’t willing to call that a coup attempt itself!

*Venezuela's Maduro claims to have defeated 'coup,' as rival Guaido urges more protests
Same idea, but with coup in quotes.

*Guaidó appears to stage military-backed challenge to Maduro in Venezuela
Anything but call it a “coup”. ‪Truly Olympic-level mental gymnastics employed in this article to avoid using the word “coup” except as an accusation by the VZ govt. A “military-backed challenge”? Pretty sure that’s the dictionary definition of a coup.‬ By the way the WaPo has now changed the headline, maybe out of embarrassment, but the URL still carries the original “military-backed challenge” headline.

There Is No Coup in Venezuela
The uprising in Caracas is an attempt to restore the government’s legitimacy, not overthrow it.
A column by Eli Lake. He is right, though. It's not a coup. It's a failure.

Don’t call it a coup. Venezuelans have a right to replace an oppressive, toxic regime.
Lead editorial. It’s not a coup if the WaPo doesn’t approve of  your government.

A Coup in Venezuela? That Word Is Best Avoided in This Situation
They provide a definition: “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government”, then claim “illegal” doesn’t apply because 50 countries recognize Guaidó. But 140 don’t, plus the United Nations, so if that’s your standard of legality, it fails utterly.

Why not call it a coup? For the same reason they didn’t call the 2009 coup against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras a coup, and the same reason they didn’t call el-Sisi’s 2013 coup against Mohammed Morsi a coup or the 2014 coup in Ukraine a coup. Because if the U.S. government calls it a coup, they have to stop military aid. But this is the U.S. media (and even the British media)! Yes, and it’s one more in a daily demonstration that the Western media is nothing more than a propaganda outlet for the U.S. government.

*How many Cuban troops are there in Venezuela? The U.S. says over 20,000. Cuba says zero.
20K Cuban troops in VZ? WaPo says "the allegation about Cuban security forces in Venezuela would seem easier to prove or disprove—after all, how do you hide 20,000 to 25,000 soldiers?" Former U.S. officials say there may be a gray area. “It’s hard to say what’s what. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.” So since reporters are free to roam in VZ, you've got pictures, right? Um, no. No pictures. Not of a single Cuban soldier. The sole piece of actual evidence presented, if you want to call it that, is this: a former VZ Lt. Colonel who fled to the US in 2018 said Cubans dressed in civilian clothing acted as “our supervisors and decision-makers.” Even if you believe him (I don't), how many Lt. Colonels does the VZ army have? A few hundred or thousand? How would being their supervisors require 20 to 25K soldiers? Of course that's preposterous. And it would hardly be a job for an ordinary Cuban soldier anyway. None of this, you know, LOGIC, will stop US politicians & their mouthpieces in the media from continuing to report this story, covering their asses with quotes like “It’s hard to say what’s what.” No, not really.

Maduro Wakes Venezuela With Dawn Broadcast Before Troops
The article even refers to a “national reveille”. Was this broadcast over loudspeakers throughout the country? No, it was on TV. If you heard it, you were already awake and watching TV.

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Steps Up Pressure, but Maduro Holds On
A few thousand opposition supporters come into the streets, a couple dozen low-level National Guardsmen defect, and the NYT wants its readers to think Maduro is just “holding on”.

Despite setbacks, Venezuela’s opposition wary of U.S. intervention
What opposition? The opposition quotes one student at a demonstration, and one member of the National Assembly. But the basic problem with this article is that it promotes the falsehood that the U.S. is not *already* intervening in Venezuela. Worst line in the article: "[Guaidó] has been recognized as Venezuela’s rightful leader by the United States and more than 50 other nations. Russia, China, Cuba and a few others back Maduro." A "few others" is 138 other countries!

Juan Guaidó, Venezuela at the Crossroads
Cover story of GQ Mexico
Guaidó posing like a model which is totally appropriate since his role is basically as spokesmodel for imperialism.

*There’s a new alleged Russian spy. It’s a beluga whale.
The WaPo wants its readers to think Maria Butina was a spy, so it’s not hard to believe they take this nonsense seriously too. By the way, if you get to the penultimate paragraph, you’ll finally read how US has been using marine mammals for military purposes for 70 years! The article, by the way, talks about how the harness could have carried weapons or cameras, but there’s no evidence of that whatsoever. Some reports referred to a “camera mount” as if it were a GoPro or something, but that was completely made up. The “harness” basically looks like a collar.

YouTube recommended a Russian media site thousands of times for analysis of Mueller’s report, a watchdog group says
This was a video of Chris Hedges (an American, and former New York Times reporter) interviewing Aaron Maté, also an American. And yet we read how it was aired by “RT, the global media operation funded by the Russian government.” And then “YouTube’s algorithm massively recommends *Russia’s take* on the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.” “Russia’s take”! I’m going to go out on a very short limb and guess that Maté did not talk to a single Russian, much less a representative of the Russian government, to form his opinions.

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