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Friday, December 07, 2018


Headlines for Dec. 7, 2018

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines (WMMFH) for Dec. 7, 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 11 minutes.
*Russia is trying to undermine Americans’ confidence in the justice system, security experts warn

Too late! The cops and the courts have already done that!
“In their quest to push disinformation, Russian trolls don’t advocate for one position over another but instead promote opposite arguments on the same subject, according to Rishikof. “They take both sides because the goal is to whip up controversy and discredit institutions,” he said.” This makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. How would a post *defending* the justice system serve to discredit it? And, by the way, this “analysis” relies on our old friend “Hamilton 68”, which admits that the accounts it tracks are not necessarily Russians at all!
And the usual suspects: “Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik  also “routinely produce content that alleges corruption, partisanship, and fundamental unfairness of the justice system.”” Right, because none of those things are actually true. This harkens right back to the Jan. 2017 DNI report citing RT’s coverage of Occupy and fracking etc., where they claimed, shockingly, that “RT framed the [Occupy] movement as a fight against "the ruling class" and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations.” And that “RT ran numerous reports on alleged US election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities.” Or that “the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population.” How dare they tell the truth about the US?
The article (from Sept. 17) on which the WaPo article is based:
*How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of 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.”

*Trump administration gives Russia an ultimatum on Cold War-era arms treaty
Although it's just implied in the headline itself, the entire article is about supposed Russian violations of the INF. Not until the *27th paragraph* do we read “The Kremlin says it continues to adhere to the treaty.” And nowhere in the entire article is there any concrete evidence or even specific allegations about how Russia is in violation, just Pompeo’s assertions. Why is “27th paragraph” important? Because the paper I read, where I read this article first, the (San José) Mercury News, only has space for the first 11 paragraphs. So readers of that paper who didn’t seek out the original as I did (99% of readers) never saw the Russian denial. Of course that also goes for people who only read the first 26 (or fewer) paragraphs of the WaPo article, or people who watched the story reported on CNN or ABC or anywhere on TV, whose stories are basically the equivalent of the first 3 or 4 paragraphs of the WaPo article.

*Mattis says Putin tried to "muck around" in November's midterm elections
This article quotes Mattis as saying he hasn’t seen a smoking gun implicating MbS in the Khashoggi murder. But they give the headline to his claim about Russian (excuse me, Putin himself!) interference in the midterms, despite the fact that he doesn’t even cite a single piece of indirect evidence, much less a smoking gun.

Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan, defeated in November, seek payback by limiting the powers of incoming Democrats
A curious use of the word "payback", which typically denotes revenge for a wrong that was done to the person. But the Democrats didn't "wrong" the Republicans, they simply beat them in the election, and if anyone did "wrong" them, it was the voters of Wisconsin and Michigan, not the incoming Democrats. A better and more accurate headline would be "Republicans seek to thwart the will of the voters".

*Inside the chaos and corruption of Tripoli, where militias rule the streets
Another headline (and article) sin of omission. Here’s the only reference to what led to this situation: “Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in the Arab spring revolution.” There’s a long subhead under the headline, but it too omits any mention of the US/NATO assault on Libya.

López Obrador promised a lot. Now he’s starting to deliver, and that’s making some Mexicans anxious.
Who exactly? Mansion open to the public. Presidential jet being sold. I doubt anyone is “anxious” about those things. Ayotzinapa Truth Commission? I guess the guilty people are anxious about that. Bureaucrats whose salaries have been cut. Almost 3,000 public employees have filed class-action lawsuits against the government over a law mandating that no bureaucrat can earn more than the president. Because López Obrador set his salary at 108 thousand pesos per month (about $5,250), less than half of his predecessor’s salary, the pay of other public servants also has plummeted.And what about the people who voted for him and presumably are happy that he’s doing what he said he would do? No mention of them in the headline or in the article.

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