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Friday, June 21, 2019


Headlines for June 21, 2019

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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 June 21, 2019

Trump Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back
Trump ordered attack on Iran for downing drone, then called it off, citing casualties
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
[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
[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
*Google promises $1 billion to help fix Bay Area housing crisis it helped create
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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