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Friday, July 26, 2019


Headlines for July 26, 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 26, 2019

*Massachusetts police ask residents to refrain from crime until after the heat wave passes
Oh, OK.

*Afghans seek clarity on Trump’s talk of wiping out the country
Ya’ think?

*The GOP’s questions to Mueller seemed bizarre — unless you watch Fox News
If names like Glenn Simpson & Joseph Mifsud and others are only familiar to viewers of Fox News, that’s an indictment of the WaPo and the rest of corporate media, not of Fox.

*The Plot to Subvert an Election
Unraveling the Russia Story So Far
Rehashes every unproven accusation about what "Russia" did, presented as fact (in a 10,000 word article, the word "allegedly" does not appear even once), and featuring a cover graphic with Trump's head, open and inside is someone else (Papadopolous?) and inside his is someone else (Flynn?) and then someone else (Manafort?) and then, inside everyone else, Putin.

Iran’s claims that it broke up U.S. spy ring are ‘totally false,’ Trump says
In the week this headline ran in the WaPo, as well as virtually identical headlines in every other media outlet, Trump told a documented 61 lies or falsehoods. It's completely indisputable that his word is worth nothing. So why run a headline like this?

*Kim Jong Un's former chef feared detained for 'betrayal' pictured making sushi for UK ambassador
Yet another person resurfaces in North Korea

China’s State Media Show Hong Kong Protest Images, Fanning Public Anger
How dare they not censor the news!

*Russia Targeted Elections Systems in All 50 States, Report Finds
Voter registration databases are not “elections systems”. And we have to take their word for it, since the information is largely redacted. And, of course, the *real* people changing voter registration databases, as extensively documented by Greg Palast, are Republicans like Kris Kobach with tools like “crosscheck”.

I Hacked an Election. So Can the Russians.
Totally misleading. This computer professor got some voting machines and, with physical access to them, changed their codes, then goes on to speculate how someone could do it remotely. But his speculation is only that Russia or North Korea could do this. Why not Republicans (or Democrats)? And, from a WaPo article on the “Russian targeting”, we read “The report runs through some of the ways that certain voting machines can be breached if someone obtains physical access.” Are we really worried that “Russians” are going to be able to obtain *physical access* to sufficient voting machines to have an affect on the election? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to worry about the fact that these machines are being produced by private companies, with their own potential political biases, using proprietary, non-open source code?

It’s not just the Russians anymore as Iranians and others turn up disinformation efforts ahead of 2020 vote
First of all, the whole use of the word “disinformation” is itself disinformation. Tweeting the Trump spews hate is not “disinformation”, it’s a fact (or an opinion if you prefer). Second, who says they’re Iranians? Remember the “Russian” accounts which suddenly became “Venezuelan” accounts? And third, as for accounts which are definitely Iranian, consider this sentence from the article: “Graphika found that among one set of 1,666 Iranian accounts taken down by Twitter in June, about 1 in 4 tweets were in English. Trump was mentioned more than 1,400 times — almost always in critical ways.” If 1 in 4 accounts were in English, then 3 in 4, 75%, were in Farsi. If this were really a coordinated attempt to influence US politics, why on earth would you devote 75% of your effort to a language few Americans can read? And how many actual Americans actually followed these 1,666 accounts? They never say.

*Why Cuba's streets are flooded with classic cars
A 3 ½ minute video in which the words “blockade” or “embargo” are not mentioned. Their “answer” to the headline question is that Cubans in the 50s loved Cadillacs and that after the Revolution Castro banned the importation of cars or car parts.

Trump takes aim at Iran with new sanctions on Hezbollah member Salman Raouf Salman
"Sanctions"? They announced a $7M reward for an alleged terrorist who hasn't been seen for 25 years! Oh, and they "froze his assets" in the US (that was the "sanctions" part), as if he has any! And the "takes aim at Iran" part is pure spin.

Friday, July 19, 2019


Headlines for July 19, 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 19, 2019

*Peter Thiel’s comments about spies in Silicon Valley have some basis in reality, but no evidence
(Thiel said that the FBI and CIA should investigate Google and ask whether any foreign spies, particularly Chinese spies, have infiltrated its research into artificial intelligence.) Huh? Here are some examples of what they mean by “reality”: “Facebook’s former chief security officer Alex Stamos honed in those realities Tuesday, tweeting that it’s “completely reasonable” to imagine Chinese intelligence has worked to recruit technology employees at big companies.” “Odds are that China has almost certainly attempted to recruit people working at Google.”

*Trump took heat from Melania and Ivanka over racist chants at rally
The source for this CYA story is “CBS News has learned”. THAT IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SOURCE FOR A NEWS STORY!! Tell the truth — “Melania’s (or Ivanka’s) PR agent called us up and fed us this completely unsubstantiatable story, but we’ll run with it.” And the headline, if they believe their sources, missed the real story: “CBS News learned that Mr. Trump spoke to several members of his inner circle about how to react to the chant. He weighed the pros and cons of softening his tone, worried supporters would not like it. But ultimately, he declared unhappiness.”

*What makes the Biden Doctrine different
Aside from the headline (Biden’s foreign policy is no different than any other Dem candidate except Sanders & Gabbard), the whole thesis of this article, that “liberal internationalism” (aka interventionism) is popular with Americans is pure bollocks. Here (I think) is the “Biden doctrine” per this article: “Biden said: “America’s security, prosperity and way of life require the strongest possible network of partners and allies working alongside us. . . . The Biden foreign policy agenda will place America back at the head of the table, working with our allies and partners — to mobilize global action on global threats, especially those unique to our century.””

*Why does President Trump keep dragging Jews into his attacks?
Classic (intentional) confusion. Aside from the usual accusation of “anti-Semitism” which is used as a synonym for “anti-Zionism”, the focus of Trump’s tweets was *Israel”, not “Jews”. Trump (& Dems & GOP) defend Israel, not Jews.

*Syrian Government Intensifies Strikes on Opposition Stronghold
Per this article, Idlib is just an “opposition stronghold”. Don’t look for the words “ISIS” or “Al Qaeda” or “HTS” in the article; you won’t find them. And certainly not “terrorist”.

*Trump administration scores key ally for global coalition against Iran
France? Germany? No, Argentina!

Netflix tanks after whiffing on global paid subscribers
Such a perfect encapsulation of Capitalism & its need to constantly grow (and why only socialism can save the planet). They ADDED 2.7M subscribers.

The alt-right has been under the media spotlight — but should we be concerned about the 'alt-left'?
'Bad people from both sides': Should we be concerned by a rising alt-left?
A complete nothing article, since there is no “alt-left”, designed only to run the scare headline. And listen to the 2nd paragraph: “The alt-right have been called many things; neo-Nazis, racists, fascist — beliefs which are seen as a departure from mainstream values.” “Called many things”? “Seen as a departure…”?

*OxyContin Made The Sacklers Rich. Now It’s Tearing Them Apart.
Cry me a river. Jacqueline Sackler, who is married to a son of a company co-founder, emailed her in-laws, lawyers and advisers. “This situation is destroying our work, our friendships, our reputation and our ability to function in society,” she wrote.
“And worse, it dooms my children. How is my son supposed to apply to high school in September?

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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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”. 

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