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Friday, November 22, 2019


Headlines for Nov. 22, 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 Nov. 22, 2019

From the NYT, the paper that brought us “What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?” and Tulsi Gabbard Thinks We’re Doomed”, comes the latest gem:
*Tulsi Gabbard’s White Pantsuit Isn’t Winning
Really NYT? All your other smears against Tulsi Gabbard aren’t succeeding? And no, this isn’t just a silly (and sexist) fashion article about not wearing white after Labor Day or whatever. No, this is quite serious. From the article:
“Gabbard herself doesn’t seem particularly interested in connecting with the suffragists, but rather is using her white suits to tap into another tradition, latent in the public memory: the mythical white knight, riding in to save us all from yet another “regime change war.””
“they are the white of avenging angels and flaming swords, of somewhat combative righteousness (also cult leaders). And that kind of association…sets someone apart, rather than joining others together. It has connotations of the fringe, rather than the center.”
Compare to this article, by the same author, in 2016:
*Why Hillary Wore White
“In her white suit, with her white crew neck underneath, Mrs. Clinton looked supremely unflappable: perfectly tailored and in control. Not a hair out of place (but some hair nicely waved). The kind of person who could carry the nuclear codes with aplomb. That suit, quietly yet clearly, made reference to history, specifically the history of the women’s movement.”

*Russian web trolls boo Biden, often boost Gabbard, report finds
[An article written by who else but Ken Dilanian?] “Mentions of Gabbard, a Hawaii congresswoman, by English-language Russian propaganda outlets [Sputnik and RT] were 46 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.” Really? That's how they "boost" her? Well, I guess it beats the 99% unfavorable (and general lack of coverage) in the US corporate media.

*Americans Steal Kremlin’s Playbook, for Clicks and Profit
A) Clickbait was hardly a Russian invention, and hardly invented in 2016.
B) If you read the article, the headline really should be “American steals Macedonian playbook”, and there’s no evidence the Macedonians stole that “playbook” from the IRA.
“Among Mr. LaCorte’s network was one writer who helped peddle a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had ties to a pedophile ring.” That, of course, is Pizzagate, which was basically the origin of the term “fake news”, which, as this article makes clear, originated with Macedonian teenagers out to make money, not with “the Kremlin”.

*25 times Trump was soft on Russia
Of the 25 times, 19 are things Trump has said, not done, e.g., "Trump has repeatedly praised Putin". And most are like this: "Trump mulled giving spy compounds to Russia". Except the only evidence he did so is a Washington Post anonymously sourced story, not a Trump tweet, and it never happened. By the way, that WaPo story was headlined "Trump administration moves to return Russian compounds in Maryland and New York", as if the action was in progress and pretty much a fait accompli.
To contrast with the CNN article, Caitlin Johnstone has written an article entitled 25 times Trump was dangerously hawkish on Russia, filled with things that the U.S. *actually did*.

*At Odds With Labour, Britain’s Jews Are Feeling Politically Homeless
The headline doesn’t say “some British Jews”, just “Britain’s Jews”, which implies that all British Jews, or at least the vast majority, are abandoning Labour. You might expect an actual poll to back that up, but all you get are a handful of anecdotal examples. A story trying to make the news instead of reporting it.

Bolivia’s crisis turns deadly again as 5 killed in clash
Compare headline to the lede: “Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly after security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales in a central town, killing at least five people.” THAT IS NOT A “CLASH”, IT’S A MASSACRE. And if anyone thinks “massacre” is too strong a word, I remind you that one of the most famous “massacres” of the American Revolution, the Boston Massacre, involved the death of…five people. The essence of a massacre isn’t the number of people killed, it’s the one-sided nature of the event. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the famous mob murder in Chicago, also involved “only” seven victims. But, like Boston and like Bolivia, it was a one-sided “clash”.

Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests
Ooh, scary! The war has started, right? Not quite. “mainland Chinese soldiers in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts jogged out of a barracks here to clear streets of bricks, metal bars and other debris left by demonstrators.”

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims
Just like last week, here we have a quote with no attribution or context. It was said by China’s President Xi, but he was talking about the “struggle against terrorism”, not Muslims in general.

Hong Kong police move on university campus, threaten live rounds, retreat before growing flames
The students are shooting arrows, hurling molotov cocktails, and throwing bricks, all of which are deadly weapons, but the police *threatening* live rounds is what makes the headline.

Esper: ‘We’re not the ones looking for a Cold War’ with China
First sentence: The Chinese government is undermining the international system and trying to alter it through coercion and malign influence, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper [said].

New U.S. Policy, Same Old Bind for Israeli Settlers and Palestinians
Subhead: Israeli and Palestinian residents of the West Bank say the new American stance toward settlement does nothing to change their fundamental insecurity.
Unbelievable false equivalence between the problems of illegal Israeli settlers and Palestinians. Weirdly, the original headline (still shown in the thumbnail), was much better: US Reversal on Settlements Shows Pro-Israel Bias, Palestinians Say

Friday, November 15, 2019


Headlines for Nov. 15, 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 Nov. 15, 2019

*Visit to Arlington Cemetery reminded Donald Trump Jr. of all his family’s ‘sacrifices,’ he writes
Did he lose an uncle in the Vietnam war perhaps? Um, no. The sacrifice he’s talking about is “voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off the office’”.

Not one corporate newspaper used the word “coup” in their headline to describe what happened in Bolivia. Most used some variation of “Morales resigns” (WaPo) or “Morales steps down” (NYT). Not one even used the phrase “Morales is forced out”; I guess that’s too close to saying coup.

The NYT print edition:
*Bolivia’s Leader Resigns, Heeding Protesters’ Call
‘The End Of Tyranny”
That quote comes from Carlos Mesa, the man who just lost to Morales
That subhead was only in the print edition. Online, the subhead is just as bad in a different way: “A leftist who had served longer than any other current head of state in Latin America, Mr. Morales lost his grip on power amid violent protests set off by a disputed election.” No mention of the role of the military or police.

*Morales, supporters reject interim president, deepening Bolivia’s crisis
So it wasn't someone appointing themselves President with no Constitutional authority whatsoever that deepened Bolivia's crisis, but the fact that Morales and his supporters reject her.

*Evo Morales’ power grab would be a great Netflix series. Call it ‘Emperor of the Andes’
Winning an election with 47% of the vote is now a “power grab”. Another brilliant insight from Andrés Oppenheimer,  the guy who wrote “Castro’s Final Hour”…in 1993.

But the worst headline goes to the Express in the UK:

*Putin suffers crushing blow to South America dominance as Bolivia President ousted

*Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters' 'weapons factories'
(Reuters article)
From this article glorifying violent protesters: “The protesters say their non-violent efforts have been met by brutal police tactics, & their weapons are needed to protect themselves.” Sorry, flaming arrows, petrol bombs & bricks aren’t defensive weapons! And of course, no mention that one of those “non-violent bricks” just killed a 70-year-old man, or that the fire they love has put another man in the hospital fighting for his life.

Hong Kong Protester Shot by Police as Clashes Escalate
Opening paragraph: “one of the bloodiest days of unrest so far left two people critically injured—a protester who was shot by police and a man set on fire after arguing with demonstrators.” But only one of those made the headline. And, not coincidentally, that was also the only one mentioned on my local TV news.
Then on Wednesday, a 70-year-old street sweeper was killed after being hit on the head by a thrown brick. Coverage in the Western media? ZERO. No headlines, no stories, nothing.
Two days later, today, finally one headline, but only from the BBC:
*Hong Kong protests: Man dies after being hit 'by hard object' during protests
But even the article tries to mislead: “A man has died in Hong Kong after being hit on the head during clashes between government supporters and protesters.
The government said the 70-year-old cleaner was on a lunch break on Wednesday when he was struck by "hard objects hurled by masked rioters".

Meanwhile In the WaPo https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/holed-up-in-university-hong-kong-protesters-issue-demands/2019/11/14/d7d171de-0754-11ea-ae28-7d1898012861_story.html, a brief mention in the tenth paragraph of an article on developments in HK. Likewise in the NYT https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/11/15/world/asia/15reuters-hongkong-protests.html, a brief mention also in the tenth paragraph.

*Mars shock: Space race erupts as China unleashes devastating plan to find life before NASA

‘I’m Full Tulsi’: Inside Tulsi Gabbard’s Wild Bid to Make Trouble in 2020
Imagine describing her very serious campaign as a “bid to make trouble”. And by the way, that quote in the headline comes from a supporter expressing her total support for Gabbard, although the way the headline is written, you can easily imagine it’s Gabbard bragging about how she’s in this race for herself.

Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Leader, Prompting Gaza Rocket Attacks
Original headline: Gaza Militants Fire Rockets Into Israel After Islamic Jihad Leader Killed

Bannon testifies Trump campaign viewed Stone as access point to WikiLeaks
Bannon: Stone was Trump campaign link to WikiLeaks
But the testimony is that he was, in fact, *not* a link, just a bs artist.

Friday, November 08, 2019


Headlines for Nov. 8, 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 Nov. 8, 2019

*Bill Gates’ 5 Secrets To Happiness Are Surprisingly Affordable
*Bill Gates criticises Elizabeth Warren's plan for tax on super-rich
So Bill doesn’t think you need money to be happy, but keep your hands off his!

Then these…
*The Billionaires Are Getting Nervous
*Cartier boss with $7.5bn fortune says prospect of the poor rising up 'keeps him awake at night'
In case you’re wondering where the push for UBI is coming: The multi-billionaire owner of luxury jewellery company Cartier has revealed his greatest fear – robots replacing workers and the poor rising up to bring down the rich. 

*Apple is donating $2.5 billion towards the California housing crisis
This is SO misleading. They make it sound like Apple is giving away $2.5B. As Bernie Sanders (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/04/bernie-sanders-slams-apples-2point5-billion-housing-pledge.html)  put it so well: “Apple is the latest tech industry tax evader that has portrayed its entry into the housing business as an act of philanthropic altruism.” Most of it is an *investment fund*, loans that Apple will be paid back, presumably with interest. They’re doing this because they have so much money they can’t use it for their own needs.
“The money is not an out-and-out donation but rather a spending plan with different pots of money and land assigned to different efforts.”
$1 billion will go towards an affordable housing investment fund which Cook said will "provide the state and others with an open line of credit to develop and build additional new, very low- to moderate-income housing faster and at a lower cost."
Another $1 billion will be put into a first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund.
$300 million of Apple-owned land in San Jose will be given over to build affordable housing.
$150 million is going towards "Bay Area housing fund" which will be run in tandem with nonprofits including the Housing Trust Silicon Valley.
$50 million (2% of the total) is a straight donation to homelessness charity Destination: Home.

An exact repeat of the story from June 21 of this year:
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.

*I worked on political ads at Facebook. They profit by manipulating us.
Um, isn’t that how *all* political ads (all ads of any kind, in fact) work? Try googling “Harry and Louise” just for starters. The ads featured a fictional 40-something, middle-class married couple named Harry and Louise despairing over the government getting involved in health insurance and how it would certainly mess up their own coverage, including making them change doctors, and put an end to Clinton’s attempt at something like the ACA in the early 90’s.

*Embassy seizure four decades ago leaves a legacy of bitterness between Iran and the United States
I’m pretty sure it was actually the CIA overthrow of Mossadegh and the installation of the Shah 66 years ago. Encouraging Iraq to attack Iran also didn’t help. By contrast, the US perspective: “The State Department said the event will serve as “a reminder of the long history of malign behavior by the Iranian regime and the danger it has posed to the United States and the world over the past 40 years.””

*The Mueller Report Illustrated: The Obstruction Investigation
Talk about rewriting history! It was a “collusion” investigation, not an obstruction investigation!

With student’s death, Hong Kong uprising enters perilous new phase
“He fell one story in a parking garage in the Tseung Kwan O neighborhood while police officers were dispersing protesters nearby. Local reports have said that he was about 130 yards from police officers. Chow’s death could be the first directly connected to a police confrontation with protesters.”
So the accidental death of one student in Hong Kong starts a “perilous new phase”, but not the deaths of scores in Chile or hundreds in Iraq.

Democrats in Battleground States Prefer Moderate Nominee, Poll Shows
It’s true that when asked a general question, respondents did answer that way. But asked about specific candidates, the numbers for Biden plus Buttigieg almost exactly equal those for Sanders plus Warren, and in turn equal the number of undecided. So the conclusion in the headline is dubious at best.

One Year From Election, Trump Trails Biden but Leads Warren in Battlegrounds
This week’s entry in the “black out Bernie” competition. The poll matched up Trump vs. Biden, Sanders, & Warren. Biden led in 4 of 6 battleground states, Sanders in 3, Warren in just 1. But almost every result was well within the margin of error, i.e., Trump is basically tied with all three in all six states.

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