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Tuesday, December 31, 2019


The worst, most misleading, and funniest headlines of 2019

Click here to listen to this week's 30-minute (!) 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 of 2019
Broadcast Dec. 27, 2019

#1 Story of the year (as every year): Fake News By Omission, the stories that weren’t covered by the corporate media and were thereby kept hidden from the public:

#2 Story of the year: The totally imbalanced coverage of demonstrations in countries which are U.S. “friends” vs. U.S. “enemies”, highlighted by the overblown, breathless coverage of the protests in Hong Kong, featuring utterly misleading headlines like:
  • Hong Kong Officer Fires Shot, and Police Use Water Cannons at Protest (forgot to mention that the shot and water cannons were a response to protesters swinging rods, and throwing bricks and firebombs).
  • Tear gas returns to Hong Kong as police disperse authorized protest (except the tear gas was used against people who weren’t on the authorized route and were throwing bricks)
  • Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests (they did indeed — dressed in T-shirts and shorts, to clean up the streets)
  • Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters' 'weapons factories' (filled with admiration for the resourcefulness of the protesters, a totally different tone than if they had gotten an “inside look at ISIS weapons factories).
  • And just this week: “Is This Frog a Hate Symbol or Not?”, where the NYT pretends that Hong Kong protesters have no idea that Pepe the Frog is a major symbol of racist white nationalists in the U.S. and that they just coincidentally picked the same symbol for their protests. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/24/opinion/pepe-frog-hate-speech.html
#3 Story of the year: The trashing of Tulsi Gabbard, featuring headlines like:
  • ‘I’m Full Tulsi’: Inside Tulsi Gabbard’s Wild Bid to Make Trouble in 2020
  • Tulsi Gabbard Thinks We’re Doomed
  • What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?
  • Tulsi Gabbard’s White Pantsuit Isn’t Winning (the article which claimed her white pantsuit invoked avenging angels, flaming swords, and cult leaders).
  • Can hanging out with Tulsi Gabbard fans help us understand what her deal is?
  • Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard
  • Tulsi Gabbard’s Campaign Is Being Boosted by Putin Apologists. The Hawaii congresswoman is quickly becoming the top candidate for Democrats who think the Russian leader is misunderstood.
    The article cited exactly three of those “Putin apologists”. One was Stephen Cohen, probably the foremost Russian scholar in the U.S. Another was “Goofy Grapes”, allegedly an RT employee, who apparently qualified as one of the nation’s “leading Russophiles”.

#4 Story of the year: The Mueller report
  • Front pages the day after the Mueller report drops in April:
    • WaPo: Mueller lays out evidence against Trump on obstruction, Russia
    • NYT: Mueller Details Multiple Contacts with Russians and Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Inquiry
    • Mercury News: Evidence Against Trump Detailed
The goal posts have been moved so far they’re not even in sight. “Collusion”? It’s in the second subhead in the NYT, an article way down the page on the WaPo, and nowhere at all in the Mercury News. Lead story in the WaPo only mentions conspiracy in the fifth paragraph, and then only to quote Trump. Mercury News lists “Mueller’s 8 key findings”, none of them being “no collusion”.
  • WaPo in November: The Mueller Report Illustrated: The Obstruction Investigation
  • What if the Obstruction Was the Collusion? On the New York Times’s Latest Bombshell (from lawfareblog) (This literally makes no sense. Why would you collude with Russia to obstruct an investigation into something that didn’t happen? And what did Russia do to aid the obstruction anyway?)
  • Comey says there was 'real sloppiness' in Carter Page FISA warrants (also described in the media as “errors” and “mistakes”, never as the felonies that they were.

#5 Story of the year: Russia Derangement Syndrome
  • Americans Steal Kremlin’s Playbook, for Clicks and Profit (as if clickbait was a Russian invention, and the story is actually about an American businessman hiring Macedonians)
  • Trump may not be a Russian agent. He’s just a Russian stooge.
  • 25 times Trump was soft on Russia (19 of the 25 were things Trump said, not things he did; the whole article was brilliantly rebutted by Caitlin Johnstone in an article actually connected to reality entitled “25 times Trump was dangerously hawkish on Russia” 
  • Russia is openly honing its fake-news skills in Africa (not a word in the article describing a single piece of “fake news”)
  • Trump wanting to buy Greenland is yet another sign of Putin’s puppetry.
    Apparently Russia wants Greenland’s oil and gas so Putin told Trump the U.S, should buy it.
  • Even one of Trump’s favorite foods has a hidden Russia connection
    In which we learn that Anastas Mikoyan (then minister of food) came to US in 1936 to study mass production methods and brought back 25 hamburger machines to the USSR.
  • Putin’s private army — Russia tightens grip on Africa, but Moscow doesn’t want to admit it.
    250 Russian mercenaries in the Central African Republic apparently constitutes Russia’s “grip” on Africa.
  • Journalism sheds light in Russia and China. No wonder their despots hate it.
    This WaPo editorial literally ran the day after the U.S. finalized its extradition request for Julian Assange.
  • Russian documents reveal desire to sow racial discord — and violence — in the U.S.
    If the headline wasn’t bad enough, the article actually suggested that Russian influence threatens to “undermine the country’s territorial integrity and military and economic potential.”
  • There’s a new alleged Russian spy. It’s a beluga whale.
    Yes, this was a serious article.
  • YouTube recommended a Russian media site thousands of times for analysis of Mueller’s report, a watchdog group says
    The video on the RT site was of Chris Hedges (an American, and former New York Times reporter) interviewing Aaron Maté, also an American.
  • Russia’s other plot. Vladimir Putin wants to influence more than elections. Inside his growing empire of rogue states.
    With an ominous picture of Putin leaning over the globe, with Soviet red stars over nine countries. Nonsense with a dose of anti-Communism for good measure.
  • Is Masha and the Bear a Putin stooge? Critics claim cartoon with 4.18m subscribers is made by Kremlin to subvert children
  • The GOP has become the Soviet party
    Media still hasn’t grasped that the Soviet Union doesn’t exist and that Russia is not Communist.
  • The culmination of Russiaphobia, from the NYT this week in a series of three different headlines over the same article (!): https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/23/world/europe/russia-putin.html
    • Latest: Putin’s Russia, Punching Above Its Weight, Keeps Adversaries Off Balance
    • Second: Russia is a Mess. Why is Putin Such a Formidable Enemy?
    • Original: It's Putin's World. We Just Live in It.

Candidates for Funniest headline of the year:
  • Visit to Arlington Cemetery reminded Donald Trump Jr. of all his family’s sacrifices,’ he writes (those sacrifices? Missing out on business opportunities)
  • Mars shock: Space race erupts as China unleashes devastating plan to find life before NASA
  • Cory Booker read Rosario Dawson a 250-page bedtime story about World War II
  • ‘C’est moi’: Mitt Romney admits to running secret Twitter account under the alias ‘Pierre Delecto’
  • Mitt Romney said everyone in the Senate is 'really nice' except for Bernie Sanders, who 'just kind of scowls'
  • Frederick Douglass photos smashed stereotypes. Could Elizabeth Warren selfies do the same?
  • Hillary Clinton, seated at a mock Resolute Desk, reads her once-controversial emails at a Venice art exhibit
  • Massachusetts police ask residents to refrain from crime until after the heat wave passes
  • Peter Thiel’s comments about spies in Silicon Valley have some basis in reality, but no evidence
  • US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as ‘molecules of freedom’
  • Lawyers for Noah’s Ark theme park are suing its insurance company for rain damage
  • CNN Anchors reveal how they disrupt the status quo

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.

Friday, December 20, 2019


Headlines for Dec. 20, 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 Dec. 20, 2019

*Comey says there was 'real sloppiness' in Carter Page FISA warrants
From “mistakes” and “errors” and now to just “sloppiness”. All great substitutes for “committed felonies” by fabricating and suppressing evidence. The headline is important because the article only says that “exculpatory evidence about Page was omitted”, and omits that evidence was actually fabricated. I guess that was just “sloppiness” on the part of CNN.

*On a Momentous Day in America, Many Averted Their Gaze
Maybe that’s because it wasn’t as momentous as you think, NYT. Because I guarantee that on *actually* momentous days, no one is “averting their gaze”.
Related: the incessant repetition (front-page headline in the NYT) that Trump was “the third President to face removal”. A formulation which completely omits Richard Nixon, the one President who was actually removed by the impeachment process, even if he was technically not impeached.

*Joe Biden 'healthy, vigorous' and 'fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency': Doctor's report
If the duties of the Presidency consist of doing pushups. No word on his mental state.

Is Pete Buttigieg Just Too Young to Be President?
Classic straw man article. No one accuses Buttigieg of being too young to be President. They accuse him of being too inexperienced to be President (aside from also criticizing his actual policies of course). By the way, Tulsi Gabbard, who is just 9 months older than Buttigieg (in a month they’ll both be 38), isn’t mentioned in this article (no surprise there), and of the many negative articles about her in the Times and elsewhere, I’ve me er once seen anyone raise the “too young” question.

*Buttigieg’s foreign policy might be the key to his success
He has a foreign policy?

*If Nancy Pelosi ran for president, she'd beat Trump
By David Gergen. LOL.

*First China-Made Aircraft Carrier Enters Active Service
Subhead: President Xi Jinping oversees commissioning ceremony of ‘Shandong’ at naval base on edge of contested South China Sea
Where was this base? On Hainan Island, which has been part of China for 2000 years. Saying it’s on “the edge of contested South China Sea” is like saying “Edinburgh is on the edge of the North Sea”. Incidentally you can draw a straight line across the Pacific from Hainan to San Francisco, so I guess SF is also “on the edge of the contested South China Sea” as well.

*China’s Curing Cancer Faster and Cheaper Than Anywhere Else
Oh no! 

Friday, December 13, 2019


Headlines for Dec. 13, 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 Dec. 13, 2019

*General election 2019: Ads are 'indecent, dishonest and untruthful'
1st paragraph: “The Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising says at least 31 campaigns from across the party spectrum have been indecent, dishonest or untruthful.”
16th paragraph: “88% (5,952) of the Tory party's most widely promoted ads either featured claims which had been flagged…as not correct or not entirely correct.”
Lib Dems criticized claiming ”it was the only party that could beat either Labour, the Conservatives or the SNP "in seats like yours"”
“for Labour, it said that it could not find any misleading claims in ads run over the period. However, it noted that the party's supporters were more likely to share unpaid-for electioneering posts than those of its rivals. It said one of these contained leader Jeremy Corbyn's disputed claim that a Tory-negotiated trade deal with the US could cost the NHS up to £500m a week by driving up the cost of medicines.”

*Socialist Jeremy Corbyn to step down as leader of Labour Party after defeat in U.K. election
All other references to Corbyn in NBC News headlines are like "Labour leader Corbyn", but now that he lost, and they want to tar socialism, it's "socialist Jeremy Corbyn".

Boris Johnson breaks tradition by dodging interview with BBC’s top Rottweiler, Andrew Neil
I guess “hard-hitting interviewer” would highlight the inadequacies of American interviewers too much.

*The Doves Were Right. I Was Wrong.
(by Conor Friedersdorf)
Original headline, which was rather quickly changed, was much more accurate: "Anti-war Protesters Were Right About Afghanistan." The new one about "doves" is either misleading or downright wrong. Both "doves" and "hawks" supported the invasion of Afghanistan; only radicals and anti-imperialists opposed it.

The American Health Care Industry Is Killing People
The health care system does sometimes kill people (A lot of them in fact: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/medical-errors-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-america.html “According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.”), but that’s not what this mis-titled article is about. It’s about the health INSURANCE industry, which is a cancerous growth on top of the health care system. It needs to be cut out. The health insurance industry would like you to keep calling it the health care industry so it sounds like it’s a system that actually cares for people (in both senses of the word). Don’t make that mistake. They don’t care (again, in both senses of the word). They care for PROFIT.

Report on F.B.I. Russia Inquiry Finds Serious Errors but Debunks Anti-Trump Plot
FBI was justified in opening Trump campaign probe, but case plagued by ‘serious failures,’ inspector general finds
‪CNN in an article headlined “7 new things we learned from the Horowitz reporthttps://www.cnn.com/2019/12/09/politics/horowitz-reports-new-things/index.html says “The FBI badly bungling its application to surveil Carter Page”.‬

“A chart in the report listed dozens of significant inaccuracies, omissions or assertions that investigators failed to back up in supporting documents in the four applications. To make the case that Mr. Page was probably a foreign agent, they relied on historical information about his contacts with Russians before 2016 and claims about his 2016 interactions with Russians that came from the Steele dossier.

“Among the problems: The F.B.I. never told the Justice Department, which thus never told the court that granted permission for the wiretaps, that Mr. Page had for years been providing information to the C.I.A. about his prior contacts with Russian officials — including an encounter cited in the application as a reason to be suspicious of him. That might have made his history less suspicious.”

“Mr. Clinesmith altered the email so that it stated that Mr. Page was “not a source,” contributing to the Justice Department’s failure to discuss his relationship with the C.I.A. in a renewal application.”

The things that happened, along with an FBI lawyer fabricating evidence, do not constitute “mistakes” or “errors” as the NYT and WaPo headlines would have it. 
They are deliberate perversions of justice. Criminal conduct. The ends (trying to destroy the odious Trump) do not justify the means. All the more so because the motivation for trying to destroy Trump wasn’t his *actual* odious policies. No, it was one of his few reasonable policies—expressing a desire for good relations with Russia (something which his predecessors had also expressed a desire for). Imagine what the FBI could (and would!) do if an actual progressive was in sight of the Oval Office. There are indeed dangers to democracy. But they don’t originate in Russia, but right at home in Washington, DC.

*France’s worst strike in decades enters a second day
Why is the word “worst” in the headline? To bias the reader, of course. Why not “best”? Or just neutral words like “biggest” or “most significant”?

*Four died in a shootout with police after a UPS truck was hijacked. Could it have been avoided?
Believe it or not, they are asking that question seriously.

*Why Warren’s Drop In the Polls Is Good News for Her
Hard to explain the “logic” of this piece. Example: “she has an opportunity to show in vivid and visceral ways that she is the real deal rather than a passing novelty.”

*Biden warns that Boris Johnson's victory shows dangers of parties leaning too far left


The Labour loss was by all serious loss a Brexit loss, not a "too far left" loss. But the establishment (media and politicians) will use it as a club to beat the left; Biden is just the first to start swinging.

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