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Friday, January 31, 2020


Headlines for Jan. 31, 2020

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 Jan. 31, 2020

*Elizabeth Warren proposes criminal penalties for spreading voting disinformation online
Original headline (still visible in the URL and the thumbnail): Elizabeth Warren proposes criminal penalties for spreading disinformation online
Many people have been spreading this article and the misleading headline and article which follows online. Like the original headline, the article talks about fighting disinformation in general, holding FB & Twitter accountable, etc.
She calls for FB & Twitter etc. to “Clearly label content created or promoted by state-controlled organizations” and “Take meaningful steps to alert users affected by disinformation campaigns”.
She also talks about "Consider additional sanctions against countries that engage in election interference through disinformation", which of course is something the US is already doing.
And it quotes Warren as saying: “I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote." But if you read her actual proposal (https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/fighting-digital-disinformation), "this kind of information" is NOT "disinformation" in general, but very specifically "disseminating false information about when and how to vote in U.S. elections" (which I believe is already illegal).
Now Twitter has implemented a new procedure for reporting tweets which has extended people’s concern.

*Bernie Sanders 'Medicare for all' plan could shrink GDP by as much as 24%
Yes there was a study that says so, although the headline leaves out the part where this will happen by 2060…40 years from now! The study also said that Medicare for All would "improve population health overall, increasing life expectancy by roughly two years, grow the population of the United States by 3%, and boost worker productivity. The share of the population that is “seriously ill” would also decline, from 15% to 13%." None of that made the headline. And the real kicker is this: the negative part of the prediction, the 24% shrinkage in GDP, only happens "if the plan is deficit-financed". Which Sanders plan is not! You know what was deficit-financed? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also the tax cuts for the rich. Curiously, the study doesn't predict that that deficit-financing will shrink GDP. And the final kicker which again didn't make the headline? "If financing of Medicare for all were changed (i.e., paid for by taxes on the rich), the plan could “be something that increases GDP"".

*He Waterboarded a Detainee. Then He Had to Get the C.I.A. to Let Him Stop.
Mitchell claims this, and the NYT gives the claim full credibility with its headline. This was for Abu Zubaydah. Seven months later he waterboarded KSM 183 times. So yeah, he really wanted to stop, but he just couldn’t.

*This site pays Americans to write 'news' articles. Signs indicate it originates in Iran
This entire article, as well as bans from FB, Twitter & Google, is all based on FireEye “assessing” with “moderate confidence” that the website originates in Iran. FireEye claims that "indicators, both technical and behavioral" point to American Herald Tribune being linked to an operation run from Iran. As usual, the attacks on the site all center around content that goes against the US “line”. Note the “news” in scare quotes in the headline. The sole example of “disinformation” cited is the claim that Fred Trump was in the KKK. It’s true that’s not a 100% verified fact. But there is strong evidence of it, so it’s hardly disinformation.

Ruben Navarrette: Sanders' record of disrespecting female candidates should not be ignored
Literally the only “evidence” of Sanders disrespecting female candidates in this article is Warren’s disputed claim that Sanders said a woman can’t win, plus Hillary Clinton saying she agrees with Warren, and making claims like this: “It's his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women.” Note that “Bernie Bros” is itself a completely sexist remark which completely erases Sanders’ female supporters and hides the fact that Sanders has more support among women than men.
Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters
Rehashes Clinton’s attacks on Sanders, but, when it comes to actual facts, notes: A recent poll “found that that Sanders received a favorable rating of 77 percent among women in New Hampshire and 69 percent among men.” and “Sanders has also raised more money from women — more than $24 million — than any other 2020 Democratic candidate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His national leadership team includes 70 percent of women, according to his campaign.”

*Portion of US border wall in California falls over in high winds and lands on Mexican side
It’s funny just because it happened, but the funniest part is the “high winds”. 37 mph is not “high winds”!!!
Not as funny but more significant:
Trump’s border wall, vulnerable to flash floods, needs large storm gates left open for months

Progressives warn Warren and Sanders are undermining the movement by fighting
So apparently Sanders should just let slide Warren's claim that he's a sexist who said a woman can't be elected President, and not mention the fact that she's backed away from supporting Medicare for All.

Friday, January 24, 2020


Headlines for Jan. 24, 2020

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 Jan. 24, 2020

*Biden charges Sanders camp ‘doctored video’ to attack him
"Joe Biden accused Bernie Sanders’ campaign Saturday of issuing a “doctored video” to attack him over Social Security, a false claim that ratcheted up the tension between the two campaigns in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses…the video in question…was not doctored."
Even in the article, the word "falsely" should be the third word. Not "Joe Biden accused…" but "Joe Biden falsely accused…". Because the story is precisely that. Not that Biden accused Sanders, but that Biden *falsely* accused Sanders.

*CNN poll: Bernie Sanders surges to join Biden atop Democratic presidential pack
Sanders 27, Biden 24. Accurate headline would be: "Bernie Sanders surges past Biden".

*The real story: OPCW investigator testifies at UN that no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria
*“Mainstream” coverage, UK version: Russia accused of misinformation over claim Syrian chemical attack was faked
Is this better or worse than the total absence of coverage in US mainstream media?
*“Mainstream” coverage, US version: 
Yes, absolutely nothing. Not a word. A United Nations Security Council meeting convened to assess inconsistencies within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report on alleged chemical attacks in Douma, Syria. A former OPCW specialist, Ian Henderson, who was part of the Douma investigation, had his application for a visa denied, but still spoke on video. The meeting received zero coverage in U.S. media. Zero.

*Schiff warns of Russian attack on US mainland, as Day 2 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial concludes
I couldn't even find a reference to Schiff's important but also insane remark in other mainstream sources, much less a headline. Although WaPo https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/15/impeachment-managers-senate-trial/
in an article on "who are the impeachment managers", notes this almost identical quote as Rep. Jason Crow's "big moment": "We help our partner fight Russia over there, so we don’t have to fight Russia here."

And speaking of insane:
*What if Trump Gave Alaska to Putin?
In which Nick Kristof approvingly quotes Alan Dershowitz, who wrote in 2018: “Assume Putin decides to ‘retake’ Alaska, the way he ‘retook’ Crimea. Assume further that a president allows him to do it, because he believed that Russia has a legitimate claim to ‘its’ original territory.” [For the record, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867; Russia has no claim to it, legitimate or otherwise.

As Protests in South America Surged, So Did Russian Trolls on Twitter, U.S. Finds
So much wrong with this. For starters, "finds" in the headline should be "claims"; the article presents only claims by anonymous officials, not actual evidence. In the first few paragraphs, we find references to "Twitter accounts that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia" and "Russia-linked accounts", but note that in the headline, it was just "Russian Trolls", not "Russia-linked trolls" or "Trolls that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia" (not Russian, just "being linked to Russia"). And, although it doesn't figure directly in the headline, the whole thrust of this article, repeated many times, is about "disinformation", e.g., "The Spanish-language arms of two news organizations in Russia have been accused of spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories and, in some cases, outright falsehoods to undermine liberal democratic policies, mostly in the West." But NOT ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of "disinformation, conspiracy theories, or outright falsehoods" is provided, and the last few words of that sentence tell the real story: "to undermine liberal democratic policies". In other words, it wasn't disinformation, but rather information which contradicted the U.S. "line".

Iran Admits Firing 2 Missiles at Jet and Says It’s Studying Effect
Iran confirms two Russian-made missiles hit Ukrainian airliner
There is absolutely no reason for the “Russian-made” in this headline other than to promote hostility towards Russia (and in turn justify the trillion dollar war budget).

Poll: Most Americans want Trump removed from office by Senate
Remember last week's abortion story when 99% of women who say they made the right decision became "most women". Now what is actually "a bare majority" of Americans, 51%, is now also "most Americans".

Friday, January 17, 2020


Headlines for Jan. 17, 2020

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 Jan. 17, 2020

*Warren accused Sanders in tense post-debate exchange of calling her a 'liar' on national TV


*Warren accused Sanders of calling her ‘a liar on national TV’ in their tense confrontation after Tuesday’s debate

*Warren accused Sanders of calling her a liar, recording shows
*Warren Told Sanders After Debate, ‘I Think You Called Me a Liar on National TV’
Subhead: “You called me a liar,” Bernie Sanders responded, as the candidates’ sudden clash injected new uncertainty into the Democratic presidential race.
But if you listen to the video, Sanders also accuses Warren of calling him a liar. Here’s the lead paragraph of the WaPo story: “Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the two leading liberal presidential candidates, accused each other of calling the other a “liar” in an extraordinary exchange caught on a CNN microphone moments after the end of Tuesday’s presidential debate.”
So why does this headline only convey half the story?

*Warren, Sanders spar over claim that a woman can’t win
Nonsense. They both agreed strongly that a woman can win. And there is a subtlety here. If Warren and Sanders really did spar over that claim, obviously Warren thinks a woman can win, since she's running, so implicitly, they're saying that Sanders does claim a woman can't win. Which is a lie.
*Can a Woman Win the Presidency? It’s a Good Question
It’s not a “good question”, it’s a ridiculous question. If we had a system of direct election, a woman would have already won. Even with the system we have, she only lost by tens of thousands of votes in a few states. Get out of here with that “good question”.

Sanders-Warren rift highlights liberal divide: purity versus pragmatism
Really what it highlights is how low Warren will stoop to beat Sanders.

Bernie Sanders’s agenda makes him the definition of unelectable
Jon Cowan is president and Jim Kessler is executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a center-left think tank.
Sanders is a socialist, Medicare for All is toxic, blah, blah. You know what receives nary a mention in this article? Polls that show Sanders beating Trump by the widest margin of any Democrat. Next to last paragraph attempts to explain this: “Sanders is truly an authentic politician. That helps explain why some early national polls show him competitive in a head-to-head race against Trump.” Nonsense. The polls reflect his agenda, not his “authenticity”.

*Pompeo says Soleimani killing part of new strategy to deter U.S. foes
Accurate headline: Pompeo confesses US committed a war crime.
*State Department security officials weren't notified of 'imminent' threats to US embassies
In an article which uses the word "imminent" no less than 15 times, this nugget is buried in the 6th paragraph: "the State Department did not produce the analysis that US embassies in the Middle East faced an imminent threat, the legally required threshold to justify Soleimani's killing." "War crime" or "war criminal"? Not once.
*Trump authorized Soleimani's killing 7 months ago, with conditions
"International law"? "War crime"? Unmentioned.
*If there was no ‘imminent’ attack from Iran, killing Soleimani was illegal
Only mention of "war crime" is in the final paragraph: "And while military officers and others in the chain of command may question or push back on his proposals, they will follow his orders (short of clear war crimes and other patently illegal acts)."
A Narrative Collapses as Trump Tweets: ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’
How about “Administration lies fall apart.”

*The majority of women feel relief, not regret, after an abortion, study says
*Five years after an abortion, most women say they made the right decision
After five years, 99% of these women said having an abortion was the right decision. That 99% statistic is completely omitted in the CNN article.
Proper headline:
*Almost no women regret having abortions 5 years later, according to a landmark study

Trump Sold Voters on Stopping ‘Endless Wars.’ What if a New One Starts?
The good old passive voice. How about as the 2nd sentence: “He just started a new one”?

11 Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump
Trump did say that, of course, but the claim comes from the military, not Trump.

Who is Lev Parnas? Soviet-born operator thrust into Trump impeachment scandal
He was born in Ukraine (admittedly then part of USSR), then moved to the US…WHEN HE WAS THREE!!! But he’s still “Soviet-born” in the headline as if it’s relevant.

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