In today’s political environment, where we have the President of the United States in full attack mode on the media, repeatedly calling them “the enemy of the people”, and “FAKE NEWS”, I thought it would be a worthwhile effort to attempt an examination of various media outlets and the stories they put forth, focusing on the headlines and whether the actual story and/or facts support those headlines. I’ve chosen a number of different media outlets and selected stories from there current offerings. In efforts to sway opinions and garner clicks, we’ve all seen where headlines are becoming more and more sensationalized. The regular(ish) “Keeping Headlines Honest” feature here at TNB will be an ongoing effort to highlight this growing problem.
I have made a conscious effort to attempt to be objective when choosing the stories I am presenting. However, I invite anyone to visit the sites included and explore the stories and headlines and make suggestions for anything blatant that I might have missed, thereby keeping me accountable. Basically, my method was to scan the day’s headlines and look for something that appears to be sensationalized…then analyze the story and facts that either support the headline or not. Finally, I provide a subjective grade (FAKE or Real) for the accuracy of the headline.
Without further ado, let’s begin:
BRENNAN DID ‘DAMAGE’
Ex-CIA director’s anti-Trump comments harmful to intel community, Mullen says
Retired Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states that Brennan’s outspoken critique of President Trump does damage to the intelligence community because it brings politics into it. That said, I believe the headline of this article implies that Mullen was way more critical of Brennan’s actions than he actually was. Mullen further went on to suggest Trump was wrong in revoking Brennan’s security clearance.
However, Mullen added, Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance last week raised significant concerns.FoxNews
“For someone of my age, it brings back the whole concept of the ‘enemies list’ under President Nixon,” Mullen continued. “And even before that, in the 1950s, the McCarthy era — where the administration starts putting together lists of people who don’t agree with them.”
The Headline Grade: FAKE(ish)
While accurate in and of itself, the headline depicts Mullen as essentially vindicating Trump’s actions, while the full story does nothing of the sort.
Trump compares Mueller probe to McCarthyism
This story describes Trump’s tweets where he once again claims that the Mueller investigation is a hoax and a political witch hunt, comparable to Sen. McCarthy’s (R, WI) accusations of a communist invasion of the U.S. government in 1950.
The Headline Grade: Real
This is pretty straightforward…Trump’s tweet directly corroborates the CNN headline and the story fully supports it.
A Desperate John Brennan Starts His Apology Tour
The idea behind this story is that Brennan is now backtracking on his critiques of Trump in a desperate attempt to restore his security clearance.
Now that he’s lost his clearance, Brennan seems to be on an apology tour walking back the bullsh** he’s slung about for months in an effort to show that he’s actually sane and rational. This was his first stop, it is hilarious.RedState
The Headline Grade: FAKE
It’s absurd on it’s face. None of Brennan’s words, actions or anything in this story give credence to the headline’s claim.
Steve Bannon: Firing Comey was ‘a big mistake’
During an interview on MSNBC, Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former campaign CEO and White House Chief Stategist, was asked about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. He answered that he had advised Trump not to fire Comey and that he believed if Comey was left to complete his investigation it would have been wrapped up in a couple of months and Trump would have been cleared. He stated that the firing was “a big mistake” and he knew that it would lead to the appointment of a Special Counsel. He also stated that he only found out about the firing by seeing “it on TV like everybody else”.
The Headline Grade: Real
The headline is 100% accurate to what Bannon states in the video interview.
This story is about the request from a media coalition including CNN, NBC, The New York Times, Politico, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, and Buzzfeed, to obtain access to information about the Manafort trial that is routinely provided for most trials as part of the public record. Information on the jurors names and addresses as well as other sealed court proceedings were requested. including the names and addresses of jurors in court cases has historically and routinely been read into the court records for public access for the purpose of complete transparency and trust in the system. Exceptions are made when reasonable concerns for the safety of the jurors are made clear. The judge in this case, stated such concerns in denying the request from the media coalition.
The headline for this story suggests that CNN (why they single out CNN I’ll leave to the reader’s reasoning) requested the information in order to “dox” (search for and publish private or identifying information about a particular individual on the Internet, typically with malicious intent) the jurors.
CNN has a history of going after private individuals who do things that offend the network’s political sensibilities, like that time one of their reporters threatened to dox a Reddit user unless he (or she) was nicer to the news network. CNN also sent a correspondent earlier this year to an elderly woman’s front lawn to demand she explain herself after reportedly sharing pro-Trump memes on Facebook that were created by a Russian bot factory.The Federalist
The Headline Grade: FAKE
CNN did not request “to dox jurors”, so the headline is false on it’s face. Further, the story provided no credible evidence to support the assertion.