Apocalypse Amazon: How the media feeds a 'first world' doomsday fix

Brazil’s new president has emboldened loggers, but the destruction is far less than in decades past

By Tatiana Prophet
editor@back2facts.com

PLANET EARTH — The headlines and photos of conflagration and destruction crackled across our devices on August 20. Reuters reported:

Amazon burning: Brazil reports record forest fires

”Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have jumped this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research centre INPE, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy.”

Reuters actually ran a correction on the story, qualifying the “record fires” statement with an added “since 2010.” Other articles stated “since record keeping began.” But many sites carried the original story, and in the case of Euro News, the error is still up. So is Emmanuel Macron’s tweet below, which contains a photo from 1999. (Celebrity Jaden Smith shared a photo from 1989).

Media critique: Russia 'targeted' all 50 election systems, Senate intel committee says

By TATIANA PROPHET
editor@backtofacts.com

Sound the alarm, Russia interfered in all 50 state election systems, say Senators from both political parties in the Senate intelligence committee. But the evidence is all redacted. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. You can read the report here.

So the day after Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Intel and Justice committees, and the day that Mitch McConnell has blocked not one, but two election protection bills, this news hits:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has reached a bipartisan report stating that Russia interfered in the 2016 election "in all 50 states." But it's heavily redacted at the request of "the intelligence community," according to The New York Times in their urgent headline:

"Election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, a Senate report said, showing a more far-reaching effort than previously known."

NYT omits: Trump's 'decade in the red' was bad for everyone

By TATIANA PROPHET

Well, The New York Times finally got its Trump tax bombshell — ten years of ‘tax transcripts’ and boy, does it make him look like a loser.

There’s just a small detail: developers in New York City and around the country suffered tremendous losses right in the middle of the relevant time period. But there’s no context to The Times’ report; it focuses squarely on Donald Trump. And what a loser he is. This is not to suggest that Trump made great decisions through that decade; but in his testimony to Congress in November 1991, he discusses making decisions based on one set of rules, and then with the tax cut of 1986, the wealthy whose taxes were slashed had no incentive to invest in real estate, he told the panel (see video below).

Handshake fail? Context reveals the intentions of Poland's first lady (Video)

By TATIANA PROPHET

Agata Kornhauser-Duda, the first lady of Poland, actually shook President Donald Trump's hand first, but did not shake Melania Trump's hand in that sequence, according to raw footage of the Warsaw event. Then one minute later, Mrs. Duda moved to compensate for leaving Mrs. Trump out, and reached over to shake her hand, brushing past President Trump. Right after that, she again shook Donald Trump's hand. So whoever edited the clip that went viral, and upon which Time magazine, Vanity Fair, Mediaite and Metro UK based their stories, had to deceptively cut it short on both ends. That is the very definition of fake news.

Trump handshake fake: Poland's president shuts down 'fake news'

Media outlets breathlessly claim Trump was snubbed before updating their stories

By TATIANA PROPHET

Another trip to Europe, another awkward handshake moment by President Donald Trump, screamed all the headlines on Thursday after he and the first lady landed in Warsaw.

"Watch Donald Trump handshake rejected by Polish first lady in hilariously awkward exchange," read the headline in Newsweek -- yes, Newsweek! It seems the solely online political magazine is trying to be hip with the kids these days.

New York magazine, Huffington Post and CNBC all had various versions of headlines and articles informing us all on this side of the Atlantic that Agata Kornhauser-Duda had snubbed Donald Trump. Some even said Trump was frowning after she went to shake Melania Trump's hand instead.

Vanity Fair intoned in 40-point type: "The First Lady of Poland Smoothly Avoided Shaking Donald Trump's Hand," adding: "With his awkward handshake history, can you blame her?"

Intel chiefs refute reports of pressure to intervene

Rogers and Coats state they were never pressured to act inappropriately, but most media focus on refusal to give details

MEDIA CRITIQUE
By Tatiana Prophet

The burden of proof in the current climate of Washington, D.C., appears to be on those accused by anonymous sources.

"Coats and Rogers refuse to say if Trump asked them to sway Russia probe," wrote Politico.

"Coats, Rogers Refuse to Discuss Trump Requests on Comey, Russia," wrote U.S. News.

"Intelligence Officials Sidestep Senate Questions on Trump and Russia," wrote The New York Times.

Witness the headlines after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers answered questions regarding an anonymously sourced Washington Post article stating that President Donald Trump had contacted them to minimize or lay off the investigation into collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government with respect to the 2016 election.

The bias is unmistakable here. Remember on May 3, when James Comey testified before the same body? He refused to answer literally dozens of questions about investigations into Senator Clinton as well as the Russia investigation. Was that the substantive takeaway from the event? No, it was that Comey had felt "mildly nauseous" that he may have affected the Presidential election. And that was after saying he would make his revelation about the Anthony Weiner laptop, and not about any investigation into Russian interference in the election, all over again.

Trump in Europe: ‘The shove heard round the world’

Viral 'shove' was not at photo op at all

Media Critique
By TATIANA PROPHET

The major media’s biggest takeaway from the European leg of President Donald Trump’s first foreign trip was that he shoved the prime minister of Montenegro to get to the front of the group photo.

Except the only thing is, it wasn't anywhere near a photo op when he shoved, or pushed aside, the prime minister of Montenegro. A review of the raw video reveals that the “shove” took place during an informal tour of the building, well after the group photo. The fact that they are standing next to a background of distinctive steel beams and windows backs this up. At this point, Trump pushed past Dusko Markovic to get closer to Jens Stoltenberg, general secretary of NATO, who was speaking and pointing to the architecture of the new building.

Rod Rosenstein: Anonymous sources conflict with the man himself

By TATIANA PROPHET

Last Wednesday, a day after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the Washington Post published a detailed account of what led to the firing.

"Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey," read the headline.

For four paragraphs, the authors -- Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa, described an agitated and infuriated Trump, who was trying desperately to avoid the worst subject to him: Russia.

In the fourth paragraph, an anonymous source was mentioned. Trump was ready to fire the "sanctimonious" Comey. (Isn't that too big a word for Trump to use?)

"Trump summoned the two of them [Attorney General Jeff Sessions and newly appointed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein] to the White House for a meeting, according to a person close to the White House," stated the article.

The president gave the two Justice Department officials a directive, said the article: to explain in writing the case against Comey.

"The pair quickly fulfilled the boss’s orders, and the next day Trump fired Comey — a breathtaking move that thrust a White House already accustomed to chaos into a new level of tumult, one that has legal as well as political consequences," the four repoters wrote.

Democracy dies in daylight

By TATIANA PROPHET

Democracy dies in darkness. And wars begin in the light of day.

The first sentence is the new motto of the Washington Post. The second, a description of what happened in 2002 when the media relied on anonymous sources in or allied with the U.S. government.

"In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium," wrote Judith Miller and Michael Gordon on September 8, 2002. "American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.”