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Trump floods Tuesday headlines with Pittsburgh trip, Axios interview

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. ...

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 10:23 AM
Updated: Oct 31, 2018 10:23 AM

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

With one week until midterm elections in the United States, President Trump is the center of attention. He's about to begin a week jam packed with campaign rallies. But Tuesday was much more somber.

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Trump in Pittsburgh

"Despite calls to stay away, Trump to visit Pittsburgh after massacre" read the WaPo homepage on Tuesday morning, setting a tense tone for the day. But the trip to the synagogue site and a local hospital came and went without much controversy. Trump did not give any public remarks. Local protesters were heard loud and clear. Bloomberg's; Jennifer Jacobs noted on Twitter that Trump did not talk to reporters on Tuesday: "He's following the White House plan -- letting this visit, to mourn for those killed at the synagogue, speak for itself."

Tuesday night's Post headline: "Trump's quiet visit to a grieving Pittsburgh met with hostility."

Trump talks to Axios for HBO series

Tuesday's other big Trump story was an Axios production. Jonathan Swan and Jim VandeHei interviewed POTUS on Monday for the site's four-part series "Axios on HBO," which premieres on Sunday. The first big headline from the interview: "Trump to terminate birthright citizenship."

The story hit before dawn, and the coverage lasted all day long. But Trump's pledge deserved a LOT of skepticism. As the hours went on, more and more skepticism was added to stories and TV segments. Just now the banner on "AC360" read, "Trump makes dubious claim just days before midterms that he'll ban birthright citizenship (he can't)."

→ Kellyanne Conway's husband George co-wrote this WaPo op-ed with Neal Katyal: "Trump's proposal to end birthright citizenship is unconstitutional."

Trump trying to "seize back" the spotlight

On Page One of Wednesday's NYT: "In the last days before a midterm congressional election that will determine the future of his presidency, Mr. Trump seems to be throwing almost anything he can think of against the wall to see what might stick, no matter how untethered from political or legal reality," Peter Baker writes. "Frustrated that other topics — like last week's spate of mail bombs — came to dominate the news, the president has sought to seize back the national stage in the last stretch of the campaign. Ad hoc though they may be, Mr. Trump's red-meat ideas have come to shape the conversation and, he hopes, may galvanize otherwise complacent conservative voters to turn out on Tuesday..."

FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE

-- Donie O'Sullivan emails: This NBC story serves as a good warning to take election rumors and viral videos of "malfunctioning" voting machines with a grain of salt next Tuesday — even if they do have thousands of retweets... (NBC)

-- Clever: CJR and TBWA\Chiat\Day set up a real-life newsstand full of fake headlines to "gauge the responses of New Yorkers" and "draw attention to misinformation..." (CJR)

-- Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation, is joining HuffPost in early 2019 as director of enterprise... (Twitter)

Levitan's message to Lachlan

"'Modern Family' co-creator Steve Levitan has renewed his criticism of Fox News and its parent company amid backlash to the cable channel's coverage following the mass shooting Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh," Variety's Daniel Holloway reported.

Levitan: "By espousing unfounded conspiracy theories and justifying Trump's reprehensible statements and actions, Fox News fuels our country's divisiveness. I sincerely hope Lachlan Murdoch recognizes the damage this is doing and finally brings sound journalistic ethics and standards to his network before more unhinged people are riled up to send bombs and shoot up churches and synagogues."

CONTEXT: Fox produces "Modern Family." Levitan's overall deal with Fox's TV studio expired in July, and he hasn't renewed or signed a deal with another studio yet...

Follow the money, Fox edition

Fox's critics, including some on the right, like Bill Kristol, have been increasingly vocal about calling out the company's management and board.

With that in mind, Forbes reporters Madeline Berg and Lauren Debter made a lot of calls. "Forbes reached out to each of the board members of 21st Century Fox — all except for one are foreign born, immigrants or have immigrant parents — for a comment on the latest controversies, but no one was willing to talk," they say.

A Fox spokesperson did respond by saying, "Many of the FNC and FBN programs regularly push back on the Trump narrative -- and just this morning, the FOX & Friends co-hosts called out Trump for his 'enemy of the people' attacks on the media."

Will advertisers react to this?

As I mentioned last night, the liberal media monitoring group Media Matters has been ratcheting up the pressure on major Fox News advertisers. Here's my full story in case you missed it...

Lowry's take

Brian Lowry emails: I'm coming to this a bit late, but Gabriel Sherman made a really important point about Fox News in his recent VF piece "No One Is In Charge" — namely, that the network's strident tone has a good deal to do with being relatively rudderless since losing Roger Ailes. While Ailes was a committed partisan, he was also a controlling influence who prided himself on being able to wrangle Fox's more eccentric talent. Simply as a practical matter, Ailes would have likely curbed some of the excesses that have taken root, precisely to avoid the PR blowback associated with them...

FOR THE RECORD, PART TWO

-- A huge new funding round: The Athletic has raised $40 million, Sara Fischer reports... (Axios)

-- A new example of the John Oliver effect: "Last Week Tonight" sparked a 2,000% spike in visits to Vote411.org... (The Wrap)

-- "Meghan Markle's close friend and stylist Jessica Mulroney just landed herself a new role as fashion contributor on 'GMA...'" (Page Six)

Facebook's slow-down

Facebook's quarterly revenue and user growth fell short of expectations on Tuesday, Kaya Yurieff reports: "Monthly active users totaled 2.27 billion as of September 30, an increase of 10% year-over-year. Meanwhile, daily active users for the month averaged 1.49 billion — an increase of 9% year-over-year, according to Facebook. Analysts, however, were expecting 2.29 billion monthly users and 1.51 billion daily users. It also was only an incremental increase over the previous quarter..."

STILL: The WSJ's Deepa Seetharaman notes that "the results, in tandem with the guidance from the company, were largely well received by investors, many of whom feared even worse after the company's earnings report in July resulted in a historic collapse of the stock price." $FB is up 3% in after-hours trading...

Read more of Tuesday's Reliable Sources newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

FB is pushing Stories and videos

Yurieff says the company is prioritizing new formats, such as its popular Stories feature. "People want to share in ways that don't stick around permanently," Mark Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. But "Zuckerberg acknowledged that ads in Stories don't make Facebook as much money as ads in News Feed, and revenue growth may be 'slower' during the transition period, which he compared to the shift to mobile from desktop..."

→ Zuck also said that video is growing "dramatically across the ecosystem..."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
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