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.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for the end of the weekend. We will see our area filled with plenty of sunshine but clouds will be on the increase into the evening hours. There will be some changes for the start work week in our weather forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
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