Axios Watch: The Most Biased And Inane Items Of The Week


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Will Ricciardella Social Media Strategist and Politics Writer
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The Daily Caller News Foundation compiled a list of examples exposing bias in Mike Allen’s Axios daily email newsletter that briefs subscribers on the news of the day.

From criticizing President Donald Trump for defending his own son and claiming he has a “self-jeopardizing gene,” to quoting multiple Italian mafia references about his family, Allen did not disappoint.

Below is a list of the most egregious examples from the past week:

1. Well, Don Jr. is his son, so … Also, if  having a “self-jeopardizing gene” is the key to becoming a real estate mogul and billionaire, then I want one too. 

The problem is the President doesn’t want to be protected: He has resisted earlier efforts to insulate him from potential landmines, including defending Don Jr.

Scoop: Look for Don Jr. to retain new advisers soon.

Be smart: Trump has carried a self-jeopardizing gene that’s perplexed partners throughout his career. If Cobb can provide a clear path, it’ll take pressure off Trump from thinking he has to do it all himself — which is when he gets in trouble.

2. Is this blurb supporting or admonishing Donald Trump as a states’ rights president, decreasing the size of the federal government? I honestly can’t tell. 

P.S. N.Y. Times front page, “Governors See A Trump Void And Go Global,” by Alex Burns: “Leadership at the state level has taken on an increasingly global dimension, as governors assert themselves in areas where they view Mr. Trump as abandoning the typical priorities of the federal government.”

3. A bill called the Affordable Care Act has made care less affordable. Success!

The one thing Trump doesn’t want to own

“Let Obamacare fail, it will be a lot easier,” Trump said yesterday. “And I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”

A few things to note:

It’s not failing. It’s not smooth sailing, either, but it’s not failing. There are parts of the country in which no insurance plans are available. That is, obviously, bad news for the ACA, and for consumers. But those isolated problems are not dragging down the whole system. On balance, it’s working.

4. Why it’s odd: If Don Jr. intended to collude with the Russians, why have eight people tag along? 

CNN: “The … meeting … included at least eight people.”

Why it matters: That means more non-Trump people for Mueller to go after to find out what happened in the room.

5. Who is Donald Trump: Micheal or Don Vito Corleone?

New Yorker Editor David Remnick in next week’s issue, “Trump Family Values”: “Social-media wags delighted in reviving the Trump-as-Corleone family meme and compared Donald, Jr., to Fredo, the most hapless of the Corleone progeny. This was unfair to Fredo.”

6. Isn’t this the same network that saw three people resign for a bogus article about the president, as well as having employees caught on camera calling the Russia probe a “nothing burger?”

For CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and his network, “the circus is already having dangerous consequences,” according to Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison:

“Trump is good at one thing: throwing people off their game. His war with the media has kept him afloat politically while he and his family have been dogged by increasingly damaging information about their connections to Russia. …

“He rewards surrogates, such as [Dr. Seb] Gorka and [Kellyanne] Conway, who denigrate CNN on its own airways, even as the network pays other Trump surrogates, such as Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany, to defend the administration’s talking points.”

7. Again, with the New York Italian mafia connections. Corleones, Sopranos … Who’s next? 

In excerpts posted by The TimesTrump makes comments about special counsel Bob Mueller that are at least a warning, and were taken by some commentators as a “Sopranos”-style threat:

Trump: “I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.” …

Times: “[I]f Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line? … Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?”

Trump: “I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia.” …

Times: “But if he was outside that lane, would that mean he’d have to go?” …

Trump: “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company. … I have no income from Russia. I don’t do business with Russia.”

Times: “Would you fire Mueller if he went outside of certain parameters of what his charge is?”

Trump: “I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

8. In Donald Trump’s six-month report card, he almost got one good grade. Almost. Brace yourselves, this is a long one.

In our 100 days report card back in April, Jim VandeHei and I noted that one of Trump’s “misses” was: “Little personal growth in office” — a loose style and resistance to structure that leaves White House aides insecure, and created internal inefficiencies and blind spots.

As Trump approaches the six-month mark on Thursday (Day 182, with 1,280 till the next Inauguration Day), that factor is still hampering his presidency, one-eighth of the way into this term.

We asked several top Trump-watchers what has surprised them most about the first six months. Chris Wallace, anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” writes:

“What’s been most surprising to me is how little Trump has changed as President. He has the same strengths and the same weaknesses he’s always had. Washington certainly hasn’t bent to his will. And he hasn’t bent to the ways of Washington.”

Other surprises:

Maureen Dowd“I marvel at Donald Trump’s talent for cliffhangers. It rivals that of Dickens. Except that Trump’s daily dramas are invariably self-destructive — legislatively, politically, legally and grammatically. It’s not that easy to be in the center of a special counsel probe within six months of taking office. It took Nixon until his second term. (And this is the only time you will ever hear Trump compared to Dickens. After all, it is the worst of times and … it is the worst of times.)”

Michael Wolff, author and columnist: “That, in the face of the onslaught, he seems to be enjoying himself as much as he is.”

Maggie Haberman:“I’m most surprised he hasn’t set foot in NYC since mid-January.”

NBC’s Chuck Todd“I guess I’m surprised he didn’t make more of an effort to develop a personal relationship with Schumer and Pelosi. Culturally, he’s more familiar with them and knew the two of them more superficially than any of the GOP leaders. I didn’t expect much of a Democratic outreach, but I thought he’d attempt a little wining and dining of those two, simply because he had that earlier connection back when he was a donor.”

ABC’s Jon Karlwho covered Trump in New York: “That he has held only one real press conference, and has never set foot in the White House briefing room. … And that he has done so few interviews outside of Fox News. … This is the candidate who loved engaging the press so much that he turned his primary victory nights into press conferences, which we’ve never seen before.”

Josh Greenof Bloomberg Businessweek, author of “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency” (out tomorrow): “What’s surprised me most is how quickly Trump abandoned the working-class coalition that won him the GOP nomination. … Had he pursued something like infrastructure instead [of health], he might’ve built a bipartisan populist coalition and tied pro-labor Democrats in knots.”

Ben Smith, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief: “That he’s been so bad at the game of buying reporters’ favor with access.”

Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax: “Someday historians will join me in looking back in awe at how Donald Trump wielded the power of the ‘bully pulpit’ like no other president … [f]rom unscripted press avails to thunderous tweets.”

Noah Shachtmanexecutive editor of The Daily Beast: “I guess I’m most surprised that people thought a 70-year-old, self-employed man would remake himself once he got to Washington.”

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