Aug 21, 2017

Bannon vs. Murdochs

From left: Steve Bannon, Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch (AP)

The coming war between Steve Bannon and the "globalists" inside the White House promises to be a public spectacle, and a continuing distraction for the Trump administration. But it's Bannon vs. the Murdoch sons that could really define conservatism — or at least conservative media — far beyond the Trump era.

  • We reported this weekend that Bannon, backed by the billionaire Mercers, has dreams of the Fox rival in the video/TV space. It will be unapologetically nationalist, and unapologetically at war with the Republican establishment, globalism and anyone who sides with either.
  • Oh, and Bannon has the added incentive of knowing Rupert Murdoch — executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, the parent of Fox News — pushed for his ouster.
  • Bannon vs. the sons — Lachlan and James, the next-generation leaders — will be even more intriguing. The sons tell anyone who will listen that they fancy themselves globalists who one day would like to steer Fox away from its hard-right roots and sexist, white-men's-club reputation and reality.

They are, by temperament and ideology, the anti-Bannons. As James Murdoch wrote to friends last week in an email condemning the "racist mob" in Charlottesville: "Diverse storytellers, and stories, can make a difference, and that diversity, around the world, is a crucial strength and an animating force in my business."

What to watch for:

  • Can Bannon pry away a Sean Hannity or Lou Dobbs, or lasso Bill O'Reilly?
  • Does Fox crank up the America First dimensions to preempt Bannon?
  • Can Bannon actually run a media company that transcends a small niche of the most nationalistic and pugilistic American conservatives? For all the hype, Breitbart is hardly a serious Fox rival right now.
  • Will Bannon form an alliance with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's largest owner of television stations, with unabashedly conservative management and commentary?

P.S. From a great N.Y. Times tick-tock (Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman) on Bannon's final days:

  • "Bannon was notorious for maintaining his own, shadowy presence within the White House. ... He did not use a computer, preferring to have paper printed and handed to his assistant to stay outside the formal decision-making process."
  • "Bannon ... told [chief of staff John] Kelly that if Mr. Trump delivered a second, more contrite statement it would do him no good, with either the public or the Washington press corps ... 'They're going to say two things: It's too late and it's not enough.'"

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 691,867 — Total deaths: 32,988 — Total recoveries: 146,613.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 125,433 — Total deaths: 2,201 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record, bringing its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Donald Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

Why it matters: Though Trump ruled out the mandatory quarantine later that day, Cuomo said people still called "all night long" asking about the comments and many likely fled the New York area — possibly spreading the virus further.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Fauci suggests death toll could top 100,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Sunday that models suggest COVID-19 will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, reported influxes of cases on Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health