Stef W. Kight

The future of Fake News

Noah Berger / AP

Experts are evenly split over whether the problem of fake news will get better or worse in the future, according to a new Pew Research survey of more than 1,100 experts. One thing they tend to agree on: investing in good journalism and teaching the public how to decipher false information is an important part of overcoming the problem.

Why it matters: "There's a sense that there's an arms race between the good and bad in this situation," Lee Raine, one of the lead researchers, told Axios. He pointed out that those who believe that human nature tends to be evil were more skeptical of technology and humans overcoming fake news, while those who are more optimistic about human nature saw technology as a means for enabling the good of humanity.

There were 5 major themes among the answers Pew Research received:

  1. Human beings will always find ways to use technology for their own malicious agendas.
  2. New technology will just present its own, new problems that will have to be resolved and won't solve the fake news dilemma.
  3. Technology will help label, filter or ban fake news, which will alert the public to the danger.
  4. Humans have always rallied to find a solution to problems like this, and they will again.
  5. We need good journalism to be prioritized.
Read quotes from the experts in the full report, here.

Today's Trump Top 5: Kelly wants to keep one thing sacred

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, where we bring you 5 stories to get you smarter for the day ahead. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. Kelly's stunned

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly said today that he did not receive a phone call from President Obama when his son was killed in Afghanistan. "That's not a criticism," Kelly added. He said that he initially advised Trump not to make phone calls to families.

Stunned: Kelly told Trump, "There's nothing you can do to lighten the burden." The president called the four families who lost soldiers in Niger and offered condolences in "the best way he could ... It stuns me" that a member of Congress listened in on that phone call. "I thought at least that's sacred," he said.

More highlights, here.

2. Puerto Rico has a long way to go

Evan Vucci / AP

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló met with President Trump at the White House today to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts on the island, saying "We still need to do a lot for the people of Puerto Rico...It's not over by a long-shot."

Trump lauded the federal response in Puerto Rico, saying he gives the White House a 10/10 rating on its handling of the storm.

More from their meeting, here.

The damage in Puerto Rico by the numbers, here.

3. Budget arguments

Ted S. Warren / AP

Despite President Trump's calls to House Republicans urging them to skip conference and pass the Senate budget, a senior Republican House aide tells Axios, "We expect to go to conference with the Senate early next week. We expect it will be a quick conference."

It's not a done deal yet, though. Axios' Jonathan Swan hears they may take that shortcut to the tax push after all.

More details, here.

4. The industries at risk if Trump pulls out of NAFTA

The United States has a great deal to lose if it drops out of NAFTA, as 26% of U.S. imports come from the two partner nations. Canada and Mexico are its second and third largest trading partners, respectively. The above chart shows the industries that will be hit hardest if President Trump sends a NAFTA withdrawal notice.

The key takeaways, here.

5. Bush speaks out

Seth Wenig / AP

George W. Bush, seeming to take aim at President Trump, expressed grave concerns about the state of U.S. politics in a speech at the Bush Institute:

  • "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication."
  • "Our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children."
Watch the video, here.

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New moves in Senate on criminal justice reform

Photo: Bebeto Matthews / AP

Republican Senators John Cornyn and Mike Lee and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a prison reform bill today, that asks the DOJ to come up with a way to assess inmates' risks of repeat offenses, calls for lower-risk inmates to be placed in less-restrictive environments, expands recidivism-reduction programs and efforts, and asks for a National Criminal Justice Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the prison system.

Why it matters: This bill was first introduced in 2015. It's now back following two other criminal justice reform bills which were re-upped a couple of weeks ago. This announcement also comes one day after a group of law enforcement leaders sent a letter to President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocating for criminal justice reform.


The Hepatitis C epidemic following the opioid crisis

Cases of Hepatitis C have almost tripled in the past few years, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention — an effect of the opioid crisis and the unsanitary use of needles by drug users. There were 2,436 reported cases of the liver disease in 2015, up from 853 cases in 2010.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Why it matters: Hepatitis C can be deadly if not treated, and treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Americans will be paying for the opioid crisis for years to come, with the total tab coming to an estimated $100 billion.

"If we don't cure a significant number of the people who are injecting, in 20 years from now, the hospitals in this part of the world will be flooded with these people with end-stage liver disease, which has no cure," Judith Feinberg, professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, told the Washington Post.

Political solutions: There have been some state and local efforts to establish "syringe exchanges," which offer drug users clean syringes as a way to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C. These controversial programs are now legal in some states like North Carolina, New Hampshire and Vermont, but have recently been shut down in counties in Utah and Indiana.


Today's Trump Top 5: Honoring the fallen — the saga continues

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, where we bring you 5 stories to get you smarter for the day ahead. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. The saga continues

Susan Walsh / AP

  • Sarah Sanders said in today's White House press briefing that Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly is "disgusted and frustrated" by the way his son's death has become politicized. Note: It was Trump who first mentioned Kelly's son.
  • Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) told CNN today that President Trump told the young widow of a U.S. serviceman killed in Niger, "Basically... he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt."
  • President Trump insisted,"I didn't say what that congresswoman said, I didn't say it at all... and I'd like her to make the statement again... I had a very nice conversation with the woman, the wife who sounded like a lovely woman."

2. Mixed signals...

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

At Sarah Sanders' briefing this afternoon, she clarified that President Trump doesn't support the bipartisan Senate health care deal.

But before that... A senior administration official told Axios that everyone is hearing what they want to hear, and nobody knows exactly what Trump wants from hour to hour or where he will land. To some extent, his own advisers are never completely sure.

What Trump has had to say in the past, here.

3. Sessions in the hot seat

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions explicitly denied that he'd been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the federal government's investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election during his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sessions hesitated and hinted that he'd have to clear his answer with Mueller before his denial.

More of what Sessions had to say about his relationships with Russians, here.

4. NFL gets back into politics

Julie Jacobson / AP

NFL Chief Roger Goodell held a press conference Wednesday to address the ongoing political feud that has broken out as a result of players taking a knee during the national anthem:

"We believe everyone should stand for the national anthem, that's an important part of our policy... We have about a half a dozen players that are protesting... We're going to continue to work to try to put that at zero. We're not afraid of the tough conversations. That's what we're having with our players."

More highlights, here.

5. Working weekends

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Mitch McConnell told Senate Republicans yesterday at their lunch that he planned to keep them working more Fridays and weekends, Politico reported.

Why this matters: President Trump has been exasperated by the Senate's glacial progress and it's been a point of contention between him and McConnell. The Senate has a ton of work to get through, and dozens of nominations are banked up.

More, here.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow Axios on Facebook and Twitter for all of your news needs throughout the day, and if you want to read even more Axios, dive into our stream.


Two Chinese men charged with distributing opioids in the U.S.

Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Two Chinese men have been indicted by federal grand juries in Mississippi and North Dakota for allegedly manufacturing fentanyl and other opioids and running a massive drug network in the U.S. Three Americans were also charged for affiliation with the two men. Law enforcement officials were able to intercept thousands of lethal doses worth of acetyl fentanyl. One of the men, Jian Zhang, was also charged with acting in a way that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

Why it matters: The DOJ heralded the indictments as the first ever against Chinese manufacturers of fentanyl, the powerful opioid that killed more than 20,000 Americans last year.


Holder: Trump's stance on crime is "dispiriting"

Photo: Mark J. Terrill / AP

Former Attorney General Eric Holder called the Trump administration's tough-on-crime stances ideologically-driven and "disappointing, dispiriting and dangerous" at an event this morning put on by Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Legislation. The event was coordinated to promote bipartisan efforts for criminal justice reform.

On legislation: Holder said that "Congress should pass the reform efforts they have before them... They should do so quickly" so that the U.S. criminal justice system is designed for the 21st century, not based off of "20th century ideology."

Meanwhile... During the event, the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who is known to be harsh on crime and has already made efforts to reverse criminal justice reform advances, will be testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Law enforcement leaders send letter to Trump, Sessions

Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

Current and former police chiefs and leaders who are members of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration sent a letter to President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions today urging them to "join the bipartisan effort for criminal justice reform, and align its policy agenda with that mission."

Why it matters: President Trump's support of law enforcement has been a key part of his campaign and presidency. Now he'll hear from law enforcement leaders, and even a few Republicans, who want to see reforms that many hard-line conservatives — such as AG Jeff Sessions — oppose.

The letter comes as these leaders gather for an event in D.C. advocating for criminal justice reform alongside former Attorney General Eric Holder, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. Doug Collins.

What they want: Priority to be placed on violent crimes to receive federal funds, Congress to address sentencing reform, more resources to be provided for drug and mental health treatment, more support for local policing and expand programs that help prisoners reintroduce themselves to society. Read the letter, here.

Go deeper: Revived hope for bipartisan criminal justice reform.


Why searches for "iPhone problems" spike near new releases

Every time Apple releases its newest iPhone or OS, there are significant spikes in searches for terms like “iPhone not working," “iPhone slow," and “iPhone problems," according to data from Google Trends.

Data: Google Trends; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it's happening: This has led to a conspiracy theory that has been revived almost every year, claiming that Apple intentionally slows down old phones to entice iPhone users to upgrade to their newest, often more expensive product. But the phenomenon can also be explained by a few other reasons.

  • Older models have to work harder to run everything the newest, superior OS provides, and therefore consume more energy and battery life, Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Creative Strategies, explained to Axios. "In the Android world, it's hard to see that because most phones do not get an upgrade to the latest OS. With Apple it's more obvious because the upgrade rate to the latest OS is very high."
  • Apps are upgraded: "One very important thing to consider is that at the same time of an OS upgrade, application developers upgrade their applications. Therefore at the same time the new OS is indexing for Spotlight, it is updating applications, which temporarily would slow down the phone," Patrick Moorhead, an analyst for Moor Insights Strategy told Axios.
    • He pointed out that this slowness is usually just short-term, which would explain why searches drop back down fairly quickly.
  • Psychology: Most iPhone users are quick to update to the newest OS, and tend to be critical of every included change. This critical mindset might cause some to feel like like their phone is working slower than before at first. This could also explain why the interest spike quickly tapers off after a new release.

Case study: Last week, Futuremark released their own study on the performance and battery life of iPhones shortly after a new OS is announced. Their study found that new iOS's did not have any real effect on any model's GPU and CPU scores, which measure performance levels by running a demanding series of tests.

Bottom line: Nothing has been "proven" here, but there are many logical explanations for why iPhones might not run quite as smoothly after an OS update that don't include Apple maliciously hacking their own products.

Today's Trump Top 5: Fights over honoring the fallen

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, where we bring you 5 stories to get you smarter for the day ahead. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. Trump brings in Kelly...

Evan Vucci / AP

After President Trump essentially goaded reporters into asking the question, a senior White House official told Axios that Chief of Staff John Kelly "did not receive a call" from Barack Obama after his son was killed in Afghanistan. However, Kelly and his wife attended a 2011 White House event for Gold Star families, and sat at Michelle Obama's table

Be smart: Trump is doubling down on his claim that Obama did not call family members of fallen soldiers, which is well outside the bounds of normal political attacks. Now he's bringing his chief of staff into it. Even after all his previous attacks on Obama, this is new territory for Trump.

More of Trump's comments, here.

2. A deal on the ACA

Andrew Harnik / AP

Sen. Lamar Alexander says he and Sen. Patty Murray have reached a deal to fund the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidies in exchange for giving states more regulatory flexibility with the law. Shortly after Alexander announced the deal to reporters, President Trump called it a "good short term solution."

What we're watching: Whether this deal can gather enough support to pass — and if so, how quickly.
What's in the deal, here.

3. Travel ban

Caleb Jones / AP

A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked President Trump's third attempt at implementing a travel ban, which was set to go into effect Wednesday.

What's next: The administration is almost certain to appeal, meaning the revised ban could again reach the U.S. Supreme Court. But for now, the block means the administration cannot deny travelers from six of the eight countries officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide the information the U.S. requested for entry.

More details on the decision, here.

4. Now hiring

Dake Kang / AP

  • Drug Czar: President Trump announced via Twitter this morning that Rep. Tom Marino removed his name from consideration to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  • Fed Chair: President Trump is expected to name his pick to be chairman of the Federal Reserve before leaving on an Asia trip on Nov. 3, Bloomberg reports. The candidates and why it matters, here.

5. Trump takes a plunge on Forbes list

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump's net worth has fallen by $600 million over the past year from $3.7 billion to $3.1 billion, according to Forbes' 400 list ranking the richest people in America. Trump, who last year was ranked as the 156th wealthiest person in the country, now falls to No. 248, tied with Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel and others.

See the top 10, here.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow Axios on Facebook and Twitter for all of your news needs throughout the day, and if you want to read even more Axios, dive into our stream.