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Image courtesy of Mark Jablonowski/DSPolitical

A digital ad targeting group for Democrats, DSPolitical, is launching a tool called Antidote to help candidates and organizations fight back against fake news.

Why it matters: We're just now learning the extent of how prevalent fake news was during the 2016 election. And there's really not yet an effective way to combat it, even though it's not showing any signs of stopping ahead of the 2018 election, spreading from social media to news websites to videos.

How it works: Antidote currently has a database of thousands of websites, including Breitbart, that publish fake news, said DSPolitical Managing Partner Mark Jablonowski. They're using both manual reviews of websites and machine learning to add to or remove sites from that list.

  • They're then able to identify users who visit fake news websites online and compare notes with DSPolitical's voter data to target persuadable voters (independents and some Republicans.)
  • Wherever the user goes online, Antidote will serve "correct the record messaging" to those who have been exposed to misleading information who "maybe don’t understand that it’s a fake news site," Jablonowski said.
  • The ad messaging is up to the client buying the ad (think: a political candidate or group supporting a political candidate,) but it'll be similar to a fact check of a misleading claim published elsewhere online.

Bottom line: "This is an issue that’s not going away," Jablonowski told Axios. "We’re providing a small tool for small part of the issue, but any little bit helps."

Go deeper

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.