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Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) urged his colleagues Wednesday to speak out against President Trump's attacks on the free press, driving home how damaging the relationship between Trump and the truth is to American democracy:

"No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not ... When a figure in power reflexively calls any figure that doesn't suit him 'fake news,' it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press."

Flashback: Flake's plea is reminiscent of his emotional Senate retirement speech in October, where he condemned the "flagrant disregard of truth and decency" in politics today.

Key quotes:

  • "The enemy of the people,’ was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously used by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies."
  • "Despotism is the enemy of the people, a free press is the despot's enemy."
  • "We are in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself."
  • Flake also pointed to other countries whose authoritarian governments demonize their own press to get away with human rights abuses.

Go deeper

Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery. But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.

2 hours ago - Health

Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine

Photo illustration by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna announced that it plans to file with the FDA Monday for an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine, which the company said has an efficacy rate of 94.1%.

Why it matters: Moderna will become the second company to file for a vaccine EUA after Pfizer did the same earlier this month, potentially paving the way for the U.S. to have two COVID-19 vaccines in distribution by the end of the year. The company said its vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate against severe COVID cases.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.