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Fox News continued to deviate from MSNBC and CNN on Tuesday night, downplaying the new NYT report about Comey's memo and Monday's Washington Post report that Trump revealed classified information to Russia. Hosts called the reports "fake," and criticized the journalists for using anonymous sources while pivoting to cover other stories, like the Clinton Foundation, the President's first trip overseas and the conspiracy theory around the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, which was debunked by NBC earlier Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: Fox's coverage may be hurting its ratings, especially amongst younger viewers. MSNBC beat Fox in the coveted 25-54 demographic demo for the first time in seven years last week and both MSNBC and CNN beat Fox in the demo Monday and last Tuesday.

MSNBC rising: MSNBC has been edging in on Fox's lead overall, due in large part to the 9 p.m. hour with Rachel Maddow. But while the network has seen notable gains this past week as White House scandals have escalated, that success is part of a broader trend. Fox ratings have been steadily decreasing over the last three months, while MSNBC's have been rising.

By the hour:

  • In the 8 p.m. hour: Fox host Tucker Carlson discussed the Clinton Foundation, a tax provision in NY targeting Trump and a show cancellation, while Chris Hayes on MSNBC and Anderson Cooper on CNN focused almost exclusively on the Comey memo. At one point, NYC Councilman Corey Johnson told Tucker Carlson on his Trump NYC tax bill segment: "I'm just a lowly city council member. There's bigger news today than this."
  • In the 9 p.m. hour: Fox's Jesse Waters on "The Five" called the Comey revelations a "fake scandal," and Fox's Kim Guilfoyle suggested Comey may have made up the memo, while Rachel Maddow focused almost exclusively on the Comey scandal and CNN aired its exclusive with Sally Yates and focused on the Comey memo.
  • In the 10 p.m. hour: Sean Hannity opened with a graphic reading "Washington Post WRONG AGAIN," and called a CNN coverage of the Washington Post Russia report "fake news." MSNBC continued to nearly exclusively cover the Comey scandal while CNN featured a town hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. John Kasich where the Comey memo was discussed.

Go deeper

Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The U.S. Omicron wave may be peaking, but now COVID deaths are climbing as cases continue to soar in most of the country.

The big picture: Omicron’s stranglehold in the U.S. started about a month ago. Its death toll — while almost certain to be smaller than previous waves of the pandemic — is only now starting to take hold, and deaths will likely continue to rise for several weeks.

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome" that's afflicted American and Canadian diplomats around the world, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.