Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats were a wired manifestation of the toxic trajectory of the country's politics, with President Trump and the media blaming each other for the worst terror-by-mail campaign of the post-9/11 era.

The big picture: With President Trump fanning fear ahead of the midterms a dozen days from now, the nation's political discourse is on track to be even hotter and more volatile during the 2020 campaign than it was when he ran the first time. We are playing with fire — and there are piles of dry kindling stacked throughout America and American politics right now. 

Right wingers, led by radio hosts, quickly claimed (without evidence) a conspiracy against them.

  • "On the pro-Trump Internet, ... the once-fringe idea of politically motivated 'false flag' attacks [was pushed] into the mainstream," per the WashPost.

Extreme language can inspire extreme deeds.

  • When Trump calls the media the "enemy of the people," some are bound to take that literally.
  • Why it matters: "The discovery of pipe bombs targeting prominent Democratic politicians and CNN is raising the threat of election-season violence largely unknown in the U.S. — and prompting uncomfortable questions about the consequences of leaders' increasingly vitriolic rhetoric," AP's Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas write.

The WashPost's Dan Balz calls it "a time of the politics of the apocalypse — an all-or-nothing view of the difference between winning and losing an election and of holding power or not holding it. ... This has been on the rise for a long time."

  • Capturing the mood of these times of fury on both wings, the N.Y. Times' lead headline is: "Bombs in Envelopes Jolt A Nation Riven by Vitriol."
  • The WashPost lead: "Bombs targeting Democrats leave U.S. on edge."

At a rally in Wisconsin last night, Trump followed a message of unity with an attack: "The media ... has a responsibility to set a civil tone and stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks."

  • The feeling was mutual. Shortly afterward, the headline on CNN was: "TRUMP ATTACKS MEDIA HOURS AFTER BOMB SENT TO CNN."
  • Fox News' Sean Hannity, with graphics saying "MEDIA BIAS" and "DOUBLE STANDARD," said in his opening monologue: "We have been saying for months that the rhetoric we're seeing, the mobs we're seeing in this country, that everybody needs to calm down ... before someone gets hurt — or worse."

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said in an extraordinary statement for a news executive: "There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media."

  • Sarah Sanders replied on Twitter that Trump "asked Americans 'to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the USA' Yet you chose to attack and divide. America should unite against all political violence."

Be smart: A sad, highly predictable cycle ignites with every new spark: attacks on the media, wild claims of conspiracy, Twitter taunts and tirades, and breathless, endless cable coverage.

  • Spark this much dry kindling, and it’s easy to see this burning into something far worse than mail bombs. 

Go deeper:

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
6 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.