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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

With just weeks to go until Nov. 3, controversies surrounding the media seem to be gobbling up most of country's attention.

Why it matters: In a healthy democracy, the media shouldn't be the story.

Driving the news: Twitter and Facebook became the subject of a censorship controversy Wednesday when both firms took sweeping measures to reduce the spread of a New York Post story containing damaging information about Hunter Biden.

  • Their actions were done in an effort to curb the spread of potentially hacked materials, but Twitter in particular ended up backtracking from the way it handled the censorship.
  • By the end of the day on Thursday, Senate Republicans were vowing to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to explain the platform's decision on curbing the spread of the Post story.

On Wednesday, a flurry of press coverage exploded over internal backlash against NBC for scheduling its town hall with President Trump at the same time that ABC scheduled its town hall with Joe Biden.

  • Stories about the drama at NBC and the president's reaction to the dueling town halls dominated the news cycle Wednesday and much of Thursday morning.

On Thursday, C-SPAN suspended its longtime political editor Steve Scully for lying about being hacked on Twitter.

  • Scully's lie was tied to a public tweet he sent asking former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci: "should I respond to Trump."
  • Scully was supposed to be moderating the second presidential debate Thursday before it was cancelled due to President Trump's refusal to participate.
  • Conservatives said it proved the media's bias against President Trump.

Go deeper

Jan 21, 2021 - Technology

Tech companies worry about becoming targets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech employees are on high alert about their own personal safety as their employers roll out policies to ban or limit the reach of far-right extremists angry over former President Donald Trump's defeat.

Why it matters: As tech companies impose aggressive policies after the Capitol riot, employees will be the target of vitriol from aggrieved people who think tech and the media are conspiring to silence Trump and conservatives more broadly.

New report hits DOJ over lack of police shooting data

Demonstrations followed the shooting of Dijon Kizzee by Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies in 2020. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

A new government accountability report says the Department of Justice failed to consistently publish an annual summary of police excessive force data from 2016 to 2020, as required by federal law.

Why it matters: The data is crucial for the DOJ to monitor excessive force cases, and used to investigate law enforcement agencies with patterns of abuse. The DOJ can pivot off it to pursue court action to force reforms.

11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House will vote Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.