Good morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,461 words ... 5 minutes.
Most business reporters didn't see the Great Recession of '08 coming. Political media knew Hillary Clinton would win.
There are legitimate reasons to expect a recession, including economic slowdowns elsewhere, that pesky yield curve and the law of gravity. But there are just as many reasons to let the good times roll a while longer:
There are legitimate reasons to believe Trump will be re-elected, including his base's unshakable devotion. But, in the pre-Trump era, any incumbent with his current math would be treated like a dead man walking:
The bottom line: Reporters, like generals, tend to fight the last war.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam will announce the withdrawal of an extradition bill that triggered months of unrest and threw the Chinese-controlled city into its worst crisis in decades, Reuters reports.
South China Morning Post, the main English-language paper in Hong Kong: "[T]he government is finally acceding to one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city."
Airports were flooded and roads impassable after the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas in recorded history, AP reports:
WashPost: "[Th]e first aerial images of the island of Great Abaco ... showed a pulverized landscape that is little more than a debris field."
At left, volunteers walk through Dorian's wind and rain on a flooded road as they work to rescue families in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Aid info: How you can help survivors.
Yesterday's announcement on guns by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon — no more sales of ammo used in military-style assault rifles — "could prove to be a watershed," the N.Y. Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in his "Dealbook" column:
"Until now, many top executives in corporate America ... refused to acknowledge the roles they could play in curbing the epidemic of gun violence."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
College towns are emerging as economic powerhouses, thanks to their outsized share of the young, highly educated workers who are in such high demand, writes Kim Hart, author of the new weekly newsletter, Axios Cities.
College-centric towns are positioned for 11% employment growth over the next decade by leveraging well-educated worker pools in STEM, health care and creative jobs, according to a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute.
Across the country, parents are demanding proof technology works in schools — and insisting on limits, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription):
Why it matters: "The school devices are undermining parents’ struggle to limit screen time."
Despite polling in the top six of the Democratic primary and getting lavish online attention, Andrew Yang is being treated by the media like a bottom-tier candidate, Axios' Neal Rothschild and Sara Fischer write.
Yang supporters (the #YangGang) complained last week of a #YangMediaBlackout when he was left off on-screen polling graphics.
Between the lines: Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard have also under-indexed in media coverage, relative to their polling positions.
Flashback: This isn't the first time the media has struggled with covering an unconventional candidate. HuffPost famously included news of Donald Trump's candidacy in "entertainment."
The Hollywood Reporter gives Axios AM readers a sneak peek at an interview with Scarlett Johansson that's posting soon:
Johansson has resisted pressure from her politically minded friends to take a wait-and-see attitude to the Democratic primary. "Other Democrats have said to me, 'Oh, it’s really early to back someone,'" Johansson says. "That kind of worries me because it doesn’t feel that early to me. I’m like, 'Really?' It’s disconcerting that there's not a clear candidate at this time."
Johansson says she is supporting Elizabeth Warren. "She feels like someone who is thoughtful and progressive but realistic," Johansson says. "It's not like her campaign is making these crazy, outlandish promises that seem impossible to reach. There’s a strategy there."
She says she'll be involved in the presidential election, whoever faces Donald Trump. ... "If I can help with voter engagement, whether it's doing some sort of PSA campaign or actively trying to involve people in the process of registering and voting. I really believe if people actually did vote, our government would look the way it’s supposed to, but people just don't vote. It baffles me."
Ben & Jerry's has a new flavor highlighting "structural racism and a broken criminal justice system," AP reports: