Good Sunday morning. Situational awareness: White House aides say Tuesday's State of the Union address will be more Davos Trump (pragmatic, upbeat) and less the "American carnage" populist of the inauguration, per the WashPost's lead story. In the words of an official involved in the drafting, “a speech that resonates with our American values and unites us with patriotism.”
Fake news. Fake followers. And just in time for 2020 campaigns, fake video.
Nick Confessore leads a N.Y. Times team exposé, "The Follower Factory," about how cheap and easy it is to become an "online influencer" by buying followers:
From Confessore & Co.:
Why this problem is getting worse, despite sudden attention from Washington and the platforms:
Be smart: We're inclined to be ever more passive in our media consumption. But technology, tricks and the times demand that we be more active, skeptical and discerning.
The case that life is better than ever ... Philip Galanes, writing a "Table for Three" column that leads today's N.Y. Times' Business section, was joined at Bill Gates’s office just outside Seattle by Steven Pinker, 63, a Harvard psychology professor and author of 10 books.
Bill Gates: "I was stunned by 'Better Angels' because I was coming around to the same view: That 'things getting better' is the greatest story that no one knows."
Steve Wynn resigns as Republican National Committee finance chair:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) "fired his chief of staff Clint Reed late Saturday night after determining that his top staffer violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and subordinates along with threatening to withhold employee benefits," per Miami Herald.
On Nov. 6, at least 46 vacated House seats will be up for grabs — two-thirds of which are now held by Republicans.
President George W. Bush, making a surprise appearance at last night's Alfalfa Club dinner, gave the Crop Report, which introduces new members:
Mike Bloomberg, outgoing president, introduced John Kerry as the next president. Bloomberg's best:
Former Secretary of State John Kerry followed:
Bush 43 (Will Ferrell) returns for "Saturday Night Live" cold open:
Thanks for reading. See you all day in the Axios stream ...