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In a whirlwind of White House leaks, prods and announcements leading up to Saturday's 100-day milestone, one unifying characteristic explains everything President Trump is doing. Aides say he is still the dealmaker — pragmatic and practical, rather than ideological.
Axios' Jonathan Swan tells me after a visit to the West Wing yesterday that aides think Trump now understands the system better and how to work it, with the revival of health reform as a shining example of a classic Trump move. His dealmaker roots have surfaced repeatedly this week:
Get smart fast ... "Revival of unpopular health care plan divides GOP," by Axios' David Nather: "They're closer to the goal of fulfilling a campaign promise, but they're about to take a vote that will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as abandoning sick people."
The narrative ... N.Y. Times' striking 5-column (out of 6) lead headline: "TAX OVERHAUL WOULD AID WEALTHIEST."
Ahead of United CEO Oscar Munoz's appearance Tuesday before the House Transportation Committee, the airline today releases a report admitting "four key failures" aboard flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville on April 9, and 10 "significant customer-centric changes" to prevent such an incident from recurring.
Key quote: "We can never apologize enough for what occurred and our initial response that followed."
As part of an effort to "begin to earn back your trust," the 11-page reports cites these failures:
Admitting "[a]ctions speak louder than words," United announces changes that include:
"Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.""Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans": "Later this year, United will introduce a new automated check-in process ... that will gauge a customer's interest in giving up his or her seat on overbooked flights in exchange for compensation.""Reduce the amount of overbooking.""Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a 'no questions asked' policy on lost luggage."What's next: NBC's Lester Holt will have a United "exclusive" in the first half hour of the "Today" show this morning. Disclosure: United is launching an advertising campaign that includes Axios.Editor's Note: This item was updated at 6:31 AM.
In laying off as many as 100 personalities and writers yesterday, ESPN cited "changes in technology and fan behavior," meaning social media and highlight consumption.
Axios' Sara Fischer and Neal Rothschild write that signs point to an eventual newspaper-like revenue collapse for cable as viewers migrate to streaming and social media:
At an unusual classified briefing at the White House for all senators yesterday, the "Trump administration said it is launching an urgent push, combining diplomatic pressure and the threat of military action in a bid to halt North Korea's advancing nuclear-weapons program," the Wall Street Journal reports.
With so much news yesterday, lobbyist Bruce Mehlman wrote me to say: "You may need to go to 11 tomorrow!!"
From a WashPost front-page article by Amy Argetsinger, a Style section editor, "The rise and fall — or maybe rebirth? — of the White House correspondents' dinner":
In 2004, John Fox Sullivan, [then] the publisher of National Journal, ... was on the dais, overlooking some 3,000 guests in the ballroom of the Washington Hilton. So he was just a couple feet away when President George W. Bush strolled onstage to "Hail to the Chief" to join his fellow guests at the head table, including Jay Leno, the entertainer for the night.
Walking behind the table where the guests where standing for him, Bush "takes his right hand and gooses Leno," Sullivan recalled. Leno jumped. "It happened so fast, very few people saw it," he said. Bush took his seat with a huge grin on his face — and Sullivan's been dining out on the story ever since.
After the Twitters erupted with questions and criticism (including comparisons to the Clinton Foundation), the White House said Ivanka Trump will play a limited role in the global fund for women's empowerment that she told me about from Berlin:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren debuts at #1 on the N.Y. Times bestseller list of May 7: "THIS FIGHT IS OUR FIGHT, by Elizabeth Warren. (Metropolitan/ Holt) The Massachusetts senator calls for restored financial regulation, stronger social programs, and renewed investment in education, research and infrastructure."
Instagram announced that it has amassed 700 million monthly active users since launching in 2010, a more than 16% increase in just four months, and a 40% increase in one year, Axios' Sara Fischer writes:
BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith told his staff yesterday about a new slogan for BuzzFeed News, "Reporting to You." His all-hands email makes an implicit contrast with the stentorian marketing of the N.Y. Times and WashPost:
This is a moment when people are more concerned about the state of news than they've ever been. That's inspired some our competitors to launch campaigns that stress that they have earned trust over many decades, and that appeal to people's nostalgia for a simpler media age dominated by trusted gatekeepers. These outlets are doing spectacular work, by the way, and there's nothing wrong with their leaning on well-earned reputations.
But that isn't us. We were born of this very chaotic new ecosystem, and our opportunity is to serve a huge audience through it, not by retreating from it. ... We speak the native language — whether English or Portuguese — of the web, in text and video. ... We are committed to sharing what we know with our audience, from being clear about corrections to sharing documents with our audience, including the famous dossier. ...
We are ... testing some technical features aimed at getting even more feedback from our audience on what they want reporting on.
For the forthcoming issue of the Hollywood Reporter, Lena Dunham, the mastermind behind Girls, interviews Samantha Bee about her upcoming White House Correspondents' dinner special, and more:
Dunham: This is the first election and the first government where we've started holding celebrities accountable for either speaking or not speaking. ... Jenni [Konner, Girls' co-creator] had to point out to me, "You know, the problem isn't female movie stars who didn't talk about Hillary Clinton. You need to f—ing chill out." But I wonder what you think the responsibility of public figures and entertainers is in a moment like this?
Bee: If you have a platform and there's something that you want to say, certainly you should not be ashamed to say it. It's a gift and an opportunity to be able to reach people with your voice. And I don't think that people should be intimidated by their own opinions, and if they want to speak, I don't think that they should be shamed for that. They will be. Of course. It's not what everyone got in this business for.
Dunham: No. Some people just want to dance.