🎂 Happy Friday! President-elect Biden turns 78 today.
- Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,177 words ... 4½ minutes.
🎂 Happy Friday! President-elect Biden turns 78 today.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
All of us — and the media, in particular — need some clear-eyed, humble self-reflection as the dust settles on the 2020 election results.
The media remains fairly clueless about the America that exists outside of the big cities, where most political writers and editors live. The coverage missed badly the surge in Trump voters in places obvious (rural America) and less obvious (Hispanic-heavy border towns in Texas).
The media (and many Democrats) are fairly clueless about the needs, wants and trends of Hispanic voters. Top Latinos warned about overlooking and misreading the fastest-growing population in America — but most didn’t listen. Hispanics will shape huge chunks of America’s political future, so a course correction is in order.
The polls too often sucked. Stop justifying or spinning the reality that public and private polls blew it in too many places, from Wisconsin to individual House races. Yes, some were better than others, but many were off by a very distorting margin.
The media filter bubble is getting worse, not better. Look at what’s unfolding in real-time: Trump supporters feel like Fox News isn’t pro-Trump enough, while reporters and columnists bolted the N.Y. Times, Vox Media and others because they were not "woke" enough. This is an urgent sign that we are collectively losing the battle for truth and open debate.
Twitter is a mass-reality-distortion field for liberals and reporters. The group-think and liberal high-fiving was as bad as ever and continues to be a massive trap and distraction for journalists.
Facebook is a mass-reality-distortion field for conservatives. Look at the content pages that get the most daily interaction (shares, likes, etc.) and it's all right-wing catnip. It’s not all fake or conspiratorial, but a lot of it sure is. This is a huge problem.
The bottom line: We're losing the war for truth. There's no bigger crisis for media, politics and society than the growing number of people who don't believe facts and verifiable figures. If we don't collectively solve this, we are all screwed.
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Most of President Trump's closest advisers have completely distanced themselves from his legal effort and are avoiding his lawyers to avoid being swept into their courtroom dramas, Axios' Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan report.
The true believers are Giuliani and his sidekicks — Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell — and not many others. Even Jared and Ivanka think this is going nowhere, people who've spoken to them told Axios.
Top Trump campaign officials tell Axios the legal team's biggest problem is that it doesn't have a clear strategy.
One person who recently met with Trump at the White House said the president is still fired up about the possibility of fraud, and is hanging onto any sliver of hope he could win.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Election and coronavirus misinformation are bound to go into overdrive as President-elect Biden starts enacting his agenda, Axios tech editor Kyle Daly writes.
A big problem Biden will face will be disinformation that discourages people from getting a coronavirus vaccine once one arrives.
More than two weeks after Election Day, The Associated Press declared President-elect Biden the winner in Georgia, with a 0.3% lead. AP's explainer:
The big picture: Georgia voters hadn't swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by five points.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
School districts nationwide are facing a worsening teacher shortage because of the coronavirus, further complicating the tough decisions about whether to have in-person classes, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
The risk of infection has also triggered some early retirements and sick-outs.
Samantha Power — Harvard Kennedy School professor and U.S. ambassador to the UN under President Obama — writes in the January issue of Foreign Affairs that President-elect Biden should "pursue foreign policy initiatives that can quickly highlight the return of American expertise and competence":
Three areas ripe for such leadership are: ... spearheading global COVID-19 vaccine distribution, ramping up educational opportunities in the United States for foreign students, and waging a high-profile fight against corruption at home and abroad.
Hat tip: Courtenay Brown and Axios Markets.
Happier days: Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Steven Mnuchin greet each other after House testimony on June 30. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was one of the heroes of the coronavirus crisis, working with Fed Chair Jay Powell to give the central bank the ammunition to fight the virus-provoked recession. Now, he's trying to take that ammunition away, Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon writes.
Why it matters: If Mnuchin were successful, he'd effectively disarm the Fed, creating a lot more economic downside for Biden.
🥊 The Fed, which had taken pains to appear on the same page as Treasury, put out a stunning statement saying it "would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy."
Keep reading for "how it works."
Spotted at the giant panda protection and research center in Aba, Sichuan, China.
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