Apr 24, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: Facebook expects a fine of up to $5 billion from the FTC, it noted in an earnings report today. Details.

1 big thing: 2020's "woke litmus test"

Photos: Getty Images

The 2020 presidential election's Democratic primaries are breaking new ground for how white politicians talk about race in America.

The big picture: Increasingly frank rhetoric around systemic racism and inequity resembles a "woke litmus test," Democratic strategist Joel Payne told the AP.

White politicians commenting on race, as noted by AP:

  • John Hickenlooper described his "shame" that some white people "kind of looked the other way during these lynching incidents."
  • Beto O'Rourke admitted he “clearly had advantages” as a white man.
  • Elizabeth Warren acknowledged black single mothers struggled more than she did.
  • Tim Ryan said he didn't grow up around many black people.
  • Pete Buttigieg said "any white candidate needs to show a level of consciousness around issues like white privilege.”
  • Kirsten Gillibrand: “I guess I don’t see it that way" when asked whether she'd benefited from white privilege.

Between the lines: "Joe Biden’s presidential bid ... could test whether it’s politically wise for candidates to speak so openly about race," the AP reports.

  • "Although he has positioned himself as a champion of racial equality, the former vice president is expected to wage a campaign aimed at winning back the working-class white voters who swung to Trump in 2016."

Go deeper:

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Water gushes from a pipe into the former Cottbus Nord coal mine near Cottbus, Germany.

  • "The former mine is now being flooded in its entirety to create a lake of 19 square kilometers for recreational use that local government planners hope will become a tourist destination and provide jobs."
  • "The flooding will take several years."
2. What you missed
  1. The World Health Organization says "children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens." Details.
  2. Michael Cohen denied portions of his February guilty plea in a private phone call recorded without his knowledge by actor and comedian Tom Arnold, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
  3. Scoop: Tyson Foods has quietly sold its stake in alternative protein company Beyond Meat, which is expected to go public next week at a valuation north of $1 billion.
  4. Mary Meeker's new VC firm has secured $1.25 billion in commitments for its debut fund.
  5. The Academy has voted to allow streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to be eligible for Academy Award nominations, even if their movies mostly live on the small screen. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

The five most-watched programs on Netflix are re-runs, a potential headache for the streaming giant whose subscribers are demanding content it doesn't own, the WSJ reports.

  • The top 5, by minutes watched in 2018: "The Office"; "Friends"; "Grey's Anatomy"; "NCIS"; "Criminal Minds."

Why it matters: "Three of its biggest programming suppliers ... are entering the streaming-video arena. After licensing content to Netflix for years ... they are looking to take their hit content back to feed their own platforms."

  • "It cost Netflix $100 million to keep reruns of 'Friends' in 2019, roughly three times the fee it had been paying, people familiar with the terms of the deal said. After WarnerMedia launches its streaming service, it can take the sitcom back if it chooses, or offer to share it with Netflix."
  • Go deeper.

Update ... Statement from Netflix: "Looking at overall watch time skews towards titles with many seasons. Most Netflix originals have three or fewer seasons at most. It's why we focus on the individual shows or films members watch, as opposed to how much time they spend on one series versus another."

  • "And if you look at most watched titles, Netflix originals accounted for 10 out of 10 in the last quarter, or 21 out of the top 25."
Mike Allen