Jan 21, 2017

NY Times: we killed Russia/Trump story

AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

Usually the N.Y. Times Public Editor opines, but Liz Spayd broke news yesterday afternoon while the parade was lining up: Times reporters last fall prepared a story delving into evidence of "a covert connection … between Donald Trump and Russian officials trying to influence an American election." But the draft "never saw daylight" because of internal "doubts about the material and with the F.B.I. discouraging publication."

  • Reporting is sure to continue on this part: "The most damning claim was that Trump was aware of Russia's efforts to hack Democratic computers, an allegation with implications of treason. Reporters Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers led the effort, aided by others."
  • Liz's bold conclusion: "I have spoken privately with several journalists involved in the reporting last fall, and I believe a strong case can be made that The Times was too timid in its decisions not to publish the material it had."
  • Executive Editor Dean Baquet, who made the call, claims to have no second thoughts: "We heard about the back-channel communications between the Russians and Trump. … We reported it, and found no evidence that it was true. We wrote everything we knew — and we wrote a lot. Anybody that thinks we sat on stuff is outrageous. It's just false."

Baquet unloads to rival paper: this morning to the Washington Post Baquet said "It was a bad column" that came to a "fairly ridiculous conclusion."

Go deeper

Premier League players launch fund to help U.K. medical workers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Premier League players have launched an initiative called #PlayersTogether, which will funnel part of their salaries to the National Health Service to support the U.K.'s front-line workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: This decision came at the conclusion of a protracted argument between players, clubs and even government officials over who should bear the brunt of lost revenue in the midst of the pandemic.

Go deeperArrow37 mins ago - Sports

GOP sees more hurdles for Trump as coronavirus crisis drags on

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are increasingly concerned not only about President Trump’s daily briefings but also his broader plan to ease the nation out of the virus crisis and back to work. This concern is acute — and spreading. 

Why it matters: Trump can easily address the briefing worries by doing fewer, but the lackluster bounce-back planning is what worries Republicans most. 

Pandemic forces startups to shift gears

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Spaces CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to apply his team's know-how: helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.