Aug 1, 2017

Pro-Trump media is getting harder to ignore

Mike Cernovich. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Before the tweet left President Trump's fingers, alt-right digital media personality Mike Cernovich had already reported to his 323,000 followers that Reince Priebus was being replaced as chief of staff:

Earlier in the week, Roger Stone, on InfoWars, claimed that John Kelly was under consideration for Priebus's job — two days before the New York Times reported it.

.@infowars Exclusive - @realDonaldTrump considering Homeland Security Sec John Kelly for WH CoS.
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) July 25, 2017

A week prior, Cernovich reported that Priebus was planting hit pieces on new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Days later, Scaramucci went on a vulgar rant claiming Priebus was the source of leaks in an interview with the New Yorker.

This isn't a brand new phenomenon either. In April, Cernovich tweeted: "Breaking news! Possible air strikes by the U.S. in Syria tonight" on the evening that Trump ordered missile strikes against the Syrian regime. Earlier in April, he beat Bloomberg to the story that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice requested the identities of Trump associates included in "incidental" intelligence surveillance.

In February, controversial internet personality Chuck Johnson claimed on GotNews.com that White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh was responsible for leaks to the press. Walsh was ousted the following month, and Breitbart reported that the Johnson story triggered her departure.

The flip side: Cernovich spearheaded the 'Pizzagate' conspiracy theory and claimed that Hillary Clinton had Parkinson's. InfoWars founder Alex Jones claimed that 9/11 and the Sandy Hook shooting were inside jobs and that President Obama was the "the global head of Al-Qaeda." Johnson claims that Obama is gay and incorrectly identified the anonymous woman at the center of Rolling Stone's retracted campus rape story.

Why it matters: These publishers now appear to have White House access. The fake stories make it hard to spot the true news, but for others, the true news gives credibility to the misinformation.

Go deeper

Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Sports