Photo: Jason Reed, Pool / AP

21st Century Fox and News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch reportedly called AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson twice to talk about CNN, sources tell Reuters. One source said Murdoch offered to buy CNN in both conversations, while another said Murdoch has "zero interest" in owning the news network. Antitrust regulators at the Justice Department are currently reviewing a deal for AT&T to acquire CNN's parent company, Time Warner.

Why it matters: Adding CNN to 21st Century Fox's news portfolio makes more sense now knowing that Murdoch was having conversations about selling the entertainment side of his business. CNBC reported earlier this week that 21st Century Fox had been holding talks to sell most of its entertainment assets to Disney and instead focus on growing its domestic news and sports footprint. Time Warner shot down an $80 million buyout offer from 21st Century Fox three years ago.

Go deeper: Stephenson recently shot down rumors that regulators asked him to divest CNN in order to let the merger between AT&T and Time Warner go through. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the DOJ, which was rumored to be leaning toward approving the merger by the year's end, was recently weighing a lawsuit to block the deal.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 33,867,247 — Total deaths: 1,012,341 — Total recoveries: 23,537,059Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 7,229,319 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body.
  5. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  6. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.
Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook removes Trump ads tying refugees to COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook said Wednesday that it was removing a series of ads from President Trump's campaign that linked American acceptance of refugees with increased coronavirus risk, a connection Facebook says is without merit.

Why it matters: The ads were pulled after they received thousands of impressions and are a sign that the Trump campaign continues to test the limits of social media rules on false information.

Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.