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Photo: broadcastertr via Getty Images

Many media organizations that eagerly trumpeted coverage of the hacked Democratic campaign files in 2016 have made little or no effort to strategize for 2020 about how to handle document leaks by malicious nations trying to meddle in the election, according to a CNN report.

Why it matters: As politicians and parties steel their defenses for 2020, it's important for the media to do the same.

Details: CNN asked around newsrooms and found little in the way of distinct plans for a 2020 document leak like WikiLeaks in 2020.

Shot: On the one hand, journalists want to avoid serving as conduits for propagandists trying to influence an electoral outcome. On the other hand, media organizations have a reflex — and, some would argue, an obligation — to report information that's actually newsworthy regardless of the source.

Chaser: And, on a third hand, the media did an awful job differentiating between the few newsworthy emails in the WikiLeaks document trove and ones with, say, risotto recipes.

Between the lines: This isn't just a 2020 issue. After Russia's successes in 2016, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates used leaked emails and the U.S. press to wage a proxy war.

  • Readers, and journalists too, have a tendency to overestimate how important leaked files are — there's an incorrect belief that files don't get leaked unless they are important (see: risotto).

Yes, but: The press is still tangibly better equipped for 2020 than it was for 2016.

  • The 2016 hacking effort caught the press off-guard — it seemed far fetched to some, and was covered more as a political news story than a national security one.
  • Since the story got treated as a political issue, explaining the evidence about the DNC hack on news shows got left to people like Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook rather than cybersecurity specialists.
  • Over the course of 2016 story, the focus shifted to national security. Networks like NBC and CNN have invested in cybersecurity reporters.

My thought bubble: I was involved in some 2016 leaks myself.

  • The Hill didn't have a policy, and while I think we did a good job of emphasizing that Russia was the likely leaker of Guccifer 2.0 documents and why specific documents were leaked to us, I've never been entirely sure I did the right thing.

Go deeper: For hacked campaigns, 2020 might as well be 2016

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.