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Media outrages become the story ahead of Election Day

With just weeks to go until Nov. 3, controversies surrounding the media seem to be gobbling up most of country's attention.

Why it matters: In a healthy democracy, the media shouldn't be the story.


Driving the news: Twitter and Facebook became the subject of a censorship controversy Wednesday when both firms took sweeping measures to reduce the spread of a New York Post story containing damaging information about Hunter Biden.

  • Their actions were done in an effort to curb the spread of potentially hacked materials, but Twitter in particular ended up backtracking from the way it handled the censorship.
  • By the end of the day on Thursday, Senate Republicans were vowing to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to explain the platform's decision on curbing the spread of the Post story.

On Wednesday, a flurry of press coverage exploded over internal backlash against NBC for scheduling its town hall with President Trump at the same time that ABC scheduled its town hall with Joe Biden.

  • Stories about the drama at NBC and the president's reaction to the dueling town halls dominated the news cycle Wednesday and much of Thursday morning.

On Thursday, C-SPAN suspended its longtime political editor Steve Scully for lying about being hacked on Twitter.

  • Scully's lie was tied to a public tweet he sent asking former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci: "should I respond to Trump."
  • Scully was supposed to be moderating the second presidential debate Thursday before it was cancelled due to President Trump's refusal to participate.
  • Conservatives said it proved the media's bias against President Trump.

Biden plans to send envoy as Israel and Hamas escalate toward war

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is considering plans to dispatch a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts, five Israeli officials and Western diplomats tell me.

Driving the news: The fighting intensified overnight, with Hamas and other militants firing a second barrage of over 100 rockets toward Tel Aviv and other nearby cities, and Israel continuing its air campaign in the Gaza Strip by destroying high-rise buildings, Hamas facilities and rocket units.

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Swing-voter focus group says ousting Liz Cheney is a mistake

As House Republicans meet to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post for criticizing Donald Trump, swing voters in Axios' latest Engagious/Schlesinger focus groups hold a near-unanimous view that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his caucus are making a mistake.

The big picture: Nine of 14 voters said they could vote for a Republican for U.S. House or Senate races next year. All but one ruled out backing any candidate who clings to the former president's lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

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Employees grapple with re-entry anxiety as jobs call them back

Pandemic-related anxieties are entering a new phaseas more employers start to call vaccinated workers back into their offices.

Why it matters: Some employees simply don't want to go back to the office; some are desperate to. Some are struggling to rearrange their routines yet again; some don't have that flexibility. And everyone — employers and employees alike — is figuring out on the fly how to make it work.

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In photos: Long lines and fuel shortages amid Colonial Pipeline shutdown

Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What's happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week's end following last Friday's ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state of emergency after panic-buying created a fuel shortage.

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Over 100 Republicans threaten to form 3rd party unless GOP breaks from Trump

More than 100 Republicans will sign a letter Thursday threatening to create a third party if the GOP doesn't "break" with former President Trump, Reuters first reported.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Trump's grip on the GOP has gotten stronger since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Republican Party's "allegiance to Trump" as he continues to make false claims about his 2020 election loss has "dismayed" the group, according to Reuters.

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Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy to announce Senate challenge to Marco Rubio

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in early June, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Murphy is a proven fundraiser. Jumping in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.

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GOP senators hoping White House will counteroffer their infrastructure proposal

Top Republican senators are hoping the White House will make some sort of counteroffer to their infrastructure proposal when they meet with President Biden on Thursday, lawmakers and their aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is a sign of how serious the negotiations are, they say. In advance of the meeting, some of the senators are already publicly signaling the areas in which they have flexibility.

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The 2022 Senate races that will determine control of the chamber

Data: Axios Research, Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

While Republicans are giddy about their chances for regaining the House next year, GOP prospects for taking the Senate remain more uncertain, data reviewed by Axios suggests.

By the numbers: At least five Republican senators are retiring after the midterms, and four of their seats are in battleground states. That makes a simple Republican-for-Republican election exchange all the more difficult.

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