Show an ad over header. AMP

Michelle Obama won the Democratic convention

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

No speaker at the Democratic National Convention came close to generating as much online enthusiasm as Michelle Obama, according to NewsWhip data shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: By these measures, the most effective messenger in the Democratic Party is not even a politician.

By the numbers: Among the 100 most viral stories about DNC topics this past week, there were 7.56 million social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) on stories about Michelle Obama's speech.

  • That's 5x more than the estimated total for the next closest person — her husband.
  • Joe Biden, the presidential nominee and the main focus of the convention, came in third.

Between the lines: Many of the best-performing articles around Michelle Obama called for readers to watch or read the full speech, framed neutrally.

  • Other top items were headlined around memorable lines from her speech — "in over his head," "the wrong president for our country," and "it is what it is."
  • On the right, the most traction for stories about her speech came around the Associated Press fact-checking her claim that the Trump administration put kids in cages. (It concluded that while the Trump administration did own the policy of separating families, the reference to "cages" was misleading.)

The details: Barack Obama had the second-most interactions, followed by Biden and then President Trump.

  • Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee and the other subject of praise during the week, was far down on the list, with only one story in the top 100.
  • The data captured all of the social media interactions as of Friday morning — including stories about Biden and Harris's acceptance speeches.
  • For Wednesday and Thursday's articles, NewsWhip's predicted interactions account for where the stories could be expected to wind up, factoring in whether they were gaining or losing traction as of Friday morning.

While left-leaning audiences ate up stories about the Obamas — as well as Republicans who have embraced Biden, like Cindy McCain and John Kasich — conservative audiences fixated on a handful of storylines that would be invisible to many people with liberal feeds.

  • The top storyline was the presence of undocumented immigrants in the convention program — one of whom expressed a desire for health care access.
  • Another top theme on the right was pillorying the 42nd president: "Bill Clinton Lectures Donald Trump About His Conduct In ‘The Oval Office’ During DNC Convention Speech" (Daily Wire) and "Man Who Had Oval Office Affair with Intern Condemns Trump's Use of Oval Office" (Western Journal).
  • Right-wing publications also leaned into videos of caucus meetings at the convention that showed the Pledge of Allegiance being recited without "under God."

U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

The United Kingdom became on Wednesday the first Western country in the world to license the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use.

What they're saying: "Today’s emergency use authorisation in the UK marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19," said Albert Bourla, the chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer, per the Guardian.

  • "This authorisation is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the UK."

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Biden tells NYT he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Conress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

Keep reading... Show less

The walls close in on Trump

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Keep reading... Show less

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump applies extreme pressure on Bill Barr to release so-called Durham Report

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

Keep reading... Show less

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories