POLITICO Playbook: Facebook news floods the news feeds


STAT OF THE DAY — There’s an 88-point partisan gap in President JOE BIDEN’s approval rating. Among Dems, 92% approve of his performance and 6% disapprove. Among Republicans, 4% approve and 94% disapprove.

That 88-point gulf “ranks among the largest in more than eight decades of Gallup measurements of presidential approval,” writes Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones.

FRIDAY NIGHT NEWS DUMP — A couple of interesting things came across the transom last night, just as most Washingtonians began their weekends:

— A new delay for JFK assassination documents: Shortly before 9:30 p.m., the White House sent out a memo announcing that the long-planned imminent release of a trove of secret files about the 1963 assassination of President JOHN F. KENNEDY will instead come out in two batches — one later this year, and another in 2022. They cited the pandemic’s “significant impact” as the reason why. (This seems destined to feed conspiracy theories.)

— A whole bunch of news about Facebook: It’s odd for several news outlets to release major stories on a Friday evening absent an urgent reason. But that’s what happened with a glut of stories drawn from previously unreported internal documents at the social media behemoth. The highlights:

  • Dissecting the company’s role in spreading election misinformation, NYT’s Ryan Mac and Sheera Frenkel go deep on a trove of documents that reveal the network’s staffers “repeatedly raised red flags about the spread of misinformation and conspiracies before and after the contested November vote,” but that “the company failed or struggled to address the issues.”
  • Political movements that Facebook deems dangerous are increasingly being suppressed on the platform, WSJ’s Jeff Horwitz and Justin Scheck report. But that approach doesn’t sit well with some employees, who see the social media giant “in essence playing whack-a-mole.”
  • The company has long known that its algorithms push some users to extremist views, reports NBC’s Brandy Zadrozny. In a particularly vivid illustration, a Facebook researcher created an account for a fake person who described herself as a conservative, Christian mother from North Carolina interested in Fox News and DONALD TRUMP. Without expressing any interest in conspiracy theories, within two days of her account’s creation, Facebook’s algorithm recommended she join groups dedicated to QAnon. Within one week, her “feed was full of groups and pages that had violated Facebook’s own rules, including those against hate speech and disinformation.”

Good Saturday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

BUILDING ‘BUILD BACK BETTER’ — Dems’ self-imposed, unofficial Friday deadline to settle on a deal for the reconciliation package came and went without any final consensus. But, they appear close to an agreement.

The top read on that: “Dems see a $1 trillion-plus deal within reach — but not until next week,” by Sarah Ferris, Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle

  • Where things stand: “Democrats head into the final week of October with far more clarity from [Sens. JOE MANCHIN and KYRSTEN SINEMA] than they began, giving the party increasing confidence it can land a framework for the bill this month. Talks will spill into the weekend, with both chambers gone until Monday. … Those negotiations, between the White House, Manchin and Sinema, are largely the final hurdles to a deal, according to Democratic sources.”

About those hurdles … Here are some of the essential reads about the key elements still being discussed in reconciliation talks:

— ON DRUG PRICES: “Dems eye slimmed-down drug price deal to advance social spending bill,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein and Heather Caygle

  • Where things stand: “Congressional Democrats are watering down — and may entirely drop — a plan to have the government directly negotiate some Medicare drug prices in order to help clinch a deal on their sweeping social spending package.” That would be “a major blow to progressives on an issue that polls well among voters across the political spectrum.”
  • Key quote: “It’s been eviscerated,” said Rep. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-Texas), who has advocated aggressive controls on drug prices. “At some point you have to ask: Is it worth it to pass it at all if it’s going to be some meaningless thing?”

— ON CLIMATE: “Biden Crafts a Climate Plan B: Tax Credits, Regulation and State Action,” by NYT’s Coral Davenport

  • Where things stand: After losing the centerpiece of its climate plan, the White House now has a three-pronged approach: (1) major tax incentives for wind, solar and other clean energy; (2) new stringent regulations to restrict emissions from power plants and cars; (3) leaning on states to enact “a slew of clean energy laws.” Together, that could be enough to hit Biden’s emissions targets, says JOHN LARSEN, who analyzed the Biden plan for the nonpartisan Rhodium Group, but “everything has to break in the right way.”
  • Further reading: “The Centerpiece of Biden’s Climate Agenda Is All But Dead. So Now What?” by Mother Jones’ Kara Voght

— ON TAXES: “Democrats move to finalize new ‘billionaire’ tax proposal, targeting 700 wealthiest Americans as key source of revenue for spending plan,” by WaPo’s Jeff Stein and Mike DeBonis

  • Where things stand: Earlier this week, it seemed like new taxes on the wealthiest Americans were effectively out of the conversation. But now, an “unexpected compromise appears to be emerging” that would “narrowly tailor tax increases to avoid political blowback,” by focusing on the wealthiest 0.0002% of Americans.

— ON PAID LEAVE: “Paid leave proposal goes through the grinder in spending talks,” by Eleanor Mueller for POLITICO Pro

  • Where things stand: The White House is telling lawmakers it wants to spend $100 billion on paid leave — down from both the $494 billion the House approved and the $225 billion the White House had in its original American Families Plan.

— ON THE CARE ECONOMY: “Reconciliation negotiations test new clout of caregiving advocates,” by Caitlin Oprysko

  • Where things stand: “Behind closed doors, Democrats have agreed to slash the paid leave program in Biden’s social spending proposal. And the fate of child care and home health care funding; an extension of the child tax credit; and universal Pre-K programs remain in limbo as the party’s negotiators struggle to close a spending gap and win the backing of key lawmakers.”

— ON HOUSING: “Pelosi tries to salvage housing aid,” by Katy O’Donnell and Megan Cassella

  • Where things stand: “Democratic lawmakers and White House officials on Friday were considering devoting between $150 billion and $175 billion of the bill to housing, according to three sources familiar with the discussions. While it would be a major cut from the $327 billion that was initially proposed, it’s up from the $100 billion level that was on the table earlier this week.”

BIDEN’S SATURDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ SATURDAY — The VP has nothing on her public schedule.

9 THINGS WE READ THAT STUCK WITH US …

— At least 1.7 million migrants tried to enter the U.S. illegally in the last 12 months — the highest annual number of illegal crossings recorded since at least 1960, per NYT’s Eileen Sullivan and Miriam Jordan.

— Trump has given rise to a new meme stock. Digital World Acquisition Corp., the company partnering with the former president on a new social media platform, is seeing a GameStop-like growth in the value of its shares. On Thursday, its shares rose from less than $10 to $45.50. On Friday, it closed at $94.20 after briefly trading as high as $175, report WSJ’s Amrith Ramkumar and Caitlin Ostroff.

— On Friday, LEV PARNAS, a business associate of RUDY GIULIANI, was found guilty of funneling foreign money into U.S. political campaigns and illegally making donations in the names of others, Josh Gerstein writes.

— In California, marijuana legalization has come with strict regulations — and that has “led most industry operators to close shop, flee the state or sell in the state’s illegal market that approaches $8 billion annually, twice the volume of legal sales,” reports Alexander Nieves.

— House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY “has been selling himself as a singular leader of the party, able to stand up to the unpredictable former president without breaking their bond,” write WaPo’s Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey in a new profile on McCarthy’s tightrope act on all things Trump.

— Justice SONIA SOTOMAYOR issued an impassioned dissent slamming the court’s decision to leave Texas’ abortion ban in place as it plans to hear challenges in November. “I cannot capture the totality of this harm in these pages,” she wrote. “[T]he State (empowered by this Court’s inaction) has so thoroughly chilled the exercise of the right recognized in Roe as to nearly suspend it … The State’s gambit has worked. The impact is catastrophic.”

— Next week, JEFFREY CLARK is expected to become the first Trump official to fully comply with a subpoena for an interview by the Jan. 6 select committee, sources tell CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Ryan Nobles, Paula Reid and Zachary Cohen. The former Trump DOJ official who pushed election lies is expected to testify Friday.

— ERIC ADAMS, NYC’s likely next mayor, is a bit of a shapeshifter and walking contradiction. “He can be, and prefers to be, many things at once, presenting himself as living proof that they are not mutually exclusive,” write NYT’s Matt Flegenheimer, Michael Rothfeld and Jeffery Mays in a new profile. “I’m so many formers,” Adams says, “I’m trying to figure out the current.”

— It’s a literal Champagne problem. If you hope to have bubbly over the holidays or for any other planned celebrations (looking at you, JOSH GOTTHEIMER), you may want to stock up now: Supplies are running low and prices are surging, writes WaPo’s Dave McIntyre.

CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 16 funnies

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Ryan Lizza:

“How Do Bad Cops Stay in Power? Just Look at Miami,” by Marc Caputo for POLITICO Magazine: “‘This is my neighborhood and I run this shit the way I want to,’ police Capt. Javier Ortiz allegedly told a man who wanted to file an Internal Affairs complaint against him.”

“Katie Couric Is Not for Everyone,” by The Cut’s Rebecca Traister: “The legendary anchor has written a wild, unflinching memoir. Does that make her a bad person?”

“Unfreezing the ice age: the truth about humanity’s deep past,” by The Guardian’s David Graeber and David Wengrow: “Archaeological discoveries are shattering scholars’ long-held beliefs about how the earliest humans organised their societies – and hint at possibilities for our own.”

“Fear On Cape Cod As Sharks Hunt Again,” by C.J. Chivers for NYT Magazine: “The apex predator is back along New England’s beaches. What will it take to keep people safe?”

“‘I Don’t Know That I Would Even Call It Meth Anymore,’” by The Atlantic’s Sam Quinones: “Different chemically than it was a decade ago, the drug is creating a wave of severe mental illness and worsening America’s homelessness problem.”

“Inside the Messy Race to Develop a COVID Vaccine,” by Esquire’s Brendan Borrell: “Clashing egos, logistical nightmares, political chaos. This is the exclusive story of how scientists and Washington power players overcame staggering odds to develop a historic shot.”

“The Enumerator: Dispatches from a broken census count,” by Jeremy Miller for Harper’s: “The census’s democratic ideal of counting everyone has always been tempered by the deeply ingrained antidemocratic belief that some of us should count for less.”

OUT AND ABOUT — The National Italian American Foundation held a dinner Friday night at Cafe Milano kicking off its 46th anniversary gala. SPOTTED: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Stanley Greenberg, Gen. Jack Keane, Giancarlo Giorgetti, Italian Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Susan Molinari, Gerald Kunde II, Pat Harrison, Anita McBride and John Calvelli.

— The Meridian International Center held its 53rd annual Meridian Ball on Friday night, where the silent disco party on the dance floor was a big hit. The ball followed a virtual summit and dinners hosted by individual ambassadors earlier in the day. SPOTTED: Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Robin Hickenlooper, Symone Sanders, Steve and Amy Ricchetti, Reps. Young Kim (R-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Stuart and Gwen Holliday, Teresa Carlson and André Pienaar, Jim Acosta

… Abby Phillip, Lee Satterfield and Patrick Steel, Mike Donilon, Julie Mason, Asel Roberts, Daniel Lippman, Sophia Narrett, Steve Clemons, Jim Sciutto, Howard Fineman, Kaitlan Collins, Brian Hook, John McCarthy, Tammy Haddad, Bill McDermott, Nichole Francis Reynolds and the ambassadors from the U.K., the EU, Argentina, Finland, Egypt, Georgia, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Estonia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Pic

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) … Martin Luther King III … former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) … Joanna Miller … POLITICO’s Lauren Morello and Jackie HeinzBrian Ross … The Hill’s Ellen MitchellRachel Shabad of the Labor Department … Ani Chkhikvadze … USAID’s Sally Rey Parkinson … Condé Nast’s Corey WilsonAnne Filipic of the Obama Foundation … Caroline Kitchens of the R Street Institute … Karen Hobert Flynn of Common Cause … Hayden Haynes of Rep. Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) office … Malia Rulon HermanSandy Maisel of Colby College … Simon Rosenberg of New Democrat Network … ACLU’s Vikrum AiyerSanjay Gupta ... Eliza Duckworth of Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D-Mich.) office … Leif Noren of CRC Public Relations … Benjamin HaddadAllison Preiss of the Center for American Progress ... Vanity Fair’s Caleb Ecarma ... Kellyn Blossom … Finsbury Glover Hering’s Peter Benton-SullivanSheena TahilramaniMatthew BarzunKen Feinberg ... Pat Cleary … Insider’s Ryan Barber ... Annika Lichtenbaum ... UNHCR’s Matthew ReynoldsBobby Burchfield Kinsey Casey Moe Vela

THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):

  • “State of the Union”: Speaker Nancy Pelosi … Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen … Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

  • “Meet the Press”: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky … Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Panel: Brendan Buck, Eugene Daniels, María Teresa Kumar and Ayesha Rascoe.

  • “Fox News Sunday”: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) … Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) … CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Panel: Bret Baier, Julie Pace and Juan Williams. Power Player: Edward Luthy.

  • “Face the Nation”: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) … Gita Gopinath … Zalmay Khalilzad … Scott Gottlieb.

  • “The Sunday Show”: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) … Melanie Campbell … Andrew Young … Iowa state Rep. Ross Wilburn … Steve Schmidt.

  • “This Week”: Anthony Fauci. Panel: Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, Jane Coaston and Sarah Isgur. China panel: Steve Ganyard and Bonnie Glaser.

  • “Full Court Press”: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) … Heather Long.

  • “Inside Politics”: Panel: Molly Ball, Seung Min Kim, Amy Walter and Zolan Kanno-Youngs.

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    POLITICO Playbook: Facebook news floods the news feeds POLITICO Playbook: Facebook news floods the news feeds POLITICO Playbook: Facebook news floods the news feeds POLITICO Playbook: Facebook news floods the news feeds