The short version is that Axios is a fed cut-out, literally headquartered in Arlington, that writes super-short "articles" to disseminate Red-Scare and pro-U.S. disinformation.
The long / "open-source" propaganda version is:
What the above doesn't mention is that Mike Allen, co-founder of Axios and its executive editor, is the son of Gary Allen, an infamous John Bircher, antisemite and unhinged Red-Scare propagandist, the sort of garrulous semi-cretin that passes for an aristocrat among the U.S. far right. Gary's son Mike is an obvious asset of the United States federal government. He was hand-picked as the court stenographer to accompany George W. Bush on a "secret" trip to Iraq and puff up that story. Soon after, he weaseled his way into the good graces of the Obama White House as a surprising bipartisan darling among the Washington cocktail set. Allen was also hired to write a recurring feature for Politico, the spooky self-whitewashing product of (also Arlington-based) Allbritton Communications / Capitol News Company, which started off as a southern-fried owner of local TV stations that was cozy with KKK-friendly talk radio and the sort of people who'd always rubbed elbows with Mike Allen's Jew-hating neo-Nazi family.
Politico, you've probably heard of, though maybe not Mike Allen. So you also may not have heard that Allen, future co-founder of Axios and the man behind Politico's "Playbook", was outed by other journalists for running a pay-for-play scheme out of Politico's office, trading favorable coverage of mega-corporations (and their K-Street lobbies) in direct exchange for big money from the advertising departments of the groups Allen "reported" on. Allen and Politico faced zero consequences when this scheme was made public, though it all but destroyed Politico's credibility in the eyes of its peers for a couple years (not that most of Politico's competitors in the U.S. "news" industry cared about peddled influence so much as they did Politico's and Allen's inability to hide the dirty laundry from the eyes of the public, and, eventually, Politico would buy their way out of their fairly-earned bad reputation.)
Axios executive editor Mike Allen remains mysteriously well-connected in Washington, even though he's now all but a pariah in his own (supposed) line of work, journalism. He's actively despised by his peers as a notable slime-ball even for the Washington press, though I'm sure it's in part out of sheer envy. Allen famously lands top-dollar interviews by getting full approval for everything he'll ask from his subjects' publicists beforehand. If the P. R. flacks object, he changes his script to please them, simple as that. This included a sit-down with Bill and Hillary's spawn that produced explicit proof in the form of a written exchange between Chelsea's top office lackey and Allen, emails all about how Allen would be sure to make Chelsea Clinton look good and not surprise her with any real questions.
Again, getting caught red-handed in blatant, high-profile pay-for-play was not allowed to affect Allen's career by the powers that be in Washington, even though managing to be exposed for doing what's Allen done is still considered extremely poor form in their dog-and-pony show. Instead, Allen's career just kept going up, up and up. Whatever Mike Allen has shielding him from harm, it's protected him from embarrassments that would have dumped many of his peers out into the I'm-so-sorry book circuit for a while and replaced them with any one of the gaggle of eager boot-licking lemmings always waiting to assume the position. Gary Allen's kid's uninterrupted good time in Washington serves a peculiar purpose for parties outside the national-press clique, that's what seems likely to me.
A good summation of Mike Allen's suspicious career is the way even the most flattering pre-scandal piece on Allen from the Obama years (the awkwardly-titled "The Man the White House Wakes Up To", from the New York Times' airy-fairy Sunday supplement) still couldn't help but paint Allen as a creepy weirdo. The NYT article's writer was surprised to discover that most of Mike Allen's "friends" had no idea where Allen lived, and, of the few who did, almost none had ever set foot inside his home, which is usually just shy of a mortal sin in the wine-and-cheese pecking order of the Washington news press. The one source who did supposedly visit Allen at home described a rent-to-own-furnished hole in the wall, one that sounds more like "the place Mike Allen took people who wanted to know where he lived" than the primary domicile of a man who was already recognized as among the world's most well-connected and well-paid of faux-journalist courtiers.
Around a decade ago, stories on Allen evinced no obvious close-knit social network to explain how the heir of a famed frothing far-right paranoid became one of the most pseudo-respected professionals among his peers, mostly a bunch of image-conscious, bourgeois-to-petit-bourgeois Democrat "moderates" or their just-as-fastidious Bush-era Republican counterparts. In fact, none of those peers—in a town where who you know is everything—seemed to know much of anything about Mike Allen, beyond that he was already incredibly big-time in Washington for reasons they couldn't explain. But a few years after that Times piece was published, Mike Allen would be revealed as a shameless and mercenary peddler of influence, such an egregious pay-for-play crook that even his fellow Washington-cocktail-party journalists denounced and disowned him. Yet, like outed CIA mouthpiece Ken Dilanian, Allen's tarnished star has just kept on rising in that shitty, slave-built town.
So now Mike Allen, literal offspring of the upper-crust KKK, sits atop his co-creation Axios—a 300-word-"article" autocannon for DoD/CIA/U.S. State propaganda—while Twitter—a de facto public-private bourgeois partnership named in the Congressional record as a necessary tool for destabilizing Washington's rivals abroad—uses its entirely fake "Trending" story promotion to pimp out the most faked-up, fakey-fake propaganda "story" imaginable from Axios.
A writer for Axios China, an explicitly anti-China propaganda outfit, rings up a writer for Fox News, an explicitly anti-China propaganda outfit, and complains about being "censored" by the Red Chinese by way of... Chinese government bureau LinkedIn(??)... That is, the Axios "journalist" was dinged for a personal page on LinkedIn's China-facing mirror site, which, uh, must have been due to trickery by the Chinese government instead of user complaints... because no doubt that reporter and Axios China are otherwise in great demand for further work among the many Chinese people who enjoy Washington-backed attempts to overthrow their government. Then, Twitter invents a "trend" of imaginary people talking about this loser's whine for the purpose of cheap-and-easy China bashing. The propaganda value is obvious, but I suppose these crazy kids also had to "clap back", as they do, at the true mortal sin among the U.S. news press: blocking line-of-sight to a colleague's bullshit resume for even a microsecond.
Wow and whoa, because all these boojy dregs with supposedly ruined careers have hit their second wind as part of an interconnected CIA / bourgeois propaganda machine projected out through Twitter. Amazing! What A Trend!