Finally: Young liberals ready to explain the news to America

posted at 6:01 pm on March 10, 2014 by Allahpundit

Via John Sexton and Ace, I’m torn. On the one hand, the thought of pompous young Beltway lefties taking it upon themselves to “explain” the news to the unwashed gives me a headache. It’s as if the “wonk” brand didn’t carry a high enough smarter-than-you quotient for them so they decided to ramp up to “explanatory journalism.” They should have named it “Thought Leader” just for laughs. My sense of it after watching the vid is that it’s basically going to be Wonkblog but with more background in each piece and probably lots more charts and graphics. See this post for an extreme example. It’ll be as reliably liberal as ever but it’ll be presented as straightforward exposition; as lefties love to tell themselves, it’s reality that has a liberal bias, not them. (Actual quote from the site: “Our end goal isn’t telling you what just happened, or how we feel about what just happened, it’s making sure you understand what just happened.” Uh huh.) I’m imagining Vox as a complement to Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight site, which is itself launching next Monday. Silver’s site will, I assume, focus on data deep-dives; I think Klein’s site is aimed at a more casual news consumer, who wants to get caught up quickly on a particular story but isn’t necessarily interested in nerding out at length. Trust Ezra, Matt, and company to give you a concise yet scrupulously fair and balanced take. They have no agenda.

On the other hand, you underestimate at your peril a site that’s marketing itself as willing to hand-hold readers who came to a story late or in bits and pieces and hope to learn quickly why everyone else seems to be talking about it. Someone who enjoys a BuzzFeed post with 37 GIFs in it might not sit still for a long Nate Silver data-crunch but they might be willing to devote three minutes to Ezra patiently leading them through an easily digestible Q&A annotated with simple graphs. If you want to bring people around to your side politically, you should aim for the low-information readers; they’re the natural target for “explanatory journalism.” (Ace thinks Vox is going to rely heavily on hyperlinks but I’d be surprised. Low-information readers are the least likely to actually follow the links. What’s the point of linking if you’re “explaining,” after all?) As the site’s fame spreads, it may be that casual news readers start to turn to it as a de facto fact-checker, e.g., “It sure looks like Obama totally cocked up his ‘red line’ on Syria. Please tell me I’m wrong, Vox!” (Don’t worry, they will.) The “impartial” arbiter niche is a powerful one, which is why you’ve seen so many fact-check sites spring up in the past few years. None of them have Ezra’s cachet online, though, and few if any of them are willing to get into detail on policy. Typically they confine themselves to fact-checking a specific statement from a politician, which ends up in tedious true/false/pants-on-fire “grades” or whatever. Vox won’t restrict itself to that, I assume.

Look at it this way. The more successful it is, the more pressure there’ll be to build a right-wing alternative, which means new opportunities for conservative writers. So good luck to them.


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Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Unfortunately you are conflating two separate principles.

Bmore on March 10, 2014 at 7:50 PM

But what does Tim Robbins think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHeVZXuISzo

WhatSlushfund on March 10, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Dang it Lanceman! Meow.

Bmore on March 10, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Why are liberal women always so fugly?

bw222 on March 10, 2014 at 7:38 PM

I’ve explained this many times.

Ugly people, deep down, and sometimes not so deep down, are angry at the world/God/nature, whatever, for making them ugly. It’s easier to place others in misery than it is to figure out how to fix themselves.

There are no ugly women, only lazy ones. It’s far easier to be a girly-boy and hang with a crowd than be a man and step out on your own.

That said, all democrats are ugly humans but not all ugly humans are democrats.

You show me an attractive democrat and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t quite swallow liberalism. Kirsten Powers, for one.

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Unfortunately you are conflating two separate principles.

Bmore on March 10, 2014 at 7:50 PM

No, I’m not.

Rethugicans once stood for conservatism, they can again.

democrats never have, never will. democrats are the party of subjugation. If someone is not inclined to be subjugated, they will ‘educate’ them just enough to be subjugated without knowing.

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Mar 10, 2014 at 6:40 pm thinkingthought

I’m just talking about taking the time to educate voters as a hole.

Bmore

He lost me way back there at “hole” (sic).

Your smarter and more tolerant!

captnjoe on March 10, 2014 at 7:55 PM

No one turns anyone into a Conservative. That has long been the problem with Conservatism.
Bmore on March 10, 2014 at 6:34 PM

I come from an interesting background. My mom was raised a conservative who’s dad was a marine who fought in the Korean War, my father came from a Mexican immigrant family who grew up believing big gov is the solution to our problems as well as big labor unions. So I grew up not really knowing what was the right way. I turned pretty hardcore lefty at the start of college then as I started to surround myself with more and more lefties, reading their literature and listening to their speakers, I just new in my core it was wrong and in many instances down right evil. I changed my ways and my thinking shortly before Bush left office and have only become more libertarian/right wing ever since. The tipping point I think was when I read a few Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore books. What petty, angry, ignorant little orcs those men are. Not to mention the worship of Mumia Abul Jamahl or whatever that low life’s name is. Disgusting that they give that cop killer a platform to spew his leftist drivel.

jawkneemusic on March 10, 2014 at 7:59 PM

visions on March 10, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Well said.

Key West Reader on March 10, 2014 at 8:02 PM

jawkneemusic on March 10, 2014 at 7:59 PM

; )

Bmore on March 10, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Corporate GE news. Awesome

Maybe we can get a Monsanto or Raytheon News Network next.

Real efficient, “explain” the lobbyist opinions right to the viewer.

tetriskid on March 10, 2014 at 8:27 PM

I’d rather tune into DuPont Pioneer.

Murphy9 on March 10, 2014 at 8:37 PM

Reminds me of They Live for some reason…

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 10, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Look at it this way. The more successful it is, the more pressure there’ll be to build a right-wing alternative, which means new opportunities for conservative writers. So good luck to them.

Maybe that should be the actual purpose of the HotGas Green Room.

Myron Falwell on March 10, 2014 at 9:14 PM

As Ezra might say, “Ewwww”….

d1carter on March 10, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Why do liberal men always look anemic?

hawkdriver on March 10, 2014 at 9:32 PM

GE stockholders should pitch a fit over this waste of money on partisan politics.

Adjoran on March 10, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Pajama Boy News Network.

AshleyTKing on March 10, 2014 at 9:37 PM

hawkdriver on March 10, 2014 at 9:32 PM

And in need of a haircut. Now, I like long hair but they always look scruffy and not in a good way.

Cindy Munford on March 10, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Couldn’t watch it…

d1carter on March 10, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Pajama Boy News Network.

AshleyTKing on March 10, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Heh. There are lots of gay/sissy comparisons of the douchebag-left media fems like Klein. But all of the gay guys I know are much more manly than Ezra Pajama Boy.

Jaibones on March 10, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Why are liberal women always so fugly?

bw222 on March 10, 2014 at 7:38 PM

My theory is that the internalization of so much ugly and evil simply begins to manifest itself physically, outwardly. ‘Portrait of Dorian Grey’ type thing.

Midas on March 10, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Look at it this way. The more successful it is, the more pressure there’ll be to build a right-wing alternative, which means new opportunities for conservative writers. So good luck to them

.

Lee Doren’s excellent “HowTheWorldWorks” already does this.

BKennedy on March 10, 2014 at 10:03 PM

I’m kinda getting a vibe that the people in this video really love to hear themselves talk.

The only thing missing was ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ playing in the background…

The Ugly American on March 10, 2014 at 10:24 PM

an easily digestible Q&A annotated with simple graphs

Illustrated catechism?

Axe on March 10, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Our end goal isn’t telling you what just happened, or how we feel about what just happened, it’s making sure you understand what just happened.”

…nothing has changed!

KOOLAID2 on March 10, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Its always a messaging problem with these folks, not their actual message.

Ellis on March 10, 2014 at 10:44 PM

There’s little risk of success here. (See Current TV) And isn’t there anyone out there who’s Better Than Ezra?

MajorKong on March 10, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Well, DUH.

There may be one honest reporter left (that is, she just left the Left) who would be willing to actually explain the news and what it really means.

AesopFan on March 10, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Old person here.
Let’s take another look at this one:

Young person here.

Make fun of the liberals for this at your own peril. People under 25 care about what’s going on in the country, too, and it looks like the Democrats are doing something I was advocating for 6 years ago – educating the dumbest American voters and getting them to join the conservative cause.

Think what you want, but this is going to change the game. In order to be a conservative, you have to be able to wade through the garbage to find the truth, and use rhetoric to get people to believe you.

It’s way easier to create liberals than it is conservatives, and it’s way easier to convince someone to follow your ideology when they are relatively young and can be swayed. It’s much harder and more expensive to convert someone set in their beliefs – it’s usually impossible.

I’m basically at the point where I’ve given up on conservatives giving a damn about obtaining young voters. Republicans are so screwed. It’s going to take a new political party to undo this hole they’ve dug themselves into.

thinkingthought on March 10, 2014 at 6:20 PM

True and true and almost true: harder yes, but not impossible.
Listen to Susana Martinez from New Mexico.
Read neo-neocon. Read David Mamet.

Ronald Reagan started political life as a Democrat.

When reality cuts through the propaganda, and someone figures out that what they believe in their hearts is not what the Dems are producing, they become conservative.
But because of the residual poison in their system (how often do you have to hear “Republicans are evil” before you internalize that as a given?), sometimes they can’t bring themselves to change parties.

Politics is a religion.

I would be glad to start over with two or three or four new parties, and let everyone sort themselves out again.
(More than that becomes unworkable for a country this large, especially in our federal framework.)

AesopFan on March 10, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Sounds like Big Brother.com

Is it going to have the Two Minute Hate for whoever they decide needs the Emmanuel Goldstein treatment.

The best thing would be for those of us on the right to label this site as Big Brother.com

I wonder who is funding it?

schmuck281 on March 11, 2014 at 12:28 AM

thinkingthought on March 10, 2014 at 6:20 PM

I’m also a young person. It’s true, it’s easier to create liberals than conservatives, and the young are easily swayed. It’s also true that many conservatives have given up on reaching the young. My understanding of that is that young people are idiots (largely) and sponges, and they absorb the propaganda of the schools without using discernment to examine the beliefs being taught to them. Thus, they hold many conflicting beliefs and cling to them dogmatically. When I tried to discuss politics with my peers in high school (several years back) the liberals with whom I talked were amazingly obtuse and shockingly rude.

I remember specifically one day at lunch time two of my friends were eating lunch in the same classroom as I was. They obviously didn’t know I was there because I overheard them talking about how they thought Republicans were horrendously stupid. I know that many of their friends identified as Republican (including me, at the time, as opposed to just identifying as conservative), and I know they respected those friends, and respected their intelligence. Our valedictorian was Republican, for heaven’s sake! The contradictory views did not seem to bother my classmates one whit.

This is one of many, many reasons why I’ve given up on young people being reasonable.

I haven’t given up on outreach, though. I figure that if you put the information out there, some of it might get through eventually. Tumblr is the next frontier, and I’m excited about the number of well-spoken young conservatives I’ve seen recently starting up political blogs!

Cheshire_Kat on March 11, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Lean mean hard bodies!

They want their pjs and hot chocolate pronto!

Any softer and they would be on the MOHS scale beneath talc.

Sherman1864 on March 11, 2014 at 7:32 AM

Sounds like this is going to be a reference site for Daily Show viewers who are embarrassed that they didn’t really get what Jon Stewart’s jokes were about but laughed anyway.

Nomas on March 11, 2014 at 7:47 AM

And this is different from the NYT editorial page how exactly? Come on, Brian Williams does this in his sleep.

cosifantutte on March 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM

So what’s this free pub worth to them?

Akzed on March 11, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Sample story explainer. Hey, what is the deal with reactionary haters claiming Dear Leader can’t make his own laws?

Vox: certain fringe elements funded by the Koch Brothers are piloting the Halliburton Hurricane Machine high above the jet stream, causing the polar vortex to divert attention from something called the constitution. You see, children, FDR had the foresight to create a system of government where a person who knows what is best for you, called the President, is chosen by something called the Electoral College, which is a school where the smartest news editors go to receive training in living irony-free lives. According to the constitution, these graduates then select the person to be President who makes them feel the least guilty about living in beautiful homes and driving B Smoov Euro iron while pontificating about inequality. They take tests for this and everything. The President then uses a phone to phone a friend, called a bundler, and after this uses a pen to sign, left handed, laws approved by the bundler, which are also called executive orders. Don’t believe anything else. This is the way it works.

cosifantutte on March 11, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Ezra will be no more successful than Maddow. Moreover, we’re talking about annoyingly pedantic twats that nobody has ever liked socially or professionally. The ability of people such as these to attract new adherents as opposed to merely providing new loci for the already convinced is pretty much zero.

M240H on March 11, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Pajama-Americans.

Punchenko on March 11, 2014 at 9:34 AM

at a more casual news consumer, who wants to get caught up quickly on a particular story but isn’t necessarily interested in nerding out at length

Oh, so USA Today but with more pie charts.

NoVAHockey on March 11, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Don’t you feel indoctrinated smarter though?

Bmore on March 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

I think you were right the first time, lol.

Fallon on March 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM

@Cheshire_Kat

“I’m also a young person. It’s true, it’s easier to create liberals than conservatives, and the young are easily swayed. It’s also true that many conservatives have given up on reaching the young. My understanding of that is that young people are idiots (largely) and sponges, and they absorb the propaganda of the schools without using discernment to examine the beliefs being taught to them. Thus, they hold many conflicting beliefs and cling to them dogmatically. When I tried to discuss politics with my peers in high school (several years back) the liberals with whom I talked were amazingly obtuse and shockingly rude.”

My response: Exactly!

“I remember specifically one day at lunch time two of my friends were eating lunch in the same classroom as I was. They obviously didn’t know I was there because I overheard them talking about how they thought Republicans were horrendously stupid. I know that many of their friends identified as Republican (including me, at the time, as opposed to just identifying as conservative), and I know they respected those friends, and respected their intelligence. Our valedictorian was Republican, for heaven’s sake! The contradictory views did not seem to bother my classmates one whit.”

My response: Their whole life is full of contradictions.

“This is one of many, many reasons why I’ve given up on young people being reasonable.

I haven’t given up on outreach, though. I figure that if you put the information out there, some of it might get through eventually. Tumblr is the next frontier, and I’m excited about the number of well-spoken young conservatives I’ve seen recently starting up political blogs!”

My response: Very encouraging! Fight the good fight! Wish I knew more like you here in Texas. Sadly most of the young guns in Texas are the same.

I’m still looking for the exit though, last one turn out the lights. LOL! But seriously if Hillary is elected I’m checking out. If I have to live in a socialist country/economy I want something pretty to look at. Europe here I come.

TexasJack on March 11, 2014 at 10:21 AM

VOX rhymes with………..

ctmom on March 11, 2014 at 10:21 AM

“There’s no such thing here, as the vegetables of journalism…”

And this gleaming pearl of wisdom courtesy of Ezra “I waaaay overshot my value at the Washington (com)Post, so I’m pimping a lame website now” Klein.

Right, there’s no vegetables in journalism, but Ezra is hoping he finds a whole ton of them in the form of subscribers so he can help them with what to think and believe. Cuz he’s just so darned smart.

Pompous, pseudo-intellectual little douche.

GrassMudHorsey on March 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM

AesopFan on March 10, 2014 at 11:30 PM

My pun referencing a 90s rock band was clearly misunderstood.

MajorKong on March 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

We need another left wing slant on the news like the ocean needs more water. Or Obama needs more incompetence.

Marxism is for dummies on March 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM

You’re too stupid to think, so we’ll tell you what to think!

ButterflyDragon on March 11, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Pravda for the hipster set.

neyney on March 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM

It’s not a bad idea, and organizations that skew conservative should do something similar.

I think there is a need for explanations about the context of an ongoing news story. With Klein, the explanations will favor liberals as much as possible, but that’s a hardly a difference from how the media generally operates.

Mister Mets on March 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Ezra is a smart guy and his team at Wonkblog did do some good fact check style reporting. However, what he was doing was essentially library science style searches of government databases like the Department of Labor, BJS and NCES and selective think tanks. Often looking for “legitimate” sources to support whatever statist narrative they were peddling.

The truth is that a Conservative could do the exact same thing and prove the opposite us government data and think tanks. Actually Fox does a decent job of doing that via their brainroom or whatever they call their research department.

So it’s basically an ideological pursuit cloaked as high tech “journalism.”

AYNBLAND on March 11, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Why does news need to be explained? Are liberals really that stupid? Opps…never mind–rhetorical question.

zoyclem on March 11, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Funniest video I’ve ever seen.

JQA on March 11, 2014 at 11:48 AM

The natural progression after you fall in love with your brain washing.

TerryW on March 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM

In our next episode of Vox and Friends, Walter Mondale gets Stockholm Syndrome after Ezra waterskis over a shark.

cosifantutte on March 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

I’ll listen to a liberal when I can survive on their definition of feelings between two slices of bread.

mixplix on March 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM

They imagine themselves to be like the characters in Real Genius except without the “genius” part.

JQA on March 11, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Hmmm. Reckon I need them like a fish needs a bicycle.
Or something.

Galtian on March 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Rethugicans once stood for conservatism, they can again.

democrats never have, never will. democrats are the party of subjugation. If someone is not inclined to be subjugated, they will ‘educate’ them just enough to be subjugated without knowing.

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Republicans are “Rethugicans”, but Democrats are “democrats”? You suck a s s.

HiJack on March 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Why are liberal women always so fugly?

How delightfully shallow.

Reaps on March 11, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Comment pages: 1 2