At highbrow publications, Goldberg said, once-respectable writers have abandoned their ideological convictions in favor of an incoherent Trumpism. “People are groping in the dark to find something to hold on to that reconciles their intellectual self-regard with their support for Donald Trump, and for just generalized meanness,” he told me. More populist outlets, meanwhile, have all but dropped the pretense of practicing factual journalism. “At places like Breitbart and further off into the swamplands,” Goldberg said, “you can literally just make stuff up as long as it makes people angry enough to click on it.” (A spokesperson for Breitbart responded by email: “lol.”)

French attributes the dearth of serious reporting on the right in part to the “towering presence” of Fox News. “You have one institution that is so incredibly potent as a validator of conservative personalities, and as a pathway to personal prosperity,” he told me. The success of Fox’s primetime model—grievance over substance, shouting over scoops—has shaped a generation of conservative media. And even those who disagree with the network’s approach hesitate to speak up for careerist reasons, French said: “People on the right are very wary of how they evaluate Fox.” (That’s not to say The Dispatch is boycotting the channel; Goldberg and Hayes are both Fox News contributors.)