The Corner

Dispatch from the Frontiers of Media Science

For a perfect example of what the New York Times has become, one need look no farther than the Upshot column in this morning’s paper, which quotes an Internet data-analytics firm and a psychology professor (the Times would quote a professor if a Little League game was rained out) to explain why liberal readers prefer liberal news sources and conservatives readers prefer conservative ones. In case you have trouble grasping the concept, the piece is illustrated with half a dozen bar graphs.

Most telling, perhaps, are the particular stories the writer chose as examples: President Trump’s false claims about the attendance at his inauguration, and Kellyanne Conway’s references to a nonexistent Bowling Green massacre. Why did liberals spend more time following these stories than conservatives? The writer suggests “one reason could be that articles by outlets with more liberal readers were more engaging,” then undercuts his argument by quoting a Daily Kos headline that is lackluster even by that site’s low standards.

The actual explanation is obvious: Only a liberal would consider Trump’s exaggerating the size of something, or one of his aides getting a place name wrong, to be news. When Obama was president, we had our fun with “57 states” and “I don’t speak Austrian” and “corpseman,” while liberals shrugged them off. But when your side is in power, you focus on things that actually matter.