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Working toward the Axel Springer


As a follow-up to his sentiment analysis of media coverage of Biden and Trump, Dana Milbank notes a hell of a “coincidence”:

Whether this is ideological, or because “DEMS IN DISARRAY!” stories drive more clicks than “infrastructure bill passes after bog-standard internal negotiations” stories, is beside the point.

But what really drives me crazy is the constant denials of agency. Afghanistan is a perfect example. That the coverage of Biden’s withdrawal was extremely negative is beyond dispute. But the implicit idea that there was some non-“chaotic” way of ending a nation-building project that is such a disastrous failure that the nominal state collapses even before the troops leave is a choice, and the idea that the “chaos” is the primary responsibility of Biden rather than the architects and extenders of the war who relentlessly lied about how well the nation-building was going is a choice. You can argue that the choice is a correct one if you like — although this is rarely done explicitly for obvious reasons — but you can’t claim that you’re just neutrally reporting “news.”


I concede the point — the negative headlines are probably the reason why empirical analysis reveals a lot of negative headlines.

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