Politico: 'Vox Not Living Up to the Hype, Explained'

The science is settled. General Electric Vox is now widely recognized as a tedious Web laughingstock.

I could Voxsplain it to you with a whole bunch of annoying and condescending Voxcards but others have already done so including James Taranto last month in the American Spectator. However, while his criticism and that of others might be Voxsplained away by founder Ezra Klein as just having a political axe to grind, now even the liberal Politico has written Vox off as mostly hype and little substance as you can see in the article by Dylan Byers:

Ezra Klein sees “a problem in journalism.” News coverage, he’s said, is as appealing as “spinach.”

But the former Washington Post wunderkind had a way to fix all that: Create Vox.com. By prioritizing explanation and analysis, his site would add the needed “drizzle of olive oil and hint of sea salt,” as Klein described it, to make news interesting — and spinach palatable, if not tasty.

Five months into his project, however, many journalists and news executives find themselves in need of an explanation to help them understand what makes Vox different from other news websites.

For all the talk about reinventing the wheel, they say, Vox has yet to live up to the lofty expectations that were set by its proprietor. Some argue that, far from a radical reinvention of journalism, it's closer to a redeployment of the old models: three parts Wonkblog — the blog he had at The Post, which explained current events and policy debates through charts and data — and one part Wikipedia, with “explainers” on big issues like ISIS and the Ebola outbreak.

Indeed, some say it tastes a lot like spinach.

With all the big news stories this summer — racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Iraq, Ukraine, and Gaza — a site like Vox seemed destined for success. Those stories cry out for explanation, context, perspective. Vox does its best to offer that, and it has seen some promising traffic numbers. But industry sources say the site has yet to demonstrate a novel or innovative approach, much less show that it can be an essential destination for news consumers.


Three parts Wonkblog and one part Wikipedia is about as accurate a description of Vox as I've seen. Plus those annoying cards accompanying the stories taste a lot like spinach. Annoying, condescending spinach. The upside to Vox is that their very arrogance in their attitude about "all you need to know" can produce some great unintentional humor such as this gem:


See? Case closed. Vox has it all figured out. No more you need to know...unless you want to find out more about the bridge between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Left unmentioned by Byers, besides no indication of the many factual errors committed by Vox, is the weird situation in which Vox, which means "voice" in Latin (sorry, no Voxcard at the moment to explain the progression from Latin to English) has no room for a Vox Populi. Fortunately Politico and most blogs do have such a feature in the form of readers comments and here are a few opinions about Vox from the Politico readers:

Vox is like reading a liberal middle-school textbook, that's why it "doesn't live up to the hype" (sucks).

Not to mention, their writing is horrible, their research is abysmal, and their conclusions are predicable, not news. No 'splainin' needed. They created jobs for themselves. Just hope their investors don't actually start, you know, reading it.

Its a run of the mill left wing site, one of dozens. They also don't allow comments because they know the majority of them would be ridicule.

Then check NewsBusters for the latest updates of the many cases of Vox stories that leave themselves wide open for ridicule.

Politico Vox Dylan Byers Ezra Klein

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