I Figured It Out, People: An Ageist Epiphany
I work on a rather anachronistic piece of web-based software: we just added support for Internet Explorer 11! Before that, your only option was Internet Explorer running in compatibility mode. Chrome? Firefox? Safari? What are these far-future enigmas?
Because of this, I use Internet Explorer daily, and because I use Internet Explorer for nothing outside of work, I have never changed the homepage, which is set to msn.com by default. So every morning, I see a list of news headlines from the Associated Press at the top of my browser, and I generally click on a few because I do (admittedly casually) follow American politics.
Bizarrely, every single article's comment section is oversaturated with far-right conservatives spewing hackneyed sound bites and reveling in their use of the nickname "Obummer," as if they were the Hierarch of Unfathomable Genius who coined it.
Regardless, I've always been less concerned with the content of these comments than their origin. How did MSN News become such a bastion for the far-right, even while the news articles themselves were originally written by the AP, which, while not entirely free of bias, is certainly better than many other news agencies?
Well, it just kind of came to me this morning. The only people getting their news from MSN are people who have it thrust in their faces because they're on msn.com. And the only reason people end up on msn.com is because they're using Internet Explorer and haven't figured out how or bothered to change their homepage. And who uses Internet Explorer? People who suck at the internet. And who sucks the most at the internet? That's right: OLD PEOPLE. And what are old people? DISPROPORTIONATELY CONSERVATIVE.
Case closed, boys and girls. (I realize I'm probably ten years late to having this dawn on me. Maybe I'm getting old?)