Tis the season for end-of-year list posts. What better way to ring in the new year than clickable content summarizing 365 days worth of our lives in media, politics, death, and art? Everyone’s doing it, it’s all the rage — and if we’re being honest (all cynicism aside), some of that content is quite enjoyable and readable. Yearly retrospectives around the first of the year are hardly millennial creations, and it is nice to be reminded of some of the more interesting or important events. What’s particularly interesting about these posts though is examining who publishes what, and what angle different publications chose to focus on. In ways, the end-of-year list posts are rather representative of the news outlets themselves, almost amusingly cliché and in line with the stereotypes we’ve come to expect. So as 2014 closes out, we’re going to get a little meta with a list post of some of the most cliché political (and otherwise) list posts out there.
1. Fox News
The well-known, hyper-conservative news outlet kept things consistent with Decmber 29’s list post, “What the Media Got Right and Wrong in 2014.” This is very much in keeping with the usual rhetoric about liberal media inaccuracies — which of course there are — but is ironic given the generally acknowledged reputation Fox has for hyperbole itself. PunditFact gave Fox only 9% truth and 12% mostly truth in reviewing the accuracy of its facts. Which makes their year-end list post that much more ironic as two contributors rated news items from 2014 based on accuracy.
Though the video is rather well-balanced with a speaker for each side of the aisle, even if the host clearly (and predictably) leaned right. Still, the traditional Fox talking points are definitely there, with one contributor stating, “I think one of the big news stories of this year is the mainstream media just moving with talking points handed to them by whatever it is that the establishment … whether it be the CDC or the Democratic party.” And yes, she did reference Sharyl Attkisson.
NPR is no exception to the raging cliché list post, and this is especially clear when listed directly after Fox News. While slightly less colorful in fitting its mold, that is perhaps the point. “Many musical voices went silent in 2014,” reads NPR’s “In Memoriam 2014,” inviting readers to “explore their musical legacies here” before launching into a list post of musicians who died over the past year. Neutral — yes — but there’s a reason Clickhole — the Onion’s version of Buzzfeed — chose to pick on NPR, including the video below:
Even when we get political with “Which World Leader Had the Best and the Worst Year In 2014,” NPR keeps it somewhat dry, listing a number of people, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, but eventually saying “there’s no clear winner here.”
We need not linger too long on BuzzFeed. Their content is self-defining and genre-defining. One could almost say BuzzFeed was the father or mother of the list post, and each article is a stereotype of itself — so it’s hardly surprising they have their own political list posts for 2014, nor is it surprising that some of that content is something less than serious journalism. Yes, even less serious than NPR’s “Best and the Worst Year” article. BuzzFeed has them beat with “38 Filthy Sex Fantasy Confessions About British Politicians,” including No. 4, “I want to get drunk with Nigel Farage then go home and have drunken, passionate, uninhibited sex with him.” 4. Obama Administration
Of course, the general media isn’t the only group of online content distributors to offer up 2014 list posts. The White House media team had its own very special New Year’s slideshow on all the success President Obama saw this year, silhouette of President Obama by the lake at sunset included. “The Year in Review” included immigration, unemployment rates, and pretty much every talking point you’d expect the Administration to hit on.
5. House Speaker John Boehner
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) went social with his end-of-year list post, with “2014 as seen through #instagram photos and videos” on Facebook. There’s actually not much in the way of political cliché to hit on, surprisingly. Most of the photos are of birthday events, or a pretty view of the Washington Monument from his window. There was perhaps more George W. Bush and Laura Bush than you’d expect from anyone other than a Republican, but it is missing a much needed #lawsuit to really complete the picture.
More Politics Cheat Sheet:
- 5 Times Politicians Said Terrible Things in 2014
- 3 Polls on the State of America That Would Have the Grinch Grinning
- 3 Times Colbert’s Political Humor Did Conservatives ‘Proud’
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