At a personal level, I’m curious why Gilbert has taken this approach (I don’t know him). But despite the progress in recent years, the more important question for journalism is why other reporters have not done the same. Political science certainly doesn’t have all the answers, but it can help make reporting smarter. So why is Gilbert such an outlier?

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Brendan Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College. He blogs at and tweets @BrendanNyhan.