The early history of this massive level of subsidy goes back to the Dartmouth Review, where the proposition was pretty straightforward: write for the Review with the goal of outraging liberals and you'll not only get paid by outside funders but they'll look out for you afterwards. That proved a big success in terms of reliably recruiting students, training them in provocation, and connecting them up to media circuits that just kept growing over time. Once the media economy switched over to online publications that were semi-automated or bot-driven, this strategy also provided a pretty reliable source of low-paid interns who did the same thing for right-wing outrage farms as they did for Buzzfeed, etc.--constant scanning for anything from elite selective institutions that could be blown up into short-lived feeding frenzies. Back when those interns were learning their craft, a favorite thing was to read over the MLA program and course catalogs looking for titles that could be called out as silly radical nonsense. The Weekly Standard, which essentially was operating like the College Fix a while back, once picked out a course I taught called The Whole Enchilada, thinking it was about Mexican food, when in fact it was a pretty serious and heavy-reading-load exploration of "universal history" as a concept, with readings that included Genesis, Enlightenment theorists, Oswald Spengler, "big history", etc., so that was a rare case where the cherry-picking was so obviously missing the mark that even a few conservative academic bloggers back in those early days scolded them. We're long past that moment--no one cares whether any of it is remotely accurate any more.

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