The Washington Post

From Madonna and Obama to Nicki Minaj and Romney, a handy chart

This should explain the goings-on.

First Nicki Minaj announced in a guest verse that she was “a Republican, voting for Mitt Romney.” In general, “I endorse Mitt Romney” is a soporific phrase you murmur to yourself when counting sheep has failed. Yet somehow this made headlines.

Then Madonna was telling us that we had a black Muslim in the White House. It was all deeply confusing.

But actually, there is a very clear correlation between how noteworthy you are and how much noise you need to make to roil up the headlines. The following chart explains.

Miley Cyrus falls on the far right end of the chart. Madonna’s squarely in the middle. (MSPaint)

People can get attention by doing more sensational things than their position on the scale merits, but not by doing less interesting ones. For instance, if Todd Akin got an unflattering haircut, this would not make headlines.

The Kardashians are in a unique position where they have simply to breathe in order to generate some sort of headline, but it would be equally newsworthy if they stopped.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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