For websites meant to help us understand things, the new Explainer Sites—Vox, FiveThirtyEight, et al—are awfully disorienting. We stare them in the face and we cannot quite describe what we are looking at. Are they publications? Some sort of health food? Are they explaining the news to me, or to someone standing behind me? This is the root of the explainer backlash, to whatever extent there is one: The way these confident, assertive sites, in their quest to make us feel smart, end up making us feel like idiots.
Or wait, in true explainer spirit: Maybe we're just looking at them all wrong?