On Friday, in an interview with ESPN radio host Bill Simmons, statistician and polling guru Nate Silver expressed his low regard for the Washington, DC political gossip sheet, Politico. The publication, headed by former Washington Post scribe Jim VanDehei and Time magazine’s Mike Allen, tries to cover politics “like sports,” said Silver, “but not intelligently at all.”
Another Politico employee, Jonathan Martin tweeted, “Avert your gaze, liberals: Nate Silver admits he’s simply averaging public polls and there is no secret sauce.”
Politico was wrong, Silver was right, improving upon his 2008 record of calling 49 of the 50 state races correctly by calling all 50 in 2012. He told Simmons, “What was remarkable to me is that you had some, like, journalist for Politico, or something who, like, tweeted ‘All Nate’s doing is averaging polls and counting electoral votes? That’s the secret sauce?’ It’s like, well, yeah, and the fact that you can’t comprehend that very basic thing? That says more about you than, than about me, right?”
Simmons remarked that Politico’s attack on Silver seemed “passive aggressive,” that they “couldn’t really figure out a good way” to hit the statistician turned blogger turned election forecaster.
“Politico is — it’s like ‘Who won the day?’ kind of thing, right?” Silver said. “They’re trying to cover it like it’s sports, but not in an intelligent way at all, right? And they want to create noise, basically, right? Their whole thing is, you have to have a lead story about some gaffe that some candidate made on the campaign trail.”
[New York Times' Nate Silver, image via Wikimedia, Creative Commons licensed]
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.