‘It’s Clear You Haven’t Put Much Effort Into Reporting or Really Even Thinking Deeply’
Regular MSNBC viewers probably recognize Bret Stephens, a conservative New York Times opinion writer who is a climate change denier and offers inane “hot takes” on the issues of the day.
On Thursday he delivered one of his worst “hot takes,” a “Warning to the Democrats” that the midterm results show they must start “building real bridges to the other America.”
In reality, the midterm results right now are the largest blue wave since Watergate, with more races yet to be called but leaning toward Democratic candidates.
Stephens was schooled and pilloried Thursday, especially by political reporters and those who actually know what they’re talking about.
Among them, Thursday night, was prominent and well-respected statistician Nate Silver. In a rare direct rebuke – Silver does not frequently engage – the FiveThirtyEight founder chastised Stephens.
“Sorta enjoying thinking about Bret Stephens knowing deep down how dumb his hot take was and cringing a little bit every time Dems win an additional House seat (we’re now projecting they’ll finish with +37 or so),” Silver tweeted.
Sorta enjoying thinking about Bret Stephens knowing deep down how dumb his hot take was and cringing a little bit every time Dems win an additional House seat (we’re now projecting they’ll finish with +37 or so). https://t.co/ZzYMmlrdZK# p #7_24 # ad skipped = true #
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 8, 2018# p #8_24 # ad skipped = true #
Stephens, in yet another bad decision, decided to retaliate, actually calling Silver, a relatively demure, shy, nerdy guy, a “Twitter troll.”
For the record @NateSilver538, @soledadobrien: I’m glad Dems are expanding House lead. I’ve been anti-Trump from Day 1. But GOP holds Senate and result pales next to GOP waves in 10 & 94. My point stands. My advice is worth heeding. Too bad you’re a Twitter troll. Unbecoming. https://t.co/aoiy0iuGwa# p #10_24 # ad skipped = true #
— Bret Stephens (@BretStephensNYT) November 9, 2018# p #11_24 # ad skipped = true #
Silver has been named by TIME as one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People, and is famous for his near-perfect models predicting the 2008 and 2012 elections.
He hit back, saying he doesn’t “have tolerance for BS.”
I’m not trolling. Just don’t have tolerance for BS. There are certain subjects (e.g. electoral politics) I know really well and when you weigh in on those subjects, it’s clear you haven’t put much effort into reporting or really even thinking deeply about them. Try harder. https://t.co/gdBe7m4UXH# p #15_24 # ad skipped = true #
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 9, 2018# p #16_24 # ad skipped = true #
Another political scientist, David Darmofal, summed up the problem with Bret Stephens and The New York Times opinion pages in general:
No, the problem, @BretStephensNYT, is that your columns do not engage seriously w/ social science research & too often have an aversion to quantitative analysis. Rs in 94 & 10 didn’t face the structural issues of gerrymandering & spatial allocation of voters way Ds did in 18 1/# p #18_24 # ad skipped = true #
— David Darmofal (@david_darmofal) November 9, 2018# p #19_24 # ad skipped = true #
The NYT opinion pages too often publish science-free articles. It’s 2018. The rest of the world has accepted the data revolution, but the NYT opinion pages, w/ important exceptions like Leonhardt, haven’t.# p #21_24 # ad skipped = true #
— David Darmofal (@david_darmofal) November 9, 2018# p #22_24 # ad skipped = true #
The question now, which many are asking, is this: Why does Bret Stephens have a job in journalism, MSNBC and The New York Times?