Nate Silver Thinks POLITICO’s Political Coverage Is Dumb

Filed in National by on December 2, 2012

As reported in a bunch of places, Nate Silver gave an interview with Bill Simmons over at Grantland and he responded to a question about Politico’s misguided dismissal of him and his prediction methodology. From the Business Insider:

SILVER: What’s remarkable for me is that you had some journalist for Politico who tweeted out “All Nate’s doing is averaging polls and counting electoral votes? That’s the secret sauce?.” Well, yeah, and the fact that you can’t comprehend that very basic thing, that says more about you than it does about me, right?

SIMMONS: It was like passive aggressive coming after you but they couldn’t find a good way to do it.

SILVER: Politico is a “who won the day” kind of thing, right? They’re trying to cover it like it’s sports but not in an intelligent way at all. They want to create noise, basically.

Their whole thing is you have to have a lead story about some gaffe that somebody made on the campaign trail. […] In politics, you can have a month where nothing of any import whatsoever happens. But you still have to have Politico produce a paper seven times a week and that’s when they’re trying to start trouble.

I love that — trying to cover sports but not in an intelligent way. We always call this “horse race reporting”, but it really isn’t. What kind of real horse race reporting could get away with filing a story on how one horse out of the entire field stumbled out of the gate as representative of what happened for the entire race? Or even calling a race as “too close” when one horse is persistently a length or so ahead of the pack?

According to TPM, Politico is trying to get an interview with Silver, but they are tightlipped on Nate Silver’s critique of them. Of course they won’t comment — Nate’s comment gets right to Politico’s business model. And Politico needs people outside of the DC Beltway to think that they are a credible political source.

You can hear the entire Grantland interview here, and its pretty good (but an hour long). Nate Silver was also at Google recently and talked to the Google staff about his new book, politics and baseball stats. This is about an hour long too, but worth it:


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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (2)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    Classic David Gergen concern trolling:

    ” White House hands from the GOP side — people who like our Presidents to succeed —are privately warning that if the White House and allied Democrats keep pushing so hard-fisted on deficits, Susan Rice and Senate filibuster rules, relations with Republicans on the Hill will become even more poisonous in the next four years than in the past.”

    Give me a fucking break.

  2. X Stryker says:

    Ha ha ha “More poisonous”. That’s like saying our relationship with Al Qaeda may get more poisonous.