Home Media Nate Silver Slams Political “Reporters,” Pundits on “Too Close to Call” Idiocy

Nate Silver Slams Political “Reporters,” Pundits on “Too Close to Call” Idiocy


For those of us who are beyond frustrated with the shallowness and superficiality of the corporate media’s political “reporters” (using the word loosely, as I can’t figure out what value added 90% of these people have as actual journalists) and punditocracy, you’ve got to read Nate Silver’s New York Times column this morning (“For Romney to Win, State Polls Must Be Statistically Biased“), as it’s an instant classic. Bottom line:  Nate calls out these “reporters” for their agenda of relentlessly pushing a (false) narrative that the Obama-Romney race as “too close to call” (or its synonyms — “dead heat,” “neck and neck,” etc.) no matter what the polls show, so that viewers/readers/listeners keep their eyes and ears glued to the TV stations, radio shows, and newspapers at which these “reporters” and pundits work. Here’s an excerpt from Nate’s article, but definitely read the entire thing. It rocks.

…we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

Yes, of course: most of the arguments that the polls are necessarily biased against Mr. Romney reflect little more than wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public.

Basically, Nate Silver singlehandedly just humiliated a large chunk of the corporate/Beltway media establishment, the Joe Scarboroughs and Chris Cillizzas of the world, among many others. Not that they’ll care, given how arrogant most of these people are, but still…gotta love it, especially since Silver has more brain cells in his pinky then all a dozen of the political “reporters” have in their entire bodies, put together. LOL

  • Jim B

    Even tho the Post endorses Obama the rest of staff seems intent on derailing him. Almost every story on the front page has a negative slant in some form. Maybe since most of the comedy people on TV are having a field day with flip flopping Mitt they think he will be better copy in days ahead rather than a boring Obama who will keep the country afloat for the next 4 years.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Yeah.it seems that the corporate media is far more willing to lie about the possible election outcome than to do some basic statistical analysis.

    It’s very easy to forget that television, whether network or cable, is now and always has been about the commercials, with content filling in the space between the ever-increasing advertising. As for “television news,” Roone Arledge forever ended the era of objective broadcast when he pointed out that the “news” could be turned into entertainment.

    To quote Wikipedia regarding Arledge: “Arledge reformatted the network’s [ABC’s]evening newscast with many of the splashy graphics he had developed at Wide World of Sports, and created World News Tonight.”

  • normanva

    that the polls do not determine who wins, only the voters.  I don’t want a single President Obama supporter to think that this election is in the bag and not bother to show up.  

  • aznew

    I don’t think the Wapo’s political reporters behave as they do because they are craven, biased, or even incompetent.

    Rather, they practice “herd think” because it is the safest career path for them. What is the benefit for a Chuck Todd, say, for going out on a limb and reporting that President Obama has an 80% chance of winning the election? There is none. The day after the election, no one will care, or reward, the reporter who said the favorite in the race will win.

    But what if Todd says this and Obama loses? His career as a political reporter would be over. It is safer for him, and every other reporter, to simply follow the herd. Their mantra in covering elections is simply, “No careers will be made covering this story. Just don’t f**k it up.”

    It is the same reason that reporters can be duped into covering a campaign’s spin as news so easily. It is not that the reporters, for the most part, don’t know they are being used. Of course they know it. But if they don’t play that game, they know they will be frozen out of future stories, and that would be bad for their careers. The hiring manager at the New York Times is not going to say, “Of, that reporter deserves a job because he did not allow himself to be the tool of a campaign.” No, that hiring manager will say, “I can’t hire this guy. No one on the inside will talk to him.”

    Occasionally, a reporter can break free of this trap — Bob Woodward, for example (even though he remains a hack for different reasons, IMHO). but most can’t — certainly few writing news today for most mainstream outlets. But there are some. John Ralston out in Nevada comes to mind. Steve Kornake at Slate is pretty good.