What Are They So Afraid Of?

by Dave Schuler on April 7, 2014

When I read this NYT op-ed, my immediate reaction, especially following hard on the heels of Paul Krugman’s spat with Nate Silver, was that the op-ed was more pushback against him. I recognize that it’s an op-ed and not an editorial but I also seriously doubt that the NYT publishes op-eds from any passing stranger. The selection of op-eds to run is as much a part of editorial policy as editorials are. Just as the news that they decide isn’t “fit to print” is.

Pretty obviously he’s got a lot of his former associates spooked. Why?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

michael reynolds April 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Not just the NYT. HuffPo is hammering Nate as well.

Legacy media and Next Gen legacy media pushing back at Next Next Gen media.

Dave Schuler April 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm

But why? It’s asymmetric warfare. The more they pound on him, the more he wins. If they really wanted to hurt him, they’d ignore him.

It reminds me a bit of faculty committee meetings. They’re fighting to the death over a fraction of a fraction of a fraction.

... April 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Most likely Silver is reporting numbers they don’t like. I’m sure as soon as big data starts reflecting the party line again, Silver will be a GENIUS in good standing again.

michael reynolds April 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

For one thing Nate is trafficking in something that is anathema to HuffPo: facts and original journalism. The NYT’s issue has more to do with tribal loyalty, I think. At times the NYT seems to embrace the new – their Snowfall piece was a masterpiece of new media. Other times, well, it’s Friedman time.

But don’t underestimate Nate Silver. He’s backed by Disney/ABC/ESPN money. That’s way bigger money than the NYT or HuffPo has available. He’s an independent voice practicing a new style of journalism with huge cash reserves behind him. HuffPo at least is right to worry.

Snowfall in case you haven’t seen it. Best on computer, decent on iPad: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/?forceredirect=yes#/?part=tunnel-creek

Andy April 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I think it’s a couple of things:

- There’s a long standing division between quantitative analysts and non-quantitative “experts.”

- Silver hired Roger Pielke Jr, who is a bete noir for the progressive climate concerned community.

- For partisans and those pushing agendas, there’s a you’re-with-us-or-against-us mentality. Silver isn’t towing the party line.

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