Nate Silver. Is There Anything He Can’t Do?

If you haven’t seen this, Silver’s interview with John Ziegler—the guy behind the Zogby poll that sought to support a thesis that the U.S. media was in tank for Obama—is pretty amazing. A Taste:

NS: Do you stand by all the statements in the survey as being unambiguously true?
JZ: I stand one hundred percent by the notion that there is absolutely zero ambiguity as to what the right answer is to any of the questions. With the one exception of the Palin-Russia-Alaska question which we asked the way we did for a very specific purpose which was to try and gauge the Tina Fey Effect which I think we did in a very effective manner which was what was actually said by Tina Fey, everyone attributed to Sarah Plain. But for purposes of scoring Obama supporters’ answers we counted Palin as a correct response.

NS: What was the right answer to that [Palin] question?
JZ: The technically accurate question [sic] is that none of the four people said that, but we counted it as correct if they said Sarah Palin.

NS: Why would you commission a survey question with no correct response?
JZ: The purpose of the question, you pinhead, was we wanted to determine the Tina Fey Effect.


The whole thing is worth reading though, as Silver notes in the intro, NSFW as Ziegler gets increasingly belligerent as the questions go on.

2 Comments on Nate Silver. Is There Anything He Can’t Do?

  1. Well, I dunno from Nate Silver, but on the issue of media bias in the election, the Washington Post ombudsman has come out and said his paper was biased towards the Democrat candidate and Mark Halperin of Time Magazine said the same.

    “Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.

    “It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war,” Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. “It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.

  2. I think the media is biased toward narrative, which can be simplistic, and frustrating, but understandable–if the common thread emerges, for instance in the case of the runup to the Iraq war, that this country is an immediate threat, then it’s harder for reporters to write, and editors to publish, stories that don’t fit that narrative, because the bar you have to clear is “everyone else is saying this. Are you saying they’re all wrong?” Which is tough. That said, the conventional wisdom isn’t necessarily wrong, and in broad strokes I don’t think Halperin is in any way correct in his analysis of this year; words like ‘extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage’ sound like hyperbole designed to sell book rather than thoughtful analysis.

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