One More On Nate Silver

I don’t read Paul Krugman much because his column falls in the category of people-whose-politics-are-entirely-too-predictable, when it comes to financial or political analysis.  I have this weird aversion to reading (or listening to, for that matter) the thoughts of people about whom I can predict their stance even before the conversation begins.[1]

However, occasionally Krugman reminds me why he’s wicked smaht[2] and says what I was thinking before I even thought it (if that makes sense, which I’ll admit, it doesn’t.)

Krugman points to a National Review piece attacking Nate Silver – of Five-Thirty-Eight.com fame – for his bias toward Obama.  The gist of the National Review piece is that Silver’s methodology is flawed, intentionally, to support Silver’s Democratic agenda.

Krugman’s point, and I whole-heartedly agree, is that when good statistical analysis like Silver’s – and science for that matter – is attacked for political reasons, we lose something important.

Clearly, I’m a Nate Silver fan, because he’s cutting through the distracting media infotainment industry better than anyone right now.  So Krugman’s larger point resonates with me – that if you can discredit and reduce good data-driven analysis to a base level with the rest of the noise, you’ve given ignorance a fresh start.



[1] Diane Rehm is guilty of this.  I hated on Joseph Stiglitz’ book recently for that reason.  I can barely read Nicholas Kristoff’s poltical columns as a result.  While their Op-Eds can be useful, nearly every editorial in the Wall Street Journal is unreadable.  Unless they are unintentionally comedic, like this one.

[2] As we say in my hometown.

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