Readers of "Trump the Press" knew this last July.
But Silver has a higher profile and his admission of the obvious delights the media insiders who made this failed economist THE final word on political predictions.
Just one problem; he was wrong -- again and again. He did a mea culpa after Trump clinched the nomination -- and promptly made the same mistake in the general election.
Now he makes the same mea culpa.
From Silver's "There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble":
It’s hard to reread this coverage without recalling Sean Trende’s essay on “unthinkability bias,” which he wrote in the wake of the Brexit vote. Just as was the case in the U.S. presidential election, voting on the referendum had split strongly along class, education and regional lines, with voters outside of London and without advanced degrees being much more likely to vote to leave the EU. The reporters covering the Brexit campaign, on the other hand, were disproportionately well-educated and principally based in London. They tended to read ambiguous signs — anything from polls to the musings of taxi drivers — as portending a Remain win, and many of them never really processed the idea that Britain could vote to leave the EU until it actually happened.
So did journalists in Washington and London make the apocryphal Pauline Kael mistake, refusing to believe that Trump or Brexit could win because nobody they knew was voting for them? That’s not quite what Trende was arguing. Instead, it’s that political experts aren’t a very diverse group and tend to place a lot of faith in the opinions of other experts and other members of the political establishment. Once a consensus view is established, it tends to reinforce itself until and unless there’s very compelling evidence for the contrary position. Social media, especially Twitter, can amplify the groupthink further. It can be an echo chamber.Wait a second.
Silver and company are not worthy to hold Pauline Kael's hat. Having died 15 years ago, Kael is not here to defend herself for something she said in 1972, six years before Silver was born.
But I am.
Speaking to the Modern Language Association on December 28, 1972. Kael admitted that she lives among the elitists writing to the elitists in an elitist magazine -- New Yorker -- about an elitist interest in the cinema:
“I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater, I can feel them.”She was being honest.
And come to think of it, she did not need to be inside the ken of the middle class or the silent majority. Kael was a specialty writer, and as I recall a damned fine one with wit and a fine eye for the movies.
Pauline Kael was competent.
Nate Silver is not.
I explained Kael's quote in the first chapter of "Trump the Press," which later devoted an entire chapter to Silver's botching up the nomination process.
The sequel "Trump the Establishment" details how the media botched the general election. I enjoyed chronicling Silver's election night embarrassment.
Yes, that's a plug for the books, but you can continue to follow Silver for free, or pay a few bucks and enlighten yourself. I'm inside your ken.
"Trump the Establishment" is now on Kindle.
"Trump the Establishment" is also available in paperback.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. The original -- "Trump the Press" -- is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Amazon.
Autographed copies are available by writing me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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