Nate Silver: 'A lot of news is really entertainment masquerading as news'

In an appearance on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, statistician and New York Times blogger Nate Silver turned media critic:

If you look long-term, how do people on "The McLaughlin Group" do? They get half their predictions right and half of them wrong. Because they're basically entertainers. People criticize this show maybe and say, 'Oh, it's entertainment masquerading as news,' but a lot of news is really entertainment masquerading as news. ...

...the media is the one who covers the campaigns in a silly way a lot of the time, where a lot of the time, look, nothing happens over the course of a day. Now we're actually in a pennant race, so it matters, but the average day in April, when there's campaigning, nothing of importance at all happens. But you still have to have a lead story... You have to generate fake news. ...

There's always someone who can take the other side of the argument. The way that news coverage works it's a lot of kind of point-counterpoint, and no matter how ridiculous the point is there's always someone to take the counterpoint. ...

How Silver got into political forecasting:

What happened is the outgoing Congress in 2006 passed a law that didn't technically ban Internet poker, but made sure you couldn't deposit any money ... so I got more into politics by wanting the congressmen who passed that law to be voted out of office, which a number of them were, right?

Related: "Before I did politics I did sports, and there weren’t nearly so many assholes in sports coverage" (NY Magazine) | FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver adjusts to The New York Times (Poynter)


Related News

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon