Nate Silver Goes to War With HuffPost Writer: ‘You Have No F*cking Idea What You’re Talking About’


PicMonkey Collage - SilverNate Silver rose to prominence in 2012 when, as a writer for The New York Times, he correctly predicted the winner of the Presidential election in all 50 states.

Now with the ESPN-owned website FiveThirtyEight, Silver is slightly less certain of the election outcome this year, and slightly less certain than any other major poll aggregator of a Hillary Clinton victory. As of this writing, Silver gives Donald Trump a 35.2% chance of winning the election. The Times, by comparison, has Trump’s win probability at 14%.

And the Huffington Post gives the Republican nominee just a 2% chance of victory — which moved their Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim, to write a piece criticizing Silver for “putting his thumb on the scales.”

Grim accused Silver of changing poll results to acheive a result beneficial to Trump.

“By monkeying around with the numbers like this, Silver is making a mockery of the very forecasting industry that he popularized,” Grim wrote.

He added:

I get why Silver wants to hedge. It’s not easy to sit here and tell you that Clinton has a 98 percent chance of winning. Everything inside us screams out that life is too full of uncertainty, that being so sure is just a fantasy. But that’s what the numbers say. What is the point of all the data entry, all the math, all the modeling, if when the moment of truth comes we throw our hands up and say, hey, anything can happen. If that’s how we feel, let’s scrap the entire political forecasting industry.

Silver’s guess that the race is up for grabs might be a completely reasonable assertion ― but it’s the stuff of punditry, not mathematical forecasting.

Silver responded to Grim’s piece with a fiery series of tweets.

Grim responded:

And Silver countered:

Wow. Forget Clinton vs. Trump. How ’bout giving us the win probabilities for Silver vs. Grim?

[image via screengrab]

UPDATE 5:48 p.m. ET — In the mood for one more round of pugilism?

First Grim, in response to Silver calling him “lazy” for not seeking comment prior to publishing his piece:

Silver responded with a haymaker:

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo