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The sniff of disdain directed at “data,” the idea that these two things—information and common sense—were somehow mutually exclusive was, of course, part of the problem.For Silver, data on paper is the best way to see what’s in front of us, so long as we don’t allow our biases to get in the way.“It’s a bit of a cautionary tale: the bright young intellectual who either gets sloppy or people stop scrutinizing them when they should be critical of everyone and everything,” says Silver.
Under the headline “One-Term Celebrity,” Politico’s Dylan Byers scoffed at Silver’s analysis, adding tartly, “this may shock the coffeedrinking NPR types of Seattle, San Francisco, and Madison, Wis., [but] more than a few political pundits and reporters, including some of his own colleagues, believe Silver is highly overrated.” The hackneyed characterization of liberals aside, Byers epitomizes, for Silver, the kind of mission creep that is infecting the media.
“Just dedication to every little aspect of every little thing.” We are in a small restaurant in Brooklyn one Sunday shortly after the election that returned Barack Obama to the White House, and Silver is enjoying the rare prospect of an afternoon watching college football and drinking beer with his friends.
“I can’t believe it’s a Sunday when I actually go and do nothing and not feel guilty about it,” he says as a waiter takes his order for a Michelle, a cocktail involving jalapeño-infused tequila, beer, lime, and tomato juice (Silver liked it so much, he had two of them).
His steadiness under pundit fire before the election was something to witness.”) Although he wasn’t excessively bullied, Silver spent most of high school immersed either in fantasy baseball leagues or the debate program.
“High school debate is a strange thing,” he concedes.