America’s standoff between the shills and the gamblers…

I’m afraid there will be no #DigitalLunch today due illness (mine) in the kitchen… So I’ve a couple short posts to share that I’ve collected over the last few days.

One of the things that’s been exercising comment in America is the dominance of number cruncher in chief Nate Silver, who’s dominance of the prediction market this time out has been frustrating some of the old schools hacks and shills.

In the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf points out that this came to a crescendo when Silver took on his critics by offering to bet on who was going to be right. Something that’s brought him into conflict with the NYT’s readers editor:

Predictions made by the political press are especially suspect. This is partly due to the hack and shill problem, and partly because there is no accountability for inaccurate speculative analysis.

It doesn’t matter that Bill Kristol has amassed a record of inaccurate predictions so long it is comical. He’s still treated by television hosts and fellow conservative writers as a knowledgeable speculative commentator. I don’t know how valuable speculative analysis would be in any case; but any value it has is significantly diminished by the Kristols of the world.

Is it any wonder that I sometimes fantasize about a media landscape where predictions weren’t taken seriously unless the people making them had some personal monetary stake in getting them right? How many pundits would’ve more carefully hedged their Weapons of Mass Destruction predictions?[emphasis added]

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty