Nate Silver: Biden ‘Mess’ Caused By Pro-Dem Press Caving to ‘Progressive Media Scolds’

July 8th, 2024 3:00 PM

Statistics-based journalist-pollster Nate Silver, who previously worked at the New York Times (where he founded the influential presidential polling-data site FiveThirtyEight) and at ABC News, had some internal insight into the media bias debate, saying out loud what we at NewsBusters know well.

It came in his Monday post “Blaming the media is what got Democrats into this mess.” (The mess being President Biden’s disastrous debate performance and the feigned shock from the press who felt obliged to downplay it.)

In his latest Silver Bulletin newsletter, the political prognosticator credited, or blamed, the newly minted progressive media critics for putting a lid on Biden age coverage (Silver’s original links are included below):

But the partisan media critics I cited before succeeded in keeping coverage to a simmer -- the pot never quite boiled over. Journalists are human beings, and although they won’t want to admit it, most of them actually do read the mean Twitter messages you write about them. And, although they won’t admit to this either, most who work for high-prestige media outlets like the Times and the Washington Post are left-of-center. They aren’t necessarily partisan Democrats, but vanishingly few are Republicans or would like to see Trump elected again. (Nor would I, for that matter).

He discounted the oft-heard criticism from defenders of the press that any hypothetical Democratic lean among journalists is more than neutralized by their capitalist bosses.

There are some countervailing biases: publishers and media moguls are often centrists or conservatives, or at least unrepentant capitalists. But having worked for some of the biggest mainstream media outlets in the country -- including the New York Times (where I still occasionally freelance) and ABC News -- my experience is that staff attitudes usually prevail over management. At news organizations of a certain size, there are too many things happening at once -- dozens of stories being published every day under intense deadline pressure -- for central planning to be entirely effective.

Some of Silver's media criticism of so-called "cheap fakes" are aimed at the Associated Press and his former employees at the Times itself, judging by his links.

In their critiques of coverage of Biden’s age, then, progressive media scolds are like the dog who caught the car. They succeeded in getting the media to frame the issue gingerly -- for every story that engaged forthrightly, there were two that dismissed it as “misinformation”, sometimes even inventing whole new categories like “cheap fakes” to describe what were simply lightly edited but unflattering video clips of Biden.

But having caught the car, the critics aren’t sure what to do with it. Because the car was a lemon….

Although anti-Trump himself, Silver is well aware of the liberal media bubble. His prediction in the final hours before the 2016 election that Trump had a 29% of winning was mocked by liberals as being far too generous to Trump. How’d that turn out?