I swear to god Nate Silver is trolling. Here he ranks positive or negative blog posts about five thirty eight by Paul Krugman against one variable: whether 538 was independent, working with the Times or with ESPN. That is it.
Now Nate knows perfectly well why Krugman soured on his work. Other folks on the left have issues with his probably accurate projection that Dems will (probably) lose the Senate if nothing changes between now and November. Were that Krugman’s problem it would be kind of lame. But Krugman has been clear enough about his concerns that ignoring them in a post about his tone strikes me as churlish and juvenile. Like me Krugman thinks those easy scalps that Nate collected in the political arena let him think that he could find easy marks in any field of inquiry, illustrated first and most of all by hiring a glib climate contrarian named Roger Pielke, Jr. There do exist some fields of knowledge where the so-called ‘experts’ earn their pay.
So what’s going on? I am not psychic but I know a little bit about blogging, which means I also know a little about juvenile people with big egos (what? is there something behind me?). Need some cicks? Start a blogfeud. Nothing gets attention like a good personal conflict (example: Atrios good, Atrios vs. Tom Friedman transcendent). Now arrange a feud between two of the top quants “on the left” and you could sell tickets. Pissing off Krugman helps shed that partisan identifier, which I think Nate would consider inaccurate, it supercharges incoming traffic to ESPN’s new web property and it can be fun if a bit juvenile to do it with a touch of deliberately dim irony.