I understand that Nate Silver’s business model involves punching hippies and, probably, laundering think tank propaganda (same for Ezra Klein’s). Even so, Roger Pielke looks like a bad hire:
“Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology,” Pielke wrote in the email that was sent to both Trenberth and his bosses. “If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?”
Pielke dismissed the notion that he was making a threat, calling the claim “ridiculous.” Nevertheless, Silver told the Huffington Post that he apologized to both Mann and Trenberth and made clear that “Roger’s conversations with them did not reflect FiveThirtyEight’s editorial values.”
I don’t know why Pielke would resort to this. His place at the trough is pretty secure:
He does accept the reality of climate change, and keeps his criticism just inside the boundaries of accepted science (e.g., with strategic footnotes). So when he gets an irritated response from, say,President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren, who accused him of selective quotation and obfuscation, Pielke can twist the criticism around and write a stern, head-shaking article about how those darned Greens are just getting way over their skis on The Science. This is the Breakthrough Institute program for hippie-punching your way to fame and fortune, and its success on the career track is almost as striking as its wretched failure as a political tactic to actually achieve anything on climate change.
The appeal of Klein and Silver is that they’re numbers guys, wonks! All we liberals know that objective reality is on our side and that we can trust anyone who uses fancy infographics and not low brow Fox News pie charts.
The truth is that loving liberals’ page views won’t pay the eight-figure rent, and that Nate’s and Ezra’s ability to “do the math” will just mean they’ll make the obvious calculation and sell us out that much faster.