Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Is Now Arguing With Itself on Global Warming

Nathaniel 'Nate' Silver, editor-in-chief of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight blog, speaks during a panel discussion at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, March 8, 2014. The SXSW conferences and festivals converge original music, independent films, and emerging technologies while fostering creative and professional growth. 
National Journal
Ben Geman
March 31, 2014, 1:08 p.m.

Nate Sil­ver’s Fiv­eThirtyEight has pos­ted a re­but­tal by MIT sci­ent­ist Kerry Emanuel to Ro­ger Pielke Jr.’s con­tro­ver­sial March 19 story that ar­gued cli­mate change isn’t to blame for the rising costs of weath­er-re­lated dis­asters.

“I don’t see how the data he cites sup­port such a con­fid­ent as­ser­tion,” Emanuel writes in the re­sponse that Sil­ver com­mis­sioned to run on the data-journ­al­ism site. (Click here to read more about why Emanuel’s not buy­ing Pielke’s ar­gu­ment.)

Emanuel’s post fol­lowed a note to read­ers Fri­day from Sil­ver him­self, who said the largely neg­at­ive re­sponse to Pielke’s item promp­ted Fiv­eThirtyEight to “think care­fully” about the story and their edit­ing.

“The back-and-forth is ex­tremely de­tailed, cit­ing pa­per upon pa­per, foot­note upon foot­note, and link upon link. The de­bate is hard for us to ad­ju­dic­ate without turn­ing to ex­perts for help,” Sil­ver writes in ex­plain­ing why he com­mis­sioned a story that re­sponds to the cent­ral ar­gu­ments of Pielke’s story.

Sil­ver also said there were some “peri­pher­al claims” al­lowed in­to Pielke’s piece and some oth­er prob­lems that “re­flect a poor job of edit­ing on our part.”

But the note says that broad­er cri­ti­cisms of Pielke — namely that the polit­ic­al sci­ent­ist isn’t qual­i­fied to write on cli­mate and that he’s a cli­mate “den­ier” — are “un­fair.”

As Na­tion­al Journ­al wrote here, Pielke of­ten en­rages cli­mate act­iv­ists and has drawn cri­ti­cism from sev­er­al prom­in­ent sci­ent­ists, al­though he does not dis­pute hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change and says it de­mands ac­tion.

Emanuel’s piece is just the latest chapter in the brouhaha over Pielke’s item and Fiv­eThirtyEight‘s de­cision to bring him on as a con­trib­ut­or.

Huff­ing­ton Post me­dia writer Mi­chael Cal­der­one re­por­ted Fri­day that Fiv­eThirtyEight apo­lo­gized to sci­ent­ists Mi­chael Mann and Kev­in Trenberth for emails Pielke sent them in re­sponse to their cri­ti­cism of his March 19 item.

HuffPo re­por­ted that Mann and Trenberth in­ter­pret Pielke’s emails as threat­en­ing pos­sible leg­al ac­tion. But Pielke told Cal­der­one that it’s “ri­dicu­lous” to char­ac­ter­ize the emails that way.

What We're Following See More »
AT LEAST NOT YET
Paul Ryan Can’t Get Behind Trump
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Preet Bharara Learned at the Foot of Chuck Schumer
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin gives Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the longread treatment. The scourge of corrupt New York pols, bad actors on Wall Street, and New York gang members, Bharara learned at the foot of Chuck Schumer, the famously limelight-hogging senator whom he served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff. No surprise then, that after President Obama appointed him, Bharara "brought a media-friendly approach to what has historically been a closed and guarded institution. In professional background, Bharara resembles his predecessors; in style, he’s very different. His personality reflects his dual life in New York’s political and legal firmament. A longtime prosecutor, he sometimes acts like a budding pol; his rhetoric leans more toward the wisecrack than toward the jeremiad. He expresses himself in the orderly paragraphs of a former high-school debater, but with deft comic timing and a gift for shtick."

Source:
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Commutes the Sentences of 58 Prisoners
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.

STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
‘NO MORAL OR ETHICAL GROUNDING’
Sen. Murphy: Trump Shouldn’t Get Classified Briefigs
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
×