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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 08:25 AM ET, 11/21/2012

Scarborough half-apologizes to Nate Silver

Joe Scarborough issued last night the only kind of apology that an alpha male can issue. Half of one, that is.

In a Politico piece awkwardly titled ”My (semi) apology to Nate Silver,” Scarborough writes this:

I won’t apologize to Mr. Silver for predicting an outcome that I had also been predicting for a year. But I do need to tell Nate I’m sorry for leaning in too hard and lumping him with pollsters whose methodology is as rigorous as the Simpsons’ strip mall physician, Dr. Nick. For those sins (and a multitude of others that I’m sure I don’t even know about), I am sorry.

Were this the Erik Wemple Psychology Blog, we could take apart Scarborough’s apologiaphobia and examine his nonsensical statement that he won’t apologize to someone else because they’d reached the same conclusion as he.

If Scarborough is looking to make a full-throated apology, perhaps he should deliver it to his audience, for the sin of delivering bland and meaningless punditry.

In an Oct. 27 appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, Scarborough handicapped things this way:

So for Romney I think he’s going to be hoping more for this momentum that — that is swiping from the first debate, to continue forward and carry him over the finish line. And — and it’s — it’s just — it’s momentum versus the Obama ground game. And nobody — and I mean nobody alive knows how this thing is going to end.

As Silver had demonstrated with his analysis of polls, that Romney “momentum” had petered out by the time Scarborough cited it. And though, indeed, no one knew for sure before the election who would win it, Scarborough’s “nobody alive” pronouncement overstated the amount of imprecision and uncertainty in the data, as Silver showed.

Now have a look at what Scarborough said about Silver before the election — and conclude for yourself whether the guy should fill in the other half of his apology:

Nate Silver says this is a 73.6% chance the president is going to win? Nobody in that campaign thinks they have a 73% chance — they think they have a 50.1% chance of winning. And you talk to the Romney people, it’s the same thing. . . . Both sides understand that this is close and it could go either way. And anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue, they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops, and microphones for the next 10 days, because they’re jokes.

By  |  08:25 AM ET, 11/21/2012

 
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