For those who have been following the social media political world over the weekend, you are more than likely aware of the conservative backlash over New York Times blogger and statistician Nate Silver.
Silver, who is one of the most (if not the most outside of maybe Bill James) statistician in the country runs the blog FiveThirtyEight for the New York Times and he rose to fame in 2008 for correctly predicting the outcomes of 49 states in the 2008 election. So obviously Silver has now become the go-to man for people who are looking at the odds of who will win what state in 2012.
But what did Silver come under fire for? He’s not the only person who believes that the numbers are in Barack Obama’s favor nor is he even the most prominent. Yet, Silver came under fire for more than just politics. Take a look at this statement by Dean Chambers of “Unskewed Polls”:
Nate Silver is a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice that sounds almost exactly like the ‘Mr. New Castrati’ voice used by Rush Limbaugh on his program,” Chambers wrote. “In fact, Silver could easily be the poster child for the New Castrati in both image and sound.
So yes, depending on your perspective, Nate Silver cannot be trusted because he’s either gay, feminine, or lacking testicles. Makes sense, right?
But of course, this thinly veiled attack on Nate Silver might be more than what just meets the surface. Nate Silver represents a lot of things the GOP hates. Silver is a mathematician employed by the New York Times whose opinion “mainstream media” takes credibly.
What’s Nate Silver’s “opinion” (aka what his numbers tell him moreso)? It tells him that President Obama is looking like the favorite to win re-election by nearly overwhelming odds. If you are a conservative who is still fighting to tear down a President that you are maddeningly opposed to, that would have to hurt.
So what do you do? Shoot the messenger, of course.
The Silver attacks go way beyond just the “effeminate” remark, though it definitely begins with it. Conservatives are the first to lament over the “lamestream media” and will clearly look at Nate Silver as an embodiment of it. By calling him “effeminate”, they get to attempt to tear him down or at least try to get under his skin.
But “effeminate” isn’t just a pejorative for Nate Silver, it’s also a word that seems co-related in conservative speak to “bleeding heart” or “tree hugger”. This is, after all, the party that actually believes Ted Nugent’s endorsement means something. Liberalism has always been stereotyped as weak, dovish or ugh…”effeminate” and conservatives for some reason is synonymous with “blue-collar, tough, hunters” or something like that.
The New York Times always has been accused of having a liberal bias as well, so by attacking Silver, it’s sure that they are attacking his employer as well. It’s no secret that conservatives have an often negative view of the Times, I actually wouldn’t be shocked if it’s a litmus test in 2016 that you must bash the paper once a week.
Yet, this is much deeper with many more layers to it. However, the fact remains that most models show that President Obama will win a second term; does that mean he will? Of course not.
Just don’t shoot the messengers if that happens.