So, on Thursday, 8 November, the New York Times (yes, I know, I know, liberal, pinko, rag) has this article on page 8 of the special section of the paper on the 2012 election headlined "Election Result Proves a Victory for Pollsters and Other Data Devotees" (what school taught them to write headline sentences like that? All capital letters and truncated sentences. Oh well, it's the USA - no insult intended, Katie and Dick, honestly). I'm sorry that I can't give you a link: the NYT online version is behind a pay wall, and we picked a hard copy up at the airport on our way home.
Anyway, what it's really about is the "battle" between those who believe that the facts give us at least some evidence to argue about, against those who believe that their accumulated knowledge and experience belies the need for facts.
What brings this on (apart from my grump about The Commentator 2 days ago)? And, anyway, do we get any sort of apology from that online paper? No, of course not. I'll add a couple of links below to the current issue where writers appears to sidestep the issue of the comment made on 5 November as to who were the real believers in freedom, etc, etc. What brings this on is the NYT (gleefully? It is, after all, Karl Rove they're sticking their knife into) noting how Rove and other "pundits" (those who rely on accumulated wisdom, etc) got the election so wrong and how they were prepared to dismiss facts over "knowledge".
Anyone in the USA on 6 November will know that this is about Rove, a Fox News commentator, who blew his top on air when the channel called Ohio for Obama (accurately, as it happened), shortly before the other channels committed themselves. He was talking (as a committed Republican and former Bush W., advisor, let alone Speaker of the House) to the Romney camp who were insisting that it was too soon to call. Well, media people have got it wrong before, doing that, but they've learned their lesson, and now crunch lots more numbers before they commit themselves. After hearing their reasoning, Rove backed down, and the following day graciously apologised for his doubts.
Or, as the liberal, pinko, NYT has it, "The election results...left some well-know pundits, many of whom have a partisan bent, eating crow on Wednesday morning..." But they would put it like that, wouldn't they. What's interesting in all this is that the people we were with for the early part of the evening (before heading off to "Democracy Plaza", or, as it's more usually known, the Plaza of Rockerfeller Center to be with the real partisans) were all liberal, pinko, etc (c'mon now, this is NYC the bluest city in the bluest state in the Union), but determined to examine the data as it came in, not rely on instinct, gut feelings, accumulated experience, etc.
So, I'm not getting at the Republican sympathisers - and Rove's initial refusal to accept the number-crunchers' findings was entirely understandable - but at those who act as experts but prefer to let their prejudices override the evidence staring them in the face: the journalists at The Commentator who would claim some sort of expertise. The links that I promised are here, and here (actually, this one reads like sour grapes - after all, Obama won 25 states [with Florida, at the time of writing, still undeclared, even though he's marginally ahead], and has a 2 million lead in the popular vote - bet they wouldn't grouse if it was the other way round, with same slim margins). Actually, this one also reads like sour grapes:
But I'll keep looking at The Commentator, but I think I'll concentrate on their stuff on Israel and the Middle East. Less risk to my blood pressure!
By: Brian Goldfarb