You’d be forgiven if you interpreted an item in today’s Politico Playbook as the latest shot fired in the feud between the Beltway-centric publication and Nate Silver.
Writing in Tuesday’s edition of the “must-read briefing on what’s driving the day in Washington,” Mike Allen acknowledged the launch of Silver’s new website with what appeared to be a backhanded compliment.
“FiveThirtyEight debuts, finally giving smart people something to read on the web,” Allen wrote before linking out to a story at Silver’s shop titled “You Just Had Sex, So How Many Calories Did You Burn?”
It sure seemed like a dig. And why wouldn’t it have been? Silver has mocked Politico at every turn, and Politico’s top dogs have responded in kind.
In an email to TPM last year, Silver fired back at Politico co-founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei after they said the stats whiz “gets up on his high horse quite a lot on different topics” and tries to use “numbers to prove stuff” that can’t “be proved by numbers alone.”
Harris and VandeHei, according to Silver, “seem to lack very much curiosity for the world outside of the bubble.”
But when reached for comment by TPM, Allen was magnanimous toward Silver. He said he was excited by FiveThirtyEight, and expressed admiration both for Silver and TPM founder Josh Marshall.
“We admire what Nate is building, and are always excited when talented journalists — like Nate, and Josh before any of us — show an entrepreneurial sensibility,” Allen said in an email. “I urge you to give them credit for what they have created in a short time, but give them time to execute their full vision.”
Allen also noted that he “tweeted the launch” of FiveThirtyEight on Monday and featured a lengthy excerpt from Silver’s manifesto in today’s edition of Playbook.