Nate Silver and Maggie Haberman Duke it Out on Twitter Over Clinton Email Coverage

Two of the country’s most-respected journalists are fighting

Last Updated: September 27, 2017 @ 12:03 PM

Political junkies who hang on every word from Maggie Haberman and Nate Silver may feel today like their parents are fighting.

Silver, the editor-in-chief at Five Thirty Eight, was once so trusted for his polling analysis that “Keep Calm and trust Nate Silver” became a 2012 election meme. Haberman, one of the New York Times lead reporters on the Trump Administration, is revered for her access to White House insiders, and indefatigable work ethic — she once broke an exclusive story while being interviewed for a podcast.

Their fight started when Silver called out a paragraph in a story Haberman co-wrote about the hypocrisy of some in the Trump administration using private email accounts to conduct White House business. Here is that paragraph:

During the 2016 presidential race, Mr. Trump repeatedly harped on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private account as secretary of state, making it a centerpiece of his campaign and using it to paint her as untrustworthy. “We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” Mr. Trump said last year. His campaign rallies often boiled over with chants of “Lock her up!”

Silver saw an opportunity to throw shade:

“I can think of someone *else* who repeatedly harped on Clinton’s emails & made it the centerpiece of the campaign,” Silver said, linking to a New York Times front-page headline about her emails.

Haberman was quick to shoot back, retweeting Silver’s comment and adding her own: “It’s this keen understanding of media and politics that you demonstrated with your own modeling,” she said.

That was a dig at Silver’s failure to anticipate Trump’s victory, a failure in which he wasn’t alone. Silver noted that the Times’ predictions of a Clinton win were also way off.

“I guess I’m obliged to point out that our model & our reporting gave Trump a way better chance than you guys did,” he wrote, linking to a story titled “The Real Story of 2016” that analyzes what reporters and “data geeks” got wrong about the election.

“We screwed up in the GOP primary and acknowledged it. NYT could stand to do the same for its general elex coverage,” he added in another tweet along with another article in which he admitted he “screwed up.”

It’s worth noting that Haberman is not responsible for polling at the Times, but of course she couldn’t say that, because doing so might make it appear that she was criticizing her colleagues. So she noted that Silver was taking shots at the Times — where he worked before leaving to start 538.

“Things are always more nuanced and complicated than your trolling tweets of your former employer. That’s the point,” she said.

Another point: Silver is right that the Times reported extensively on Clinton’s emails. But Haberman did not write the article he cited in his initial tweet–it was the work of Adam Goldman and Alan Rappeport.