Hey Everybody Let’s Get Mad About The New Hires At 538 And Vox Maybe!

Hey Everybody Let's Get Mad About The New Hires At 538 And Vox Maybe!

We hope the hiring sprees over at FiveThirtyEight and Vox are winding down, because it’s exhausting to keep up with what we are mad about. Vox is leading the sweepstakes by hiring the anti-gay gay guy that Ezra Klein admitted he didn’t really “read,” but then both hot New Media properties hired new people we also have to discuss.


First up, Nate Silver’s data driven nerd paradise has hired Roger Pielke Jr. to write about climate change. Some people got hyperventilation levels of sad and worried about this right out the gate.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website is off to a disreputable start with the hiring of Roger Pielke, Jr, one of the country’s leading tricksters, well schooled at the art of confusing the public on climate science. Pielke wasted no time displaying his bag of dirty tricks by posting a blog today that claims there is no link between the rising costs of climate disasters and extreme weather fueled by climate change.

We really need to work “tricksters” into our vocabulary more. It’s so delightfully old-timey! Anyway, Pielke posted his first post on climate-y things Wednesday, and it contained much in the way of spiky graphs that we do not understand because we are not Data Driven New Media types. Some folks over at Talking Points Memo are, apparently, and have not yet been caught up in the 538 hiring spree, so they took issue with some of the spiky graphs, because some of the spiky graphs are probably wrong. At least we think that is what it is saying. Let’s go find a lay person who will tell us why the Pielke hire is bad, besides just calling him a trickster.

For those who don’t know, Pielke is a highly skilled and intelligent policy professor, ostensibly committed to climate action, who spends the vast bulk of his time criticizing the climate movement and allied scientists. They’re wrong about drought. They’re wrong about extreme weather. They’re wrong about economic growth. Etc.

He does accept the reality of climate change, and keeps his criticism just inside the boundaries of accepted science (e.g., with strategic footnotes). So when he gets an irritated response from, say, President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren, who accused him of selective quotation and obfuscation, Pielke can twist the criticism around and write a stern, head-shaking article about how those darned Greens are just getting way over their skis on The Science. This is the Breakthrough Institute program for hippie-punching your way to fame and fortune, and its success on the career track is almost as striking as its wretched failure as a political tactic to actually achieve anything on climate change.

Hmmmm. That does seem bad. Not anti-gay gay dude bad (side eye at you, Vox) but kinda slatepitch bad. We’ll be looking out for some cool new contrarian thinking from this guy, but we might not understand it, because graphs.

Over at Vox, Ezra stoled another person, Timothy B. Lee, from his former employer, the Washington Post. That makes eight WaPo staffers who have followed Ezra and his seemingly bottomless pit of money. Yesterday, Vox’s latest hire had the twitterverse (we cannot believe we just had to type that) in a tizzy yesterday because of a snotty tweet that we think has maybe been deleted now, but screenshots, suckas.


Most of Lee’s past columns for the Washington Post evoked no particular ire when we read them skimmed the headlines only, covering things like bitcoin and net neutrality. So, we will just assume that this is a wayward tweet, which is something, of course, that yr Happy and Wonkette staff never ever do, because we are circumspect and dignified in all our online communications. Seriously, we will cut Lee some slack, but only after we say the obvious and obligatory: people are “free” to pay for much stuff, but things like birth control are BASIC MEDICAL THINGS and should be covered by insurance, just like boner pills.


We’ll probably be back tomorrow and Sunday and next week and forever with more exciting New Media news, because FiveThirtyEight and Vox are going to be hiring people forever.

[Forecast the Facts/538/TPM/The Week]

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