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We Made A Friend: FiveThirtyEight And ‘On The Media’ Join Forces

I’ve reported for a number of radio shows, I host a podcast for this site, and I listen to a gazillion shows each week, but I don’t hesitate when I’m asked what the sharpest show in radio is: It’s “On The Media.”


So it’s particularly exciting to announce that FiveThirtyEight is collaborating with Bob Garfield, Brooke Gladstone and their ace team through the 2016 election. This collaboration will have lots of fun elements and evolve with the news, but the question we’re asking will remain constant:

How does the media narrative stack up against what we know to actually be true?

Nate Silver and Brooke Gladstone recording the kick-off segment in our election-year collaboration.

In many ways, FiveThirtyEight is a media criticism site. If there weren’t bullshit narratives to measure the numbers against, Nate wouldn’t have started writing about politics. And there will be no shortage of false narratives in 2016 for us to pick over with our new friends at OTM.

Nate helped kick things off this week with a conversation about whether candidates get media coverage because they are polling well or if they poll well because of their media coverage. Here’s audio of the exchange:

If you need further proof of the sharp-elbowed approach that “On The Media” takes to political coverage, just listen to the other segments in the same hour. Or check out one of my recent favorites: Bob’s attempt to counter-program the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner with a seminar on media ethics.

As our partnership chugs along, we hope to draw larger lessons that will help our listeners navigate the noise. We’ll dip into the past from time to time to find lessons for this cycle. And we’ll also keep our eye on what’s new, from the ways that campaigns are using your data to new analytical tools that help get at our central question from a bunch of fresh angles.

We also want to hear from you. Tweet at us, or leave a comment below: What confuses or angers or bemuses you about the politics-media nexus? What do you want Brooke-splained? Let us know. And stay tuned.

Jody Avirgan hosts and produces podcasts for FiveThirtyEight.