“Isn’t that the job of a journalist, to speak truth to power?

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Even Frank Rich, writing in magazine, described it as a “down-to-the-wire presidential contest,” though at almost no point was Romney in the lead.

Among Silver’s critics, even on the left, there was palpable anticipation of seeing him exposed as a quack, perhaps because his brand of analysis undermines their buffoonish grandstanding.

VOTE: Out's Man of the Year Readers' Poll And too often we let pundits reinforce our convictions with a noisy blend of spin and hokum, whether on climate change or Romney vs. “Peggy Noonan is someone who is very, very skilled at making bullshit look like some elegant soufflé,” Silver says.

“She’s very good at rhetoric and argument, but it’s still not grounded in the truth—it all falls apart every four years, but I don’t think she’ll be out of a job any time soon.” It wasn’t just conservatives who spun the election as a close thing.

Under the headline “One-Term Celebrity,” Politico’s Dylan Byers scoffed at Silver’s analysis, adding tartly, “this may shock the coffeedrinking NPR types of Seattle, San Francisco, and Madison, Wis., [but] more than a few political pundits and reporters, including some of his own colleagues, believe Silver is highly overrated.” The hackneyed characterization of liberals aside, Byers epitomizes, for Silver, the kind of mission creep that is infecting the media.

“I think he’s a terrible journalist,” he says bluntly, referring to an article in which Byers chastised Buzz Feed reporter Michael Hastings for his antagonistic approach to interviewing politicians.

It’s why he admires Gawker founder Nick Denton, who threw a party for him in his So Ho apartment after the election.

“He’s willing to be kind of destructive and path-breaking, and to challenge the status quo; in some ways, it’s kind of more my style,” he says.

But even as the flood broke over their heads, political veterans continued to resist his analysis.