About That Washington Post Column by Dana Milbank

A December 5 About Editing and Writing post summarized a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank with the headlined “Dana Milbank: ‘The media treats Biden as badly as—or worse than—Trump. Here’s proof.'”

A reaction today to the Milbank column on cjr.org:

“Complete crap”: Late last week, Dana Milbank, a columnist at the Post, published an article claiming that “the media treats Biden as badly as—or worse than—Trump” and citing as proof a “sentiment analysis” he commissioned that claimed to “measure the negativity with precision” across more than two hundred thousand articles. Milbank’s column was widely discussed—including at the White House—but his claims have also drawn criticism. On Monday, Nate Silver, of the data site FiveThirtyEight, called its sentiment analysis “complete crap.” He added, “designing good algorithms is hard, but this is an especially bad one. And as a news consumer, you should be extremely wary of statistical methodologies you don’t understand but that confirm your priors.”

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