Changes appear to be on the way at ABC as studio bosses plan to review ways to cut costs as revenue falls.
One of the victims of these potential cutbacks could be the elections statistician Nate Silver and his controversial election predictor FiveThirtyEight.
According to left-leaning news site The Daily Beast, ABC’s news division head Kim Godwin is putting Silver’s site under review, with individuals close to the situation warning that it is on the “chopping block.”
This potential sacking from the news company comes after Silver and his methods of predicting elections have come under heavy scrutiny, particularly after Silver, like many pollsters, predicted a “red wave” in the 2022 midterms that failed to materialize, The Daily Beast reported.
“There’s no question in my mind that FiveThirtyEight was used by partisan sources to create a false impression of the election and that Nate was aware this was happening and by not addressing it he ended up contributing to misleading the American people about what was happening in the election,“ Democrat strategist Simon Rosenberg told The Daily Beast.
“This is an existential threat to FiveThirtyEight. If he refuses to make significant reforms and changes, the political elite should move on to other sources to get information about polling.”
While an ABC spokesman told The Daily Caller that “there are no imminent decisions about our relationship with 538,” Silver seems to be in some trouble.
FiveThirtyEight has never turned a profit while ABC has used it and since the Disney property is looking to build profitability, Silver’s baby looks to be an easy target.
The fact that the prediction site has neglected to backfill key positions, including managing editor, could be a sign that the writing is on the wall, according to the Daily Beast.
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In the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, public polling has faced even more negative press after Republican gains failed to spread across the country as many predicted.
Silver, who now “faces an uncertain future,” according to The Daily Beast, first came to prominence as a baseball statistics guru who was known for modeling the competitiveness of Major League Baseball teams and has since been hailed as a political savant due to his predictions in 2008 and 2012.
Many Americans are not as convinced by his abilities nowadays.
ABC has joined its rivals in following a process of substantial cost-saving cuts, with layoffs being a key component of the new strategy.
As a Vanity Fair report from December documented, staff cuts have been the order of the day in major news organizations recently. CNN has shed employees even beyond its high-profile figures like Brian Stelter. In December, “hundreds” of workers were let go, the network reported.
As CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported Tuesday, The Washington Post, Gannett, and other media giants are in a similar situation are trimming their workforces.
“Across the news industry, layoffs have been rampant,” Darcy wrote. “CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, Vox Media, Gannett and other news organizations have cut their workforces in recent months. And companies that haven’t laid off staffers have taken strong measures to reduce spending.”
At ABC, The Hollywood Reporter reported in November that now-former Disney CEO Bob Chapek informed ABC employees of the impending cuts.
“We do anticipate some staff reductions as part of this review,” Chapek wrote in a company memo.
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