Nate Silver Tells Tone-Deaf Burrito Arrest Story Amid Ferguson Protests, Gets Epically Burned

Nate Silver sits on the stairs at a hotel in Chicago on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The 34-year-old statistician, unabashed numbers geek, author and creator of the much-read FiveThirtyEight blog at The New York Times, correctly predicted the presidential winner in all 50 states, and almost all the Senate races.

Last night, while police in Ferguson, Missouri, were indiscriminately firing tear gas and rubber bullets at a mostly peaceful group of protesters and journalists, two of whom were arrested without cause, data whiz Nate Silver thought it would be a good time to tell a silly story about how easy jail can be if you’re white. But instead of an allegory on racial privilege, the Twitter tale — which included being fed a burrito (!) in his cell — came off as especially oblivious while interspersed with video, images, and accounts of what looked like a war zone from others. Silver just kept tweeting about himself.

With journalist-centric Twitter serving as a solemn, angry, virtual community square for those not at the protests, the backlash to the first-person reverie was swift and strong:

But a former staffer from Grantland, which, like Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, is owned by ESPN, really spilled the beans, leaking what appears to be Mr. Burrito’s traffic numbers for the month of August:

Maybe Silver should have just put his arrest story in a blog post with a splashy headline and racked up the hate-clicks, Thought Catalog–style.

Update: Silver apologized.

Nate Silver’s Tone-Deaf Burrito Arrest Story