The mystery of how exactly Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 has apparently been solved at last, and by none other than Pennsylvania Avenue's resident Hercule Poirot himself.
Trump tweeted yesterday: "Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch".
Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
It seems, as CNN pointed out, that Trump's referring to something he saw on Fox News again. This time it's psychologist John Epstein's report into how search rankings were affected by bias around the 2016 election, which you can read here. The Judicial Watch Trump's tagged is a - ahem - "conservative non-partisan educational foundation" which seems obsessed with the idea that Trump's being targeted by The Powers That Be and peddles Jeffrey Epstein conspiracy theories.
It'll surprise you to find out that Trump's wilfully lying about what the report actually says. Epstein told CNN this week that what he said was pro-Hillary Clinton bias to search results could have shifted "between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes" her way. Epstein testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July that big tech as a whole could move 15 million votes in the next election, but didn't say that about 2016. He's also rejected Trump's assertion that this was a clear decision made by Google itself rather than just the algorithms algorithming.
"I don't have any evidence that Google manipulated anything," Epstein said this week. "I just have evidence that there was this bias - highly statistically significantly bias."
There's also the issue that Epstein's research weighted good journalism and bad journalism the same, so if Google excluded something from Breitbart on the grounds that it was a load of old balls but ranked a well researched Washington Post, it would still be counted as an exclusion of pro-Trump news sources and a promotion of pro-Clinton news sources.
On top of that, Epstein's study didn't actually ask 2016 voters about how search results influenced their vote - it was extrapolated from studies into an Australian election in 2010 and and Indian election in 2014. So basically, Trump's no David Suchet.
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