No, Google Did Not Steal The Election


Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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23 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It’s the flip side to Russian meddling in the election via facebook memes and whatnot.

    Those who were willing to swallow that camel ought to be able to swallow this one, or so the argument goes.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well except for the actual proof of one and the actual nothing of the other.

      But in case it’s not glaringly obvious. The point of making up the Google thing is purely instrumental as a way to counter the Mueller report thing about the Russian’s messing with the election. It doesn’t t matter if the google stuff is poo, it’s just to create a dueling narrative to muddy the waters. It’s to create some equivalence, false though it may be, to get people to ignore real problems. It’s a distraction tactic.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      Heck, the Russians entirely deleted Wisconsin from Hillary’s campaign maps. I wouldn’t discount them at all.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      True, in the same sense that if someone can swallow the camel of the so-called “Heliocentric” theory of the movement of the planets, one can certainly swallow the “Flat Earth theory”.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Jaybird says:

      About the third time I read your comment, I realized you weren’t necessarily endorsing the view that there was no Russian meddling. But it can be hard to be sure.

      The Russians were certainly trying to influence the election. They spent money on it. There are a dozen indictments of Russian nationals for doing things that were illegal. That ain’t smoke and mirrors. I think it’s an open question how successful they were, but they were trying.

      And they also broke into a lot of election support computers. The stories of what they accomplished keep escalating. I’m really hoping you aren’t calling this “fake news”.

      Meanwhile, the core issue is that “conservative” media now has a significant overlap with “swindler clickbait” media. So when Google uses it’s crowd-sourced weighting – where sites with lots of links are deemed more credible than those that don’t have them – it looks like bias against conservatives. Really, it’s bias against grift, but apparently there are some inside the bubble who can’t tell the difference.

      And yes, I am aware that there are left-leaning clickbait sites, too. Apparently not nearly so many, though.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Yes, there was Russian meddling. Yes, they were trying to influence the election.


        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

          But were they spending more on Washington lobbying activities than the Marshall Islands, the Bahamas, or Aruba? The answer to that is clearly “no”.

          Many islands stand to make a fortune by getting the US to elect someone like Trump. All those ultra-rich outraged celebrities have to move somewhere, and it sure isn’t going to be Manitoba.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to George Turner says:

            How can you be sure? Do you get to look at the Kremlin budget? Also, the lobbyists for Aruba don’t generally wind up in jail. I mean, sometimes, yeah…

            Meanwhile, Trumps campaign manager is up to his neck with Russian oligarch money, and got caught witness tampering. There is clearly obstruction of justice – successful obstruction of justice – involved. How can you possibly be sure you know the amount of money involved?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              The money the Kremlin spends in Moscow stays hidden, but we get to see what foreign entities spend on lobbying, which can indicate quite a lot about priorities.

              If you need to do a bunch of illegal stuff to advance cause X, and you can also do a bunch of legal stuff to advance cause X, rational actors will spend a lot on the legal means of advancing cause X because it’s a priority and legal means are easy to use.

              So if you see a country that has easy legal options of advancing a particular set of interests, yet doesn’t do so, then it’s not putting a high value on advancing those interests and is not likely to spending much on illegal means of advancing those interests, either.

              You can go to OpenSecrets and track spending by country. Russia spends less on US lobbying than Ireland does.

              And we have Mueller’s indictment of the Russians. They spent millions per year and employed eighty people to troll US social media.

              Their operations budget for September 2016 was only $1.25 million. As American campaign spending goes for that month, that’s virtually nothing.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

      You’d be right, if they were swallowing the stories on the basis of their credibility. But no one has ever examined either story rationally and come to the opinion that votes were stolen. If they believe either of them, it’s confirmation bias.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think it goes further back. When Trump claimed that the only way he could lose the election was through Russian interference; the media jumped up and down to explain the Russians don’t have the capacity except to sew distrust and delegitimize the democratic process, which would be their actual intention. Trump wins the election and a shocked media claims Russian collusion, spends time arguing about the popular vote, and gives attention to complaints about the electoral college. None of which it would have done if Hillary won.

      All of this is just partisan posturing. Partisans by and large don’t care about system integrity, they care about winning.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

      I suppose if someone believed that Russian meddling influenced a ton of votes, you would be within a stone’s throw of a reasonable point.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Is it just my internal bias and wish-casting, or does Trump’s Twitter-fu seem to be getting weaker and weaker?

    Meaning, that once upon a time most media outlets seemed to take his pronouncements more seriously than they do now.
    No matter how outlandish things like the birther stuff was, they felt compelled to treat it like it was a normal statement from a reasonable normal politician.

    Now it seems more common to either ignore crazy blasts like this, or frame it with contrasting evidence. Like, a statement like this from Obama or Bush would have been front page above the fold for weeks. This will be forgotten by tomorrow morning.

    Is it just my perception?Report