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You can always count on some dope to misspell exactly what you need


One thing we like about Donald Trump is that he's always teaching us new things about our world and how it really works, like how Mexico's government secretly controls which people cross the border without documents, or how thousands of imaginary Muslims danced in the streets of New Jersey as the World Trade Centers fell, or how crime rates are the exact opposite of what all the statistics say they are. So we shouldn't be at all surprised he's got some funny ideas about the interwebs, too, claiming at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, that a nonexistent "Google poll" has him winning, while Google the search engine is also hiding all the bad news about Hillary Clinton:

A new post-debate poll, the Google poll, has us leading Hillary Clinton by two points nationwide. And that's despite the fact that Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton. How about that?

WaPo's Phillip Bump was a bit puzzled by that "Google poll" business, since as a political reporter, he likes to think he knows the polls.

Google doesn't and hasn't polled over the course of the campaign, as far as I was aware. Nor was I familiar with anything recent alleging that Google was "suppressing" anything.

As it turns out, this is classic Trump: Running full steam ahead with any sketchy evidence that seems like it might be helpful to him. Here's each thing he was referring to, so you can judge for yourself.

The "Google poll" appears to be a cumbersome reference to a Google Consumer Survey conducted by Independent Journal Review. The survey did show Trump with a 1.7-point lead. It also showed Clinton winning the debate by a 52-to-48 margin. (Independent Journal Review is a sort of right-leaning Buzzfeed.)

Bump then goes on to explain how the Google Consumer Survey polling methodology works, noting that they're the source of most of those "polls" you have to take before you can read an article on a website. Their accuracy is OK at best, but whatever you call 'em, they're not really scientific polls. But whatevs, Donald, sure, you're winning "the Google Poll" for a rightwing website, good for you.

As for the idea that Google is "suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton," that one's harder to suss out, since Trump didn't specify which bad news about Hillary Clinton he meant. We searched "bad news about Hillary Clinton" (without quotes) and not surprisingly, got a whole bunch of stories about Donald Trump's claim that Google is suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton:

So that was nice and circular. Buzzfeed notes that last year, the head of Google's search division, Amit Singhal, denied the company would ever interfere in electoral results, though that's exactly what you'd expect a conspirator to say, now isn't it?

“From the beginning, our approach to search has been to provide the most relevant answers and results to our users, and it would undermine people’s trust in our results, and our company, if we were to change course,” Singhal wrote.

We would have asked someone from Bing to comment if we could even remember where to find Bing.

At WaPo, Bump went into a bit more detail, citing a conspiracy theory that circulated earlier this year, claiming that Google's autofill search aid wouldn't finish "hllary clinton cri-" with "criminal," which seems like a pretty lousy conspiracy considering all the results you'll get if you type out the full phrase. Google acknowledged "that its algorithms did filter out disparaging phrases after finding that it 'too often predicted offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries about people,'" but that its algorithms are also being constantly updated to reflect common searches -- so now, "hillary clinton cri--" brings up this automatic suggestion:

Ultimately, there's not anything to the notion that Google is hiding bad news about Hillary Clinton, but don't try to tell Donald Trump that: Breitbart ran a story saying the search engine is in the tank for Hillary, so he knows it's true.

Just to check, we googled "hillary clinton murder" and found no end of stuff proving that Hillary is indeed a serial killer. On the other hand, we had to type out the full word "murder" to get those results, so clearly Google is trying to hide something.

[Brandon Wall on Twitter / Buzzfeed / WaPo / Breitbart]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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