Hillary Clinton's claim that a study on the impact of alleged bias in Google searches has been "debunked" has been met with strong pushback from the study's author, a self-described Hillary supporter who has since issued a series of tweets defending his study and detailing how Clinton "has long depended on Google for both money and votes."
Citing findings in a report presented to Congress in July, President Trump tweeted Monday that his victory over Hillary Clinton might have been "even bigger than thought" — if not for Google having "manipulated" millions of votes for Clinton, who lost by a significant number of electoral votes but won the popular vote by 2.9 million.
"Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election!" Trump tweeted Monday (the study estimated as many as 10.4 million influenced). "This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!"
Clinton responded by claiming the study was "debunked" and based only on responses from 21 undecided voters. "The debunked study you're referring to was based on 21 undecided voters," Clinton — who has blamed her loss on a variety of factors, many of which flirt with the conspiratorial — tweeted Monday. "For context that's about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted."
As The Daily Wire reported Tuesday, The Washington Post was quick to fact-check Trump's tweet, and generally agreed with Clinton's skepticism about the study.
But the study's author, psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein — who describes himself as having been a "strong" supporter of the Clintons for decades — isn't taking Clinton's "debunked" claim sitting down. In a series of posts, Epstein first defends his study then details the various connections between the 2016 Clinton campaign and Google (h/t Twitchy).
Epstein begins by noting that Trump didn't accurately summarize his findings (formatting revised for clarity): "I've never said that Google deliberately 'manipulated' the 2016 election, but I measured substantial pro-Hillary bias in Google's search results by preserving & analyzing 13,207 election-related searches & the 98,044 web pages linked to those searches. ... The level of pro-Hillary bias I found in Google's search results — absent on Bing & Yahoo — was enough to convince between 2.6 & 10.4 million undecided voters to vote for Hillary. [Donald Trump] said 16 million; that's wrong."
He then underscored that Google's intentions are irrelevant. "It doesn't matter whether the bias in Google search results was deliberate or not. Once it appeared — which it did at least 6 months before the election — it began shifting opinions & votes without people's knowledge & without leaving a paper trail."
Epstein then pivoted to evidence of significant Clinton-Google connections, stating Clinton has "long depended on Google for votes." A few excerpts (formatting adjusted, tweets below):
"Now, switching to Hillary Clinton: This is going to hurt me to write, because I & my whole extended family have been strong supporters of the Clintons for decades. I have a framed, signed letter from Bill on the wall near my desk. But Hillary should be ashamed of herself."
"Hillary has long depended on Google for both money & votes. Her largest donor in 2016 was Alphabet/Google. Her Chief Technology Officer during the campaign was Stephanie Hannon, a former Google exec. And then there's Eric Schmidt, longtime head of Google ..."
"A leaked email showed that in 2014 Google's Eric Schmidt offered to run Hillary's tech campaign (see pic). In 2015, Schmidt in fact funded The Groundwork, a highly secretive tech company, the sole purpose of which was to put Clinton into office."
"About 96% of 2016 campaign donations from Google employees went to Hillary. And Elan Kriegel, Hillary's Chief Analytics Officer, credits his 2012 tech team, informally supervised by Eric Schmidt, for half of Obama's win margin: nearly 2.5 million votes."
That done, Epstein asked why his supposedly "debunked" work was being taken so seriously by so many important institutions.