Late Night Open Thread: How Can They Tell?

What passes for ‘real’ among the Repub cognoscenti:

(FiveThirtyEight reports Trump’s current approval rating at 41.9%)

ETA: Bess Levin at Vanity Fair has an explication for the ‘Google stole mah votes!!!’ bullshite Cole mocked this morning:

Seven minutes prior to the tweet, Fox Business aired a segment discussing congressional testimony from psychologist Robert Epstein. In June, Epstein told Ted Cruz that Google’s bias had likely resulted in at least 2.6 million undecideds voting for Clinton, and that in 2020, Big Tech could band together and throw an extra 15 million-odd votes toward whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be. As TechCrunch notes, Epstein puts out “anti-Google editorials almost monthly,” and has been attacking the company since 2012, when Google helpfully warned visitors to Epstein’s website that it had been hacked to serve malware to anyone reading it…

In April, Epstein presented another study in which he argued that Google’s algorithms are biased because their search results are dominated by news from mainstream outlets like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, rather than conservative sites like Breitbart. In other words, Epstein’s basis for saying Google is biased is that it gives more weight to legitimate new sources and less to the since abandoned love child of Steve Bannon and erstwhile Trump sugar daddy Robert Mercer. Using this theory, Epstein tracked “47,300 searches by dozens of undecided voters in the districts of newly elected Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin,” and then claimed that an estimated “35,455 voters who were on the fence were persuaded to vote for a Democrat entirely because of the sources Google fed them.” Yes, people read stories from news outlets that have never had an entire section called “black crime,” and made a decision based on those stories. Or, as Epstein would put it, they were manipulated into voting for a Democrat by Google, a move the site may pull again in 2020…

32 replies
  1. 1
    AnotherBruce says:

    Math is hard.

  2. 2
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    follow up:

    Jonathan Swan @ jonathanvswan
    12h12 hours ago
    A WH official says Ivanka said “dad” not “daddy.”

    I sometimes vaguely wonder who in the WH gets how creepy their relationship is. Probably everybody not named trump
    ETA: also… Mary Hart. Where’d they find her? Why did they look?

  3. 3
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Calling bullshit on anonymous WH official (Stephen Miller off the record sniffed, “Only I get to call him daddy”).

  4. 4
    trollhattan says:

    Former Miss South Dakota? Was there a recall?

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    Next week the 61% will have morphed into the result and he’ll be adding 10% to that.

    Also, what woebegone pollsters came up with the 51% figure? Rasmussen? Breitbart? Pravda?

  6. 6

    @NotMax: I’d assume Rasmussen, if the poll exists at all.

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    In heartless, godless killing machine news, watch this bear help himself to a Tahoe home’s fridge and furnishings.

    Better caper than that poor French guy in Canada.

  8. 8
    prostratedragon says:

    I sometimes vaguely wonder who in the WH gets how creepy their relationship is.

    Everyone in the entire world. Now consider some of those big international confabs, for instance. … It is to shudder.

  9. 9
    Chetan Murthy says:


    Former Miss South Dakota? Was there a recall?

    Oh c’mon. She’s 68. I’m sure she was attractive in that stereotypically midwestern way …. in 1970 (when she won). The point, I’m sure, was that she’s an ex-beauty-queen, and probably can be persuaded to lend her name to this KKKlown KKKar for a modest sum. Whereas any more-recent winners, I’d guess, are looking to their public image and the reputational damage that being associated with Shitler would entail. Even if they don’t actually have to meet His Grabbiness.

    I’m quite sure his donors like ex-beauty-queens.

  10. 10
    Anne Laurie says:


    Also, what woebegone pollsters came up with the 51% figure? Rasmussen? Breitbart? Pravda?

    They told him 41%, so he added 10% because he always does, then added another 10% for the audience (as he always does).

  11. 11
    TS (the original) says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Rasmussen latest has him underwater 44-54. He makes up the numbers.

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    More like Munchausen.


  13. 13
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl: Oh no. Thanks a lot for that image…I’m gonna go puke now.

  14. 14
    Keith P. says:

    @TS (the original): I want to say it was Zogby.

  15. 15
    SRW1 says:

    What’s ten or twenty percent among thieves?

  16. 16
    rp says:

    @trollhattan: 3 star guest rating on Airbnb — leaves teeth marks on Tupperware.

  17. 17
    SFAW says:


    Also, what woebegone pollsters came up with the 51% figure? Rasmussen? Breitbart? Pravda?

    The same firm that counted the votes when the Liar-in-Chief won “Michigan Man of the Year.” I think I heard it was “John Barron’s NOT FAKE Polls.”

  18. 18
    NotMax says:


    When it comes to numbers, more massaging going on than at Cindy Yang’s Florida parlors and the Playboy mansion combined.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Epstein is a hack. This much is obvious.

  20. 20
    Shalimar says:

    I was stuck at a place yesterday morning that had One America News playing, and they had an interview with a Judicial Watch employee talking about new FBI interview reports they had FOIAed involving Bruce Ohr. He was very excited, said they proved Ohr was lying and there was a horrible witchhunt/treason against President Trump.

    I didn’t understand anything he was saying. Not sure what actual new information he had. Not sure how it fit in with all the old push-pin conspiracy facts they just randomly put on the board and string together. It was total nonsense. And I followed this a lot closer than most people.

    Once they start speaking gibberish, it is easy to assume you’re just missing something and they must know what they’re talking about. For an idiot like Trump who wants to believe the current conspiracy, like with this vote-rigging nonsense, it must be even easier.

  21. 21
    Shalimar says:

    @Major Major Major Major: There was a poll the other day, I think the Fox poll that had him at 41% overall, that had approval of Trump’s handling of the economy at 51%. So some people think he is horrible, but the economy is doing well. He took that number because it was the best he could find, then added 10% because he knows people like him, they just won’t admit it.

    Six months from now when the economy is clearly in the shitter and his approval is 28%, he will brag about how his approval was 61% before the Fed fucked everything up. Re-elect him and he will fire those traitors.

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    I was checking out the Ostium Patreon and I found this little nugget for the patrons, but I think it’s not behind a paywall. This is me voice directing my roommate on a short I wrote for the podcast and I didn’t recall that Alex had put it up. It’s kinda funny, even if you hear the whole story 3 times. Just 10 minutes but fun.

  23. 23
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Shalimar: IIRC emptywheel yesterday I believe had a detailed explanation of the FOIA on Ohr, if you’re still curious.

  24. 24
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @ruemara: Congratulations on your naturalization! Now you get to help us unseat the Usurper!

  25. 25
    prostratedragon says:

    Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) has now endorsed the impeachment inquiry.

    She was already a co-sponsor of a bill to require campaigns to notify the feds of foreign donations or attempts to contact or influence their campaigns.

  26. 26

    Mary Hart is often seen in the front row behind home plate at Dodger games. Guess this explains why I didn’t spot her on the telly tonight.

  27. 27
    Shalimar says:

    @Tenar Arha: @Tenar Arha: thanks. interested is too strong a word, but I am curious and bored enough to go read it.

  28. 28
    Baud says:


    That’s big. She’s from a swing district and recently gave an interview where she was explaining why impeachment wasn’t a priority for her. If she’s on board, then many others should follow.

  29. 29
    PST says:

    @Baud: Lauren Underwood is indeed a big deal. She is a black woman representing a prosperous, overwhelmingly white, suburban district that skews Republican and had always been represented by white men (like Dennis Hastert). She’s lived in the area since she was a child and understands her constituents. Until recently, she has said that she thought an impeachment inquiry would hurt Democrats in her district. I have to believe that she must be sensing a change in attitude among her neighbors.

  30. 30
    jonas says:

    Millions of people switched their votes to Clinton because of the FTFNYT’s coverage? No other outlet in the world flogged the Buttery Males lede more than the Grey Lady. Trump should be on his knees daily thanking that paper for making him president and Maggie Haberman for aiding and abetting the ridiculous charade that he’s a real president who’s not at all mentally decompensating before our eyes.

  31. 31
    jonas says:

    @Anne Laurie: IIRC, didn’t he also try to pretend a few years back that Trump Tower had ten more floors than it really does by counting the underground parking garage and utility rooms? To paraphrase A Christmas Story, where other artists work in oils or clays, Trump works in bullshit. It’s his medium.

  32. 32
    EriktheRed says:

    @Chetan Murthy: I just know it was nice seeing her face during games 4 and 5 of the 2016 NLCS, watching the Cubs tie and then take the lead over her beloved Dodgers in the series.

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