This is a rush transcript from “Life, Liberty & Levin,” September 8, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello America, I’m Mark Levin. This is “Life, Liberty & Levin.” Dr. Robert Epstein. How are you, sir?
ROBERT EPSTEIN, AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST, PROFESSOR, AUTHOR, AND JOURNALIST. Very good. Thank you.
LEVIN: America, this is probably one of the most important shows I will have ever done. So I’m hopeful you’ll watch the entire hour. It involves our Republican system of government. It involves our vote and the manipulation of the vote, and the outcome for the next presidential election, the effect it had on the past congressional elections. So this is a very, very important program as far as I’m concerned.
And it involves you, my friend. You are the Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, former editor-in-chief of “Psychology Today,” Founder and Director Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts.
You received your PhD in Psychology in 1981 from Harvard University, just to get some of your bona fides out there. I want to read something to you. Something you wrote a few years back in POLITICO.
You said, “There are at least three very real scenarios whereby Google, perhaps even without the leaders’ knowledge, could shape or even decide the election next year …” the presidential election. ” … whether or not Google executive see it this way, the employees who constantly adjust the search giants algorithms are manipulating people every minute of every day.”
“The adjustments they make increasingly influence our thinking, including it turns out voting preferences.”
You add that, “Our research leaves a little doubt about whether Google has the ability to control voters. In laboratory and online experiments conducted in the United States, we were able to boost the proportion of people who favored any candidates by between 37 and 63 percent after just one search session.”
“The impact of viewing biased rankings repeatedly over a period of weeks and months would undoubtedly been larger.”
Google is massive. Almost everybody uses Google. It’s a search engine. How are they able to manipulate the vote? What are they doing?
EPSTEIN: If Google’s search results for any reason, are biased to favor one candidate or one party for any reason; that will shift a lot of opinions about that candidate, and that will shift a lot of votes. And in fact, it can shift millions of votes.
It doesn’t matter whether an employee or an executive at Google did this deliberately. The algorithm alone, a computer program could be doing this and it will still affect the outcome of elections.
LEVIN: Why? Are they trying to affect the outcome of elections?
EPSTEIN: I don’t know for sure. Now, there have been a number of leaks recently from Google. There have even been some whistleblowers who are saying that Google, you know, has a very strong political bias internally, that they lean left, which I tend to do as well, that that they are deliberate in wanting to affect it.
LEVIN: I’m interested in what you found. Are they biased or not? What happened — let’s be very specific. What happened in 2016, the presidential election?
EPSTEIN: In 2016, I set up the first ever monitoring system that allowed me to look over the shoulders of a diverse group of American voters. There were 95 people in 24 states. I looked at politically oriented searches that these people were conducting on Google, Bing and Yahoo. I was able to preserve more than 13,000 searches and 98,000 web pages.
And I found very dramatic bias in Google search results — not Bing or Yahoo, just Google’s — favoring Hillary Clinton whom I supported strongly. But the point is, I reported that. I reported what I found and that level of bias was sufficient, I calculated, to have shifted over time, somewhere between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Hillary without anyone knowing that this had occurred.
LEVIN: And so how does that get accomplished? These algorithms that are changed and adjusted and so forth. But to have that significant of an impact, obviously, someone or something wants someone to win and someone to lose. For the person who goes on Google, how is that manifested?
EPSTEIN: Well, if you go on to Google, and you type in anything that’s election related, and that could be hundreds of things. You type in immigration or you type in the wall, or, you know, you can think of all the things that that are related to elections. The point is, you end up with some search suggestions that are flashed at you, as you’re typing.
We now know that those search suggestions have a very, very powerful effect on people and that they alone can shift opinions and votes dramatically. And then search results appear below. And the point is, if there’s a bias in them, which means if a search result that’s high up on the list, if that takes you to a web page that makes one candidate look better than another.
Well, if you’re undecided, and you’re trying to make up your mind, what we’ve learned is that information posted high in Google search results will shift opinions among undecided people dramatically, because people trust Google, and they especially trust high ranking search results. That’s why 50 percent of all clicks go to the top two items.
LEVIN: Is that what Google did?
EPSTEIN: Well, again, I can’t say what Google did, but I can tell you what we found. We found a very dramatic pro-Hillary Clinton bias on Google, but not the other search engines. And in all 10 search positions on the first page of search results, that’s quite dramatic.
LEVIN: So it’s on Google, people go on Google. It is front loaded, pro- Hillary and anti-Trump. Well, then who does it if Google doesn’t do it? It just happens? Somebody has to put information in for information to be prioritized.
EPSTEIN: What Google tends to say in these kinds of situations is, it’s an organic phenomena, you know, organic, like organic food, like organic is good. So it’s organic, meaning it’s all generated by users. It’s entirely the fault of users. And the fact is —
LEVIN: Is it?
EPSTEIN: Well, the point is, that’s nonsense because in the controlled experiments I run, I determine, you know, which candidate is favored in search results or I can mix up the search results, so they favor neither candidate.
So Google actually has total control over what users see. So to blame this kind of bias on users, it just makes no sense.
LEVIN: Now, pedestrians like me, that’s the result of these algorithms, these models that are set up. People set up algorithms, don’t they? Algorithms don’t set themselves up.
EPSTEIN: Well, people create the algorithms to begin with for sure, and as one of the recent whistleblowers from Google has said, “We make our algorithms do exactly what we want them to do.” But the fact is, Google also acknowledges adjusting their algorithm at least 600 times a year.
And we also now know for sure, because of leaks that Google uses blacklists internally, and that they also do ranking, de-ranking, fringe ranking. They’re constantly making manual adjustments to what we see. So they have control whether they deny this or not, they have complete control over what we see.
And if there’s bias, favoring one candidate, or one party, or one dog food, the fact is they have control over that.
LEVIN: has Google in terms of the company, the executives shown political bias in the past?
EPSTEIN: Well, it’s a matter of record that their top executives and most of their employees have a very strong, liberal bias. I sympathize with that. I just — I don’t like the fact that that that bias is getting expressed in a way that’s really, in my opinion, interfering with the free and fair election.
But typically, 95 percent or more of donations from Google go to Democrats. The former head of Google, Eric Schmidt, offered in writing to run Hillary Clinton’s tech campaign in 2016. Hillary Clinton’s Chief Technology Officer is a woman named Stephanie Hannon, right before she came over to Hillary’s team, she was an executive at Google and Google and Alphabet, its parent company, they were Hillary Clinton’s largest donors in 2016.
LEVIN: Let me just say here for the record, so the audience knows that the CEO of Google wants to come on this program and sit in this chair and have a 40-minute discussion with me. You’re more than welcome. I have no problem with equal time. In fact, I would encourage it.
Let’s continue here, 2018, the Democrats picked up a whole bunch of seats. Did you monitor that, too?
EPSTEIN: We did some monitoring in 2018. This time, we had more than 160 field agents. We deliberately focused — because it’s midterm election — on three staunchly Republican districts in Orange County, California thinking perhaps maybe, if there is something going on with search results, maybe we’d pick it up in those counties.
In all three counties, the Democrat won, so they were flipped. And we measured substantial bias — liberal bias — in the Google search engine, but not Bing or Yahoo. That’s very, very important that we’re finding in one search engine, but not the others. And that level of bias, easily — very easily — could account for the win margins that occurred in each of those districts.
And even more problematic here, if that level of bias had been present in Google nationwide —
LEVIN: For all the districts.
EPSTEIN: For all the races, that would have shifted to Democrats upwards of 78.2 million votes, now, that’s spread across many races. But the point is —
LEVIN: It is enormous.
EPSTEIN: Well, there are two big problems here though, besides the fact that it’s a lot of votes, this is occurring subliminally. It’s occurring without people’s knowledge. People can’t see the bias in search results. I can’t see it.
LEVIN: Let’s stop here. Subliminally — I want to pick up on this and that people can’t find the bias. This is a very important point. This is where they’re probably, people who disagree are going to say, “Oh, it’s subliminal.” I want to get into this because it’s a very important point.
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LEVIN: So Dr. Epstein, where we left that was you said these things can be subliminal, there’s no paper trail. So how do we know they’re taking place?
EPSTEIN: If someone in my staff brings me some search results that they’re getting ready to use in an experiment because I run a lot of controlled randomized experiments, I can’t even tell that there’s bias, I can’t even see it.
I mean, how would you know? You’d have to click on all the links and see what the web pages look like, and then you’d have to make sense of it all. It’s virtually impossible.
So when we do big studies, it’s typical that 95 percent of the people in the study can’t detect any bias, even though we’re showing them highly biased search results.
So that’s exactly the number we got, for example, on a national study we did in India in 2014. We had more than 2,000 undecided voters throughout India participating in our study. And we shifted opinions and votes exactly as we have done in other studies in other countries. But 95.5 percent of the people in the study couldn’t see the bias.
Now, here’s where this really gets creepy. The very, very small number of people who can see the bias, they shift even farther in the direction of the bias. So merely being able to see it doesn’t protect you from it.
LEVIN: And there’s no paper trail. So Google can say, “Well, this gentleman is all well and good. He’s very interesting, but prove it,” but you prove it through outcomes. You prove it through tracking it. You can track it, right?
EPSTEIN: Well, normally that’s right, there is no paper trail. That’s exactly right. In fact, internally at Google, we know this from an e-mail that leaked to “The Wall Street Journal” last year, they call these ephemeral experiences.
LEVIN: What does that mean?
EPSTEIN: Well, that means you know, you type in a search term. While you’re typing, they’re flashing some search suggestions at you. Those are very powerful manipulators.
And the point is, they’re just flashing at you then they disappear, then search results appear, and you — maybe you click on something and then that disappears. It’s ephemeral. It’s short-lived, it’s not stored anywhere.
LEVIN: Can’t put your hands around it.
EPSTEIN: Nope. And once it’s gone, you can’t go back in time and reconstruct it. And they know this. I mean, we know this now from some of the leaks. They understand the power that ephemeral experiences have to shift opinions on anything and to shift voting preferences.
2016, I built the first ever system to preserve ephemeral experiences. And what I was preserving in the months leading up to the presidential election was search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Basically, by looking over people’s shoulders with their permission and capturing that stuff before it disappears.
If you don’t have monitoring systems in place, all of these ephemeral experiences, they’re gone. So the programmers, the executives, they understand how this works full well. But the point is, once these ephemeral experiences have an impact on people, they disappear, and authorities cannot trace them.
LEVIN: 2016, Google went full out, if I understand your writings for Hillary and against Trump. But Trump won. Now, how do you explain that?
EPSTEIN: Well, I don’t think Google or Facebook or these other tech companies actually went full out, I think they held back. There are a number of things that I study now beyond search results, which can also be used to shift opinions and votes to flip elections.
There are many indications that a lot of these techniques were not being used. I think they were over confident. They were certain that Hillary Clinton would win.
I think they were more aggressive in 2018. I have some evidence to support that. And I’m pretty sure in 2020, they will go all out. In other words, they will use every possible technique.
LEVIN: Now when you say in 2020, they’re going to go all out to defeat Trump and promote whoever the Democrat nominee is. All out means, like right up into Election Day pushing these agendas.
For example, if they put on their site, as they did in the past, “Go vote.” Instead of Google, right? They had “Go vote.” What was that? 2016?
EPSTEIN: It’s 2018.
LEVIN: 2018. They had “Go vote.” And people were praising them, you know, like the League of Women — vote, “Wow, look at that. It’s a public service, go vote.” You don’t think that was a public service at all? Why?
EPSTEIN: Oh, no, I know, for sure, it wasn’t. I actually published an article on which I included all the calculations showing that this was actually just a vote manipulation. And that’s something I’m now studying and understanding better.
But the point is that, you know, that would have — let’s put it this way, Google knows full well that more Democrats and left-leaning people like myself, use Google than Republicans do. They know that. They know the exact numbers.
So they know that if they present a “Go Vote” prompt, they know that’s going to have a bigger impact on Democrats than Republicans. And I calculated that that that one manipulation in 2018 gave at least 800,000 more votes to Democrats than to Republicans.
But that’s an example of another kind of very, very subtle manipulation, which on its surface doesn’t even look like a manipulation. It looks like a public service.
LEVIN: This is fascinating to me. I want to pursue this a little bit more. If Google knows really who is using Google, and they know a lot about each and every one of us. And they know put “Go Vote” because we got more Democrats and liberals who use Google than Republicans and conservatives. That means their ability to try and effect the outcome of election is quite scientific. I want to pursue this with a little bit more. We’ll be right back.
AISHAH HASNIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Live from “America’s News Headquarters,” I’m Aishah Hasnie. The death toll in the wake of Hurricane Dorian is rising. The official toll in the Bahamas now stands at 44, but officials there warned that number could go up as Security Forces are searching the most devastated areas.
Hurricane Dorian is also blamed for five deaths in the southeastern portion of the U.S. and also one death in Puerto Rico. The storm struck Eastern Canada today with hurricane force winds, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people in Nova Scotia.
Meantime, President Trump facing yet another primary challenger, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, becoming the third Republican announcing he is running for the Oval Office.
He announced it on “Fox News Sunday.” He is joining former Illinois Congressman, Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Governor, Bill Weld.
I am Aishah Hasnie, now back to LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN.
LEVIN: Dr. Epstein, I want to read another couple sentences from something you wrote in POLITICO. “In laboratory and online experiments conducted in the United States, we were able to boost the proportion of people who favorite any candidate by between 37 and 63 percent after just one search session. The impact of viewing bias rankings repeatedly over a period of weeks or months would undoubtedly be larger.”
So this is ubiquitous. And the more they do it, obviously, the more they’re able to tip the scale toward one candidate or another, correct?
EPSTEIN: Yes. And I have no doubt that this is occurring this very moment. But without monitoring systems in place that capture ephemeral experiences, there’s no way to know, but I’m sure right now, for example, they’re having an impact on who is registering to vote. They’re going to impact the way the primaries go. They’re going to have a big say in who gets nominated by the Democrats.
So they they’re using this power — at least that’s what the whistleblowers and the leaks suggest — they’re using this power that I’ve been studying for a long time now. They’re using it. And it’s not just on Election Day, they’re going to be using it every single day leading up to Election Day.
LEVIN: So you’ve been doing these studies for some time now. And then these leaks or these whistleblowers come out of Google, and you’re going, “Wait a minute. That’s what my studies show.”
EPSTEIN: Actually, what I really say is, “I told you so.”
LEVIN: And so how does the average person who goes on Google defend themselves against this?
EPSTEIN: Well, first of all, you have to be insane if you’re actually using google.com, you have to be nuts. I mean —
LEVIN: I use Bing personally, but that’s just me.
EPSTEIN: All right. Well, I’m saying because, you know, we haven’t even talked about the surveillance problem, the massive tracking that’s occurring, and the censorship problem and so on.
What I’m saying is you shouldn’t even be using google.com, you shouldn’t be using Gmail because that’s a surveillance too. You shouldn’t be using Chrome. That’s another surveillance tool. So you know, but the point is, what do you say to people who are using these things, you say? Look, just the surveillance issue alone should make you think twice about it.
LEVIN: But when you go into Google.
LEVIN: Let’s talk about Google users. People want to use Google. It’s a free country, you use whatever you want. They want to use Google as a search engine, they go into Google. With the information you’re giving us, just be alerted to this fact. But if you’re alerted to this fact, that’s not the problem. It’s the people who maybe aren’t watching the show who are unaware that they’re being psychologically manipulated in this sense being pushed in one direction, or another being fed sort of limited information or biased information, and that sort of thing. You know, they used to call this propaganda. Is that a proper word or not?
EPSTEIN: This goes way beyond propaganda or any kind of manipulation that’s ever existed before in human history. For example, you start to type a search term in that box, the search box. In fact your viewers can do this right now.
My research shows two things. And I’m going to tell your viewers how they can test this. My research shows that just by manipulating the suggestions they flash at you as you’re typing, we can, in our experiments, turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split with no one having the slightest idea that we’ve manipulated them. And we’re doing this just by manipulating the suggestions we flash.
You’re being manipulate from the very first character you type, and if you doubt that, type the letter A, because if you type the letter A, there’s a pretty good chance that when those suggestions flash at you, in the first, second or third position, you’re going to see Amazon. You might even see it in two positions, or all three, because Amazon is Google’s largest advertiser. And Google sends more traffic to Amazon than any other traffic source.
These are business partners and Google wants you to go there, and they’re constantly nudging you with these suggestions. And then when they finally show you that list down below, believe me, they know what they’re doing. They understand the power that those search suggestions have, the search results, the answer boxes that they’re now showing.
LEVIN: So we’ve gone from a search engine to something much, much more much, much bigger than that. And I’ll tell you what’s odd to me. We know more about Exxon-Mobil’s activities inside and outside that company, what they do day to day. We know more about most major corporations in this country, what they do day to day, they really don’t hide it anymore.
We really don’t know about these tech companies. We really don’t know how Google functions. I watch these hearings. These Members of Congress, some of them are kind of you know, knuckleheads, but some of them are serious people trying to get information. You don’t get information. And it’s not just Google, it’s other companies, too, Facebook and so forth.
It’s as if they have built a cone of secrecy or that they are bubble corporations and you can’t break into what they are doing and how they are manipulating. And so here you are, one guy, maybe with a handful of helpers from the outside monitoring this, limited budget, limited personnel and you’re able to because of your background and experience and years and years of working in on this kind of a subject, you’re able to find a significant amount of evidence showing the manipulation. I want to pursue this a little more when we get back.
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LEVIN: Dr. Robert Epstein, this isn’t just happening in the United States, right? It is happening in other countries. You have an election coming up in Israel on like 10 days with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I take it, the same people or groups of people at Google who do not like President Trump probably do not like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, since they’re very supportive of each other. Is there reason to believe they’re probably doing the same thing in that election?
EPSTEIN: They have the ability. They have the power. It is hard to imagine based on the recent leaks that they’re not exercising that power. The problem, though, is without monitoring systems that are capturing ephemeral experiences, we will never know.
LEVIN: And the other thing that strikes me as I talk to you is, they are having an enormous effect on elections. True?
LEVIN: And they’re going to go all out and 2020 against Trump. True?
EPSTEIN: I believe they will —
LEVIN: Based on past performance?
EPSTEIN: I believe they will, but I am no longer obsessed with the deliberateness part of it because even if it’s just their algorithm, that shift does —
LEVIN: Passive aggressive is still aggressive. Right? Okay. So their algorithms are based on 2016, they are anti-Trump.
EPSTEIN: Their algorithm —
LEVIN: Let me put it — they’re not pro-Trump.
EPSTEIN: It’s hard to imagine that their algorithms or their employees are pro-Trump, it’s hard to imagine that.
LEVIN: And they can do more in 2020, you said earlier than they did in 2016.
EPSTEIN: Oh, yes. Back then I was only studying one kind of subtle manipulation. I’ve identified since then about a dozen. I’m studying seven of them right now. So there are a lot of things they can do.
LEVIN: These whistleblowers that you talk about. Have any of the whistleblower said, “You know, Google is moving to the right. They are moving conservatives. They like Trump.” Have you found any there?
EPSTEIN: No, in fact, the people that they’ve been firing or the people who have quit have all been conservatives.
LEVIN: Have you found any information in your monitoring that demonstrates that they’re anti-Democratic Party or anti-liberal?
EPSTEIN: Quite the contrary, no.
LEVIN: Okay. So 2020 could be tough if Google gets away with this, because you’re saying they can affect millions and millions of votes. Correct? In a close election, that could tip the balance?
EPSTEIN: Well, I’ve calculated in 2020 that they’re actually about 15 million votes on the line. That’s how many votes that could be shifted, possibly, by these very subtle, largely invisible online techniques.
LEVIN: The Federal Election Commission. You know, whether you believe in these campaign laws or not, they exist. They have a problem with some of them, but there they are and you’ve got to comply with them.
And individuals are limited in how much they can give in a primary $2,700.00 max; in a general $2,700.00 max — total of $5,400.00. You have these huge PACs that companies can set up for advocacy purposes, individual set of PACs as well that have significant amounts that you can donate, but there are still limits.
But Google can influence the election, as you were saying, in a significant way. And they don’t have to report anything to the FEC. What would you suggest that the value of their influence in American dollars might be?
EPSTEIN: Well, if they would allow companies to buy the influence that they are actually having, it would be in the billions. It’s priceless, really, because again, they can do things on a massive scale that no company, no PAC, no campaign can do, and they can do things invisibly that’s hard for a campaign to do. And they can do things in a way that leaves no paper trail.
LEVIN: So, kind of hit and run tactics. Hit and pull out, hit and pull out, hit and pull out — no paper trail, unless somebody like you says, “Caught you.” Takes a picture of it effectively. “Caught you,” takes a picture, picture, picture, picture and says, “Okay, now I have you. Now, I have a trail for you.” But is anyone doing it other than you?
EPSTEIN: To my knowledge, and I’m — this is sad to say, but to my knowledge, at the moment, there’s just me and my helpers and my associates. That’s it.
LEVIN: And when we come back, I have a question for you, for 2020. How are you or anybody else planning to monitor this? And I don’t mean just the election. But I mean, the lead up to the election so the American people can know what’s taking place. We’ll be right back.
LEVIN: Dr. Robert Epstein, so the 2020 elections is coming. It’s not that far away. Other than you, really nobody is monitoring this, maybe nobody even knows how to monitor this.
In the lead up to the election, given the consequences, given the effect on the electoral process and Google is probably out there, you suggest not only gearing up, but doing their thing right now. What do we do about this?
EPSTEIN: Well, I’m hoping to build a very large, very comprehensive monitoring system, much larger than the systems I built before. And to monitor a wide variety of phenomena, e-mail suppression that’s going on now, all kinds of throttling on YouTube, shadow banning on Twitter, news feeds that are highly biased, you know, demoting certain news sources, promoting other news sources.
So I’m hoping to build a very big system with a very large number of field agents in all 50 states to keep an eye on what’s happening and to use artificial intelligence to spot these shenanigans as they are occurring. Now, if I’m unable to build that system, we will never know why the winner won. We will never know.
LEVIN: Let me ask you this, though. The media, the mass modern media, their reception to your findings. How’s that been?
EPSTEIN: Well, until a couple of weeks ago, the reception was pretty good. But a couple of weeks ago, President Trump tweeted about some of my findings from 2016. He got a couple of things slightly wrong. Then Hillary Clinton tweeted back at him saying my work had been debunked and that it was all based on 21 undecided voters.
LEVIN: So it sounds like she got everything wrong.
EPSTEIN: Oh, I mean, blatantly wrong, and then —
LEVIN: But you’re a Hillary supporter.
EPSTEIN: A huge Hillary supporter. I have a signed letter from Bill Clinton up on the desk over my wall. I mean, I’m a huge supporter of the Clintons. And then mainstream media, which is my media, they all took up her message.
And I mean, at this moment in time, I mean, I’m a pariah. I don’t understand how this happened. It makes no sense to me. But that’s what’s happened.
LEVIN: Well, I can tell you why that happened. Because you’re trying to bring an objective analysis to our electoral process and a very odious influence on that process that is under the radar. And if we had real news operations in these other networks, they would take what you’ve been reporting, your studies and so forth, and they have some investigative reporters, they have enormous resources: “The New York Times,” “Washington Post” and these other entities. If they would pursue it, they would look into it, but they don’t.
So they attack you, that’s the Democratic Party press. That’s what I call it. You might want to rethink your ideology. But all of that said, if you find more and more information, and yet, the information is censored by the mass media, that makes it much more difficult.
Although you could go into the new media, right? Around the old media, around network TV, cable TV, and newspapers and so forth, go into social media, which I think is where your word is spreading, quite frankly, and certain websites and so forth and put the message out, correct?
EPSTEIN: I could, but you know, it’s very, very hard to fight these companies. Because, I mean, Facebook controls the largest social media platform that there is. So if Facebook wants to suppress your message, they can. Google controls 92 percent of search worldwide. I mean, the next largest search engine controls 2.5 percent of search.
So the point is, if major media or the tech industry wants to suppress my findings, which are by the way, rock solid; very, very carefully done. If they want to suppress my findings or they want to criticize me in some way, they’re very hard to fight.
LEVIN: Have you been invited on “Meet the Press”?
LEVIN: Have you been invited on this week?
LEVIN: Have you been invited on any of the major Sunday shows?
LEVIN: Have you been invited on any of the major news — network news program?
LEVIN: I just wanted to understand that. We’ll be right back.
LEVIN: So Dr. Epstein, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that the lead up to the 2020 election, the 2020 election that Google is going to do even more and more intensely what it was doing in 2016? Is that correct?
EPSTEIN: Absolutely. That’s my belief.
LEVIN: That’s your belief. Are you monitoring them now?
LEVIN: You’re going to start monitoring them again soon?
EPSTEIN: I hope to.
LEVIN: Yes. And as you do this every month, every few months, and so forth, you’ll make public what you’re finding, as best you can?
LEVIN: Okay, because I’m concerned if you’re not monitoring them, nobody is monitoring them. You might have unique skills to monitor them where others don’t have those kinds of skills.
Is it a little surprising to you being a liberal and supporting Hillary that you’ve received the kind of reception you have from the media and other Liberal Democratic Party friendly outlets?
EPSTEIN: Surprising is not quiet the word.
EPSTEIN: Upsetting. My head is spinning — that kind of thing.
LEVIN: Because you are being personally attacked?
EPSTEIN: I’m being personally attacked. And I have had a spotless reputation as a scientist and scholar for almost 40 years. My work meets the highest standards of scientific integrity, always.
LEVIN: Now, here’s your work with charts, a zillion footnotes. It spells out — you’re more transparent than Google — page after page after page. Do you really think anybody in the media has read this other than me?
EPSTEIN: I doubt it.
LEVIN: Right. Do you think — do you think Don Lemon has read this? Do you think Andrea Mitchell has read this?
EPSTEIN: You know, that was from the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” It’s one of the top journals in the world, and that paper you’re holding in your hand has been downloaded from their website more than 200,000 times, and least as of last year, it was ranked in the top one percent of all scientific papers in all fields. But no, I don’t think many people have read it.
LEVIN: And why do you think the media won’t read it?
EPSTEIN: I think there’s a message here they don’t want to hear. I mean, at the moment, the tech companies — Google especially — are supporting people who lean left, supporting Democrats, which is why I like those, I like Democrats. But you know, you don’t know who they’re going to support next year. That’s the problem.
I mean, what I’m saying is, look, I think we should put democracy, our nation, the free and fair election ahead of any party or candidate. That’s my message. That’s why I’ve been speaking out.
LEVIN: The title of the report for America is, “The Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) and its Possible Impact on the Outcomes of Elections.” You can download this on Bing, by the way, if you want to check it out. It’s been a great pleasure. Thank you, sir.
EPSTEIN: Thank you.
LEVIN: And good luck, and keep up the work because we’re going to monitor this, too. It’s very, very important. See you next time on “Life, Liberty & Levin.”
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