25 Jun 2016

Jobs That Murphy Doesn’t Want to Do Himself

Brexit 8 Comments

No, I’m not talking about open borders. Instead I’m talking about this absurd WaPo article on how dumb those British #Brexit supporters were. You’ll notice:

  1. They don’t try to show whether most of the Google searches could have been done by non-voters. (I’m not saying this is true; David R. Henderson has some thoughts.) But the WaPo piece didn’t bother to even establish that link in the argument.
  2. They don’t discuss the possibility that the Remain voters might be totally ignorant and doing the searches, even though they were 48% of the total voters.
  3. They cite ONE PERSON who says she regrets voting for exit.
  4. They pepper the article with links to related analyses, making sure you don’t think this outcome is in any way a validation of Trump.

So here’s what I’d like from you guys: See how many “ironic” Google search histories you can find, that would make the anti-Brexit people uncomfortable. For example, was there a surge in “Who is Barack Obama?” after he won the first election, or “Who is Hillary Clinton?” after she bragged about being the first female candidate in a major party, or “Who is Ali?” after he died, etc., or “What is Prop. ___?” for a state-level referendum that progressives loved the outcome of, etc.

But please also provide the screenshot of the Google spike (and a link) so I can mimic the people who are mocking those Neanderthal British voters. (I don’t see such an image in the WaPo article, but they are floating around Facebook.)

Whoever I deem as the best contributor to this post, I will PayPal you $25–You know, a little something for the effort.

Happy hunting!

P.S. If you guys find anything really funny, I will use it in one or more columns I’m writing on Brexit. But to warn you, depending on the outlet, it might not sound right for me to directly credit you.

8 Responses to “Jobs That Murphy Doesn’t Want to Do Himself”

  1. iggy says:

    Not exactly what you are looking for, but you’ll probably enjoy this article. It attempts to put the search in context by showing historical Google search trends, noting:

    ‘“What is the internet?” was the second most popular question on Google in 2014, implying people were more curious about the exact details and function of the web, rather than learning about something they didn’t know existed’


  2. Zack says:

    Apparently there was a big spike in “Who is Mitt Romney” the day after the 2012 election.


  3. Bob Murphy says:

    Zach, by the way, that article is great! It is exactly the kind of analysis I was looking for, though no smoking gun to turn the tables on the people making fun of the British voters.

  4. Marc Cohen says:

    I like that there are so many pages on “how to connect to the internet.” I can only think f you don’t have a connection you go the library or something to look it up.

  5. Tel says:

    Only about 1 in 4 of the young people in the UK actually bothered to vote, so the presumption is a lot of them are not politically active, and basically don’t care.

    Yeah, I know we had outrageous fear mongering about all the crazy stuff that was going to happen on a Brexit vote, now Twitter and Facebook are full of headless chickens running every which way… but the sun did come up on Friday morning, despite the risks!

    I might also point out that search on “What is the EU?” was microscopic compared to other search items.


    If you use the “All Categories” and compare common search terms like “pizza” as against “What is the EU?” you find that this supposed search spike was pretty tiny and irrelevant in the scheme of things. However the term “Brexit” peaked substantially higher than “pizza” which I think tells you what most people were really searching for.

    The WaPo article is merely an example of how the loosers were looking for something to make themselves feel good, rather than anything of any real substance. I guess that sells newspapers, although one by one all the mainstream papers are going broke, and I won’t be crying about that.

    • Tel says:

      Sorry I made a spelling blunder there…



  6. JJ says:

    If neither of the previous articles pointed this out yet, the Telegraph actually looked up the raw number of “What is the EU” searches. About 1000.


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