If this Trump-vs.-Google thing blows up into something more than just another presidential rant — and it might, considering that the White House is “taking a look” at it and that Google on Tuesday joined Facebook and Twitter in receiving an Oval Office warning to “be careful” — then one day we can perhaps reminisce about how this chart started it all:
The illustration from Sharyl Attkisson, which appears to be a simplified version of Vanessa Otero’s viral bias chart, was a focal point in a post by PJ Media that apparently inspired this Trump tweet alleging that Google GOOG, -0.86% GOOGL, -0.83% manipulates its search to highlight liberal sites:
Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Trump didn’t cite any evidence in his tweet, but he did mention that 96% statistic.
He might have gotten the heads-up from Fox Business pundit and staunch Trump backer Lou Dobbs, who talked about it on his show Monday and also tweeted a link to the story:
Tech Giants Are Crushing Conservatives: 96 Percent of Google Search Results for ‘@realDonaldTrump‘ News Are from Liberal Media Outlets https://t.co/V6FBgEA0fI #Trending via @pjmedia_com #MAGA #TrumpTrain #AmericaFirst #Dobbs
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) August 26, 2018
Or, as Drudge claims, maybe it was this tweet:
THE DRUDGE LINK THAT STARTED IT ALL… https://t.co/DvhFxn4mZe
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) August 28, 2018
This is nothing new, of course. Google parent Alphabet, along with Facebook FB, -0.68% and Twitter TWTR, -1.11% , are frequent targets of attacks for alleged suppression of conservative voices. Trump tweeted about it a few days ago:
Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people. Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
Google says it’s not the case. Here’s the company’s statement:
“When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds. Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey also recently denied any such manipulation.
“We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is … more left-leaning,” he told CNN in an interview. “But the real question behind the question is, are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? And we are not. Period.”
Dorsey and other tech executives are slated to appear on Capitol Hill next week to discuss, among other things, “algorithms and content judgment calls.”
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