No one is off limits when it comes to a Donald Trump feud. In the president’s ongoing battle with the FAKE NEWS MEDIA, he’s now citing a questionable report about search engine bias to suggest that Google is “rigged” against him.
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
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
In a short thread Tuesday, the president tweeted that Google search results for “Trump News” were only turning up “BAD” news from “Fake News Media” (which he has used to refer to almost all news outlets except conservative Fox News, The Drudge Report and Breitbart). He added that conservative and Republican media is “shut out” by the search engine and that it was “suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.”
He also posited that Google’s practices may be “illegal?” and said the “very serious situation-will be addressed.”
First of all, what the heck is he talking about? Did he just search “Trump News” and come to these conclusions? No, he has a “source” for the info, but it’s not exactly credible.
Trump is actually referring to an article by PJ Media — which CNN notes was discussed on the Fox News network Monday night. The article, entitled “96 Percent of Google Search Results for ‘Trump’ News Are from Liberal Media Outlets” is based on an oversimplification of a media bias chart created by patent attorney Vanessa Otero and a Google search for the term “Trump.”
“I expected to see some skewing of the results based on my extensive experience with Google, but I was not prepared for the blatant prioritization of left-leaning and anti-Trump media outlets … Not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results.”
First, the article assumes that publications like CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are all left-leaning. On the very same chart Bolyard seems to be working from, all those publications are much closer to the center than most of the “conservative media” she cites later — “National Review, The Weekly Standard, Breitbart, The Blaze, The Daily Wire, Hot Air, Townhall, Red State.” In fact, most of them appear in the “propaganda/contains misleading info” portion of the original graphic.
Second, her investigation was hardly in-depth. As demonstrated by CNN, a quick search of “Trump News” is going to return different results based on the day, the computer and the person looking. Your search right now will be different from the one screen-shotted in the CNN piece which is different from the one we’re currently looking at while writing this (below).
Google responded to the president’s tweets with a statement about their algorithm and purpose — getting information to people as quickly as possible.
“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,” the statement reads, “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.”
The response was clearly not satisfactory to the president (or he didn’t see it) because he continued to target the tech giant Wednesday afternoon with a video claiming that Google “promoted President Obama’s State of the Union address on its homepage” but when Trump took office, “it stopped.” He tagged the video #StopTheBias.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
A team at CNBC confirmed using archived information that the screenshots of the Google homepage are accurate but it is unclear if the video was made by the president’s staff or a third party.
Google also addressed this latest controversy and explained that the address given by Obama in 2009 and the address given by Trump in 2017 were not technically State of the Union addresses (because of a tradition that exempts presidents who were just sworn in from having to do official SOTU only weeks later) and therefore neither were promoted. In 2018, Google says they did promote Trump’s SOTU.
“On January 30th 2018, we highlighted the livestream of President Trump’s State of the Union on the google.com homepage,” the Google statement reads. The Verge notes that there was a screenshot of the Google homepage linking to Trump’s 2018 SOTU posted to a Reddit thread during the time of the speech in January.
Since then, Trump has continued to go after CNN, NBC and other mainstream media in a Twitter tirade that has been ongoing for about two days straight now.