President Trump issued a warning to Google on Tuesday, telling the search giant that political bias was affecting their news results and that he would address the findings. Though Trump did not go into detail as to how and when his administration would take action on the problem, the mere fact that he mentioned it at all may be enough to stir things in the right direction. At a time like this, when Silicon Valley companies from Facebook to Twitter are facing accusations of liberal bias, the last thing Google wants is the suspicion that their search results are playing favorites.
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media,” the president tweeted. “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.”
In a second tweet, Trump wrote: “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!”
The president has made the left-wing bias of the tech world one of his chief preoccupations in recent weeks, coming out strongly against censorship and insisting that social media sites like Facebook are responsible for “silencing millions of people.”
His latest attack on Google comes in the wake of a stunning PJ Media report on the site’s search results, which demonstrated in stark terms how bad the problem really is.
From the report:
Is Google manipulating its algorithm to prioritize left-leaning news outlets in their coverage of President Trump? It sure looks that way based on recent search results for news on the president.
To test the premise, I performed a Google search for “Trump” using the search engine’s “News” tab and analyzed the results using Sharyl Attkisson’s media bias chart.
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. Looking at the first page of search results, I discovered that CNN was the big winner, scoring two of the first ten results. Other left-leaning sites that appeared on the first page were CBS, The Atlantic, CNBC, The New Yorker, Politico, Reuters, and USA Today (the last two outlets on this list could arguably be considered more centrist than the others).
Not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results.
This was bad enough, but PJ Media actually found that the problem got worse the deeper into the results they traveled. Even if conservative-leaning sites weren’t represented in the top ten, surely you would expect to see them in the TOP 100! Alas, even when expanding their analysis to the first 100 items in the results for “Trump,” PJ Media found only 3 Wall Street Journal links and 2 Fox News results. And that was it.
The mainstream press, of course, is characterizing Trump’s tweet in such a way that they can dismiss it with mockery. Oh, he’s just “rage-Googling” himself and not finding what he wants to see. Oh, he’s just trying to distract from all his problems by lashing out an impartial algorithm. Very few, if any, of these reports bothered to link the PJ Media story, which is undoubtedly what set the president off.
Then again, if they were depending on Google to find the report…