Google News Punting Conservatives

    May 22, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The NewsBusters website has reported on another instance of a website being booted from the sources used by Google News.

All three sites had examples of “hate speech” cited by the Google News help desk as reasons for their banning from the site’s index of news sources. NewsBusters noted how the examples in all three instances were of reports critical of radical Islam and its ties to terrorism.

Google claimed in an email to the New Media Journal that it had received a number of complaints about the site as its rationale for dropping it from Google News. New Media Journal refuted Google’s action:

The fact is, all of the writers mentioned in the complaints are contributors to numerous other websites included in Google Search and Google News. Therefore, the targeting of The New Media Journal is selective and does not constitute a consistent policy applied to all publications by Google.

Further, each of the writers have credentials in the subject area of radical Islam…

In March 2005 and April 2006 respectively, Google News discontinued using The Jawa Report and MichNews for the same reasons. NewsBusters and conservative blog Little Green Footballs have both taken Google to task for the bannings.

From NewsBusters: Yet, in the current instance, what is indeed odd is that some of the supposedly offensive content is still available at Google News even if some of the publishers aren’t.

As such, the three articles that appalled Google News to an extent that necessitated ties between it and The New Media Journal be severed can still be found at other sites by accessing Google News.

That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

And from Little Green Footballs: I think the idea that Google News excludes conservative sites, while probably true, is only a small part of the problem. The real pattern is that the people who pick sites to be included in the index of Google News are biased against sites that are known for being critical of Islam.

They definitely do not purge sites from their news index for Islamic supremacism and jihad ideology much more virulent and hateful than you’ll find at any site mentioned in the Newsbusters article. Two quick examples: Hizballah’s Al-Manar.

Google News definitely appears to have made some kind of dramatic change to its selection algorithms around July 2005. Since that time, news sites with high PageRank scores routinely push lower rated sites off the Google News front page when an assortment of sites report on the same story.

That’s a noticeable contrast to previous iterations of Google News, which seem to have been much more even-handed in displaying small and large site stories on issues of the day.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.