Google Maps Out Plan to Drive Away Right
Google doesn’t want to search the web’s content — it wants to control it. That’s not news to conservatives, who’ve been the company’s favorite target of political bias since before President Trump. We were told it was all in our imaginations, that Google would never manipulate its programs to promote one political view over another. Well, that’ll be a lot harder for the company to say with a straight face now that its emails are public.
Thanks to the Daily Caller, Americans are getting an honest look at just how “impartial” Google is. The answer? Not very. Turns out, the post-election cryfest in 2016 was just the beginning of an organization-wide brainstorm on how to suffocate the conservative message. The blockbuster messages are just another example of how low Google is willing to sink to strangle even legitimate news outlets from participating in the national conversation. When CFO Ruth Porat promised they would “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to advance [Google’s] values,” she wasn’t kidding.
In this latest scandal, the debate wasn’t if to bury conservative news outlets — but how. Google engineer Scott Byer suggests singling out Breitbart and The Daily Caller first. If they were questioned, the group decided, they’d explain that both were “opinion blogs,” not genuine media sources. “I think we have a responsibility to expose the quality and truthfulness of sources,” Byer writes, “because not doing so hides real information under loud noises.” How many times, he fumed, “did you see the Election Now Card with items from opinion blogs (Breitbart, Daily Caller) elevated next to legitimate news organizations? That’s something that can and should be fixed,” Byer wrote.
“Beyond that,” Byer urges, “let’s concentrate on teaching critical thinking. A little bit of that would go a long way. Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years — demographics will be on our side.” When another engineer pushed back, insisting that “right-wing folks… go to those sources because they believe the media doesn’t do its job,” Byer had an idea. Instead of just blocking out Breitbart and Daily Caller, Google would make sure their information was “link[ed] to critiques of those sources.”
Fortunately, the “fact-checking” idea backfired in a major way at the end of last year. Google executives were forced to call it off when it was obvious that the only people being fact-checked were conservatives — and most times, for things they never said. In January, the company announced it would drop the feature, which would have been an even bigger victory of conservatives if it meant they were ending all of their search manipulations.
But judging by the lead-up to this year’s midterms, not much has changed. This spring, Google was back on the apology circuit for search results that linked the California Republican Party to Nazism. Earlier this month, the company got another black eye for elevating a Wikipedia entry on the National Federation of Republican Women to the top spot, even though it mocked the organization as the National Federation of Republican “Enablers.” Then there was the sudden association of President Trump with Google image results for “idiot.”
A few years ago, people might have believed these were accidents. But by now, we’ve all seen the fallout of Google’s algorithms, followed the money, listened to executives’ disgust for conservatives, or worse, been censored ourselves. Online political bias isn’t a delusional conspiracy theory of the Right. It’s real. “Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honor freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) pointed out, “and it is Congress’s responsibility to the American people to make sure these tech giants are transparent and accountable in their practices.” Goodlatte was looking forward to hearing CEO Sundar Pichai’s explanation for his company’s inconsistencies at this week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, but because of the passing of President George H.W. Bush the hearing has postponed.
But don’t think Google is off the hook, Goodlatte told reporters. “We expect it to occur [next week], and it’s very, very important that it does occur.” When a company that oversees 90 percent of the world’s search traffic has a vendetta against half of America, “it’s disturbing,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned. The American people have a right to know if they’re being treated fairly — and a right to relief when they’re not.
Originally published here.
The Rift of the Magi…
There aren’t just wise men on top of Newaygo’s elementary school, there are wise people inside it! And in the small Michigan town of 2,000, that’s a big relief this Christmas. When secularists pushed her to take down the display, Superintendent Peg Thelen Mathis pushed right back.
“Public schools are institutions of knowledge — not temples of religious ideology,” the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists (MACRA) complained. “‘Three Wise Men’ following a ‘star’ is clearly designed to convey the Christian nativity story, while the ‘Star of David’ is the preeminent symbol of Judaism.” Mitch Kahle, a member of the group says they’ve asked the school to remove the scene, because, he claims, it’s public property.“
"We understand that these situations sometimes will make people upset, but just like in Grand Haven where their nativity scene had been up for 70 years, that’s now been gone for five years. The city council voted to remove it, and no complaints about it now.” If you don’t remember the Grand Haven story, atheists actually complained that the nativity was “bad for the environment.” In the end, the only environment that was threatened was Christians’!
Now, the Grinches are back at it, demanding that a scene without Jesus, Mary, or Joseph come off the school in a guilt-by-association church-state witch hunt. To her credit, Superintendent Mathis isn’t backing down. Although she promises to “navigate the complaints fairly and legally,” she half-joked that she’s not aware of a law against the depiction of “three non-Christian middle eastern men on camels who are seeking wisdom.” On Facebook, she took the argument to the other side, explaining:
“Newaygo Public Schools has a legitimate secular purpose for the display. We are both upholding the community’s tradition of celebrating a public holiday and attempting to point towards the importance of wisdom, knowledge, and open-mindedness. They’ve been described as the scientists of their time. The "wise men” are found in secular and other religious traditions outside of Christianity. Finally, there is no evidence that they were Jewish or Christian before their travels and there is nothing noted in the Christian Bible to indicate anything about any religion they practiced after their travels.“
Not surprisingly, the town is solidly in Mathis’s corner. "Leave it alone,” seemed to be the rallying cry of most people reporters have interviewed. Let’s hope MACRA’s listening. As far as the community is concerned, it’ll take a lot more than these atheists to crush this crèche.
Originally published here.
All the Best of George Bush
When the world says goodbye to George H.W. Bush this week, they won’t just be saying goodbye to a great man, but to an era. “Bush 41,” who on Friday followed his wife Barbara who had died earlier this year, was the last president of the World War II generation — and, as anyone who knew him would tell you, embodied everything great and courageous about it.
Over his 94 years, George Bush had plenty of titles — fighter pilot, oilman, congressman, diplomat, CIA chief, vice president, and even president — but the ones he was almost certainly proudest of were husband, father, and grandfather. For all of his accomplishments, the close-knit family he and Barbara built together over seven decades is one of the most admirable and cherished things about him. Regardless of the pressures or demands of political life, he and the First Lady always put family first. For 73 years, they were married in a genuine union of love and respect. Until Barbara’s passing in April of this year, it was the longest marriage between a president and first lady in American history.
I had the opportunity to meet President Bush and interview Barbara in my first big television interview as a reporter in Louisiana. What struck me about them is the same thing that strikes a lot of people about the Bushes — how down to earth they were and how much they loved their country. As his son, George W. Bush put it, “The mission was not George H. W. Bush, the mission was: how do we serve the United States? How do we help the United States? How do we make the United States better? Which is very important in establishing a culture that can succeed.”
“I am guided by certain traditions,” the then-nominee said during his speech to the Republican National Convention. “One is that there’s a God, and He is good and His love, while free, has a self-imposed cost.” Part of that cost he went on to explain was our love for our fellow man. His faith journey started to get serious traction in his missions over the Pacific Ocean when he was just a young man.“ After his plane was shot down by the Japanese, he spent his early life wondering, "Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?” Turns out, an awful lot.
FRC’s Ken Blackwell, who served first as the elder Bush’s undersecretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and later as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, called the country’s 41st president a “true American patriot, who lived his life in the service of others. Over the years, his generosity of spirit was evident in his personal handwritten notes and unscheduled telephone calls to check on you and your family. He was a world leader who preferred to light candles than waste time cursing the darkness. I will always cherish our conversations about faith, family, country music, baseball, and service in the love of country.”
We send our prayers and condolences to the entire Bush family, recognizing that the world didn’t just lose a president, it lost a truly good person.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.