Trump news is the latest term in the president’s claims of media bias. President Donald Trump has increased the rhetoric against big tech companies, alleging in a tweet on August 28, 2018 that Google searches are rigged against him and conservatives. Google adamantly denies that politics influences its search results.
Trump claimed that the search term “Trump news” turns up negative stories about him because he argues the search results favor legacy media sites, such as CNN, which he has repeatedly flogged as biased 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…….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!”
The president’s war of words against the news media has morphed in recent days into rhetoric directed at big tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, which conservatives have accused of treating them unfairly.
Here’s what you need to know:
Google Denies There Is Political Bias In Its Search Results for ‘Trump News’ & Other Topics
In a statement, Google denied the president’s claims about its search results and “ranking” algorithms.
The Google statement reads: “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.”
It’s not only Google; Facebook and Twitter have also drawn the ire of conservatives in recent months for perceived bias. Trump has previously accused Twitter of “shadow banning” prominent conservatives so they don’t show up in search results.
According to CNN, Trump doubled down on his claims against Google later in the day, accusing the tech giant of “taking advantage of a lot of people.” Speaking of Google, Facebook and Twitter as a group, Trump further claimed that the companies were “treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful,” CNN reported.
Some people on social media pointed out that Fox News stories often come up when you Google the search term “Trump news.”
Mercedes Bunz, a senior lecturer at King’s College London, told BBC News, that she doubted Google’s search results were manipulated due to politics.
“Google’s news algorithm is optimised for actuality and proximity of an event but it is generally not optimised to look for political orientation,” she said to the British news site. “However, it has a tendency to rank web pages higher that a lot of people link to. For news, this does not seem to have changed with Google’s last update of its search algorithm, which was rolled out on 1 August.”
A Conservative Site Claimed That ‘Right-Leaning Sites’ Don’t Come Up Much
However, Trump’s criticism dovetails with the previous ire that he’s directed toward legacy media sites, the so-called traditional media that may have a tendency to rank higher for the reasons cited by Bunz but which Trump doesn’t feel present him fairly. In other words, if you don’t think the legacy sites are biased, as Trump does, you won’t have the same issue he does with the search results that often highlight them – and vice versa.
At 10:30 p.m. on August 28, 2018 in the Midwest, the top three stories under the term “Trump News” were stories by CNN, Fox News, and USA Today.
The conservative site PJ Media may have gotten Trump going with its report that “conservatives and Trump supporters have for the last several years questioned whether Google was deprioritizing conservative news sites, hiding them from users who utilize their search engine.”
The site says that some conservative sites have reported that their traffic has dropped. The site’s author performed a search for news related to Trump and found that “not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results.”