“Bloodbath” at Google

Show Notes

Election integrity usually revolves around ballot access, the handling of absentee ballots, and voter ID. But beyond the issues of “ballot harvesting,” there’s another means of tampering with elections – Big Tech censorship, much of it done by Google, the dominant search engine on the internet.

A report from the right-leaning Media Research Center alleged 41 instances of “election interference” by the search engine since 2008. It listed examples going back to 2008 of Google censoring content critical of candidates supported by the company, changing “auto-fill” suggestions, and deliberately down-ranking news stories from sources on the political right while up-ranking those from sources on the left. The question now is: how much of this sort of meddling is Google preparing to do for this Fall’s presidential election?

Bobby Burack

Another example of Google’s meddling comes from Bobby Burack, a culture and politics writer for Outkick.com, who  joins Peter Schweizer and Eric Eggers on the latest episode of the Drill Down podcast. Burack recently wrote an article documenting how Google changed the definition of the word “bloodbath” after former president Donald Trump used it in a campaign speech to refer to damage to the US auto industry from cars made in Mexican factories.

“Yeah, what a banner week for Google! Two Sundays ago, you typed in the words Donald Trump and bloodbath and the entire first page sent you to articles that take his quote out of context. They don’t mention that he was referencing the automotive industry, the headlines to NBC, CNN, CBS, they all make it sound like he was trying to provoke a civil war,” Burack tells the hosts.

One example still found intact today is this New York Times headline proclaiming, “Trump Says Some Migrants Are ‘Not People’ and Predicts a ‘Blood Bath’ if He Loses.”

The Creepy Line

Listeners to The Drill Down may have heard our interview last year of Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist who has been tracking Google’s algorithmic shenanigans for many years. Epstein has studied what is called the “search engine manipulation effect.” He analyzes how Google’s curated search engine results, what he calls its “ephemeral interactions,” can be documented and monitored. But he told Peter and Eric that it is difficult to regulate or notice the very subtle things Google does, and when, and to whom.

Peter and Epstein were both part of a documentary called The Creepy Line that was released in 2018 and also featured Dr. Jordan Peterson. That film looked at the subtle and not-so-subtle influences at work on all the major online platforms, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (prior to its purchase by Elon Musk). The movie is still available to stream on Amazon.

Burack’s story and other reporting on the MRC study, have largely been ignored by many of the largest media companies, which puzzles Burack.

“That this is not a bigger story is an indictment of our press,” Burack says.