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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Grandpa googled and and got confused

by digby

Chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said this morning that they're looking into doing something about this.

If you're wondering what that's all about, it originated with a right wing PJ Media blog post:

The Daily Beast explains how it made its way to Trump:
The PJ Media story caught the eye of Fox Business pundit Lou Dobbs, who tweeted it at Trump on Sunday, and on Monday night ran a Fox Businesssegment on the story. The segment featured an interview with Diamond and Silk, the Trump promoters who falsely claimed that Facebook “censored” them without attempting to contact them. (Emails from Facebook reveal that the social media company made multiple attempts to reach the duo.)

Dobbs, Diamond, and Silk all have an ear with the president, who puts Dobbs on speakerphone for Oval Office meetings and repeatedly references Diamond and Silk segments in the White House, The Daily Beast previously reported.

During the Monday night Fox Business segment, Diamond and Silk likened the Google search results to lynching, telling Dobbs that “instead of using a noose, what they’re doing is using algorithms and a form of censorship to choke people’s platforms out, and to keep people from doing a search when they want to search for our beautiful president.”

Trump’s tweet appeared to reference the story, but implied a foggy understanding of how web searches work. Someone trying to find news about Trump by searching “Trump News” would be better served just Googling “Trump” or performing the search under Google’s News tab.

Conservatives have spent the past two years decrying what they claim is a concerted censorship campaign by Silicon Valley. Actual studies have revealed that social media companies like Facebook either show no evidence of political bias against conservatives, or that conservatives enjoy a larger platform than liberals on Facebook. But less-rigorous surveys, like one published this weekend on a conservative news site, have found their way to Trump’s television via Fox News, leading Trump to apparently threaten action against Google.

No one should be surprised that the King of the Birthers would grab on to any silly wingnut conspiracy theory for self-interested political purposes. But he is the president and it's still bad.

This one is just an extension of the old "liberal media" playing the refs tactic. They are hoping to pressure the social media platforms the same way they have pressured the mainstream media for decades into bending over backwards to "prove" they aren't being biased --- and therefore, ending up being biased.

This is how "her emails" became an obsession at the New York Times --- and hundreds of other such examples of the MSM desperately trying to prove they are fair by always second guessing whether they are being too "unfair" to the right and offering them enough of an edge to get away with murder. Trump is so extreme that they've been unable to be totally "fair 'n balanced" but they do keep trying.

Here's an example from today's New York Times:

Good headline for Trump, right? He's just taking matters into his own hands and fixing it like he promised. he even reiterated his promise that Mexico would pay for the wall.

Third paragraph in:

In other words this is all bullshit.

This relentless yelling at the media inevitably has an effect. They have never shown any real reluctance to fighting it. And I'd guess the social media platforms having no sense that they have a role to play in democracy or an obligation to society will be even more subject to it.

It will be very interesting to see how this goes.

Update: Greg Sargent sees another dimension to this. It's even worse.