Latest 'Google Whistleblower' To Prove Anti-Conservative Bias Doesn't Prove Anything And Appears To Be Bigoted Conspiracy Theorist

from the pick-your-heroes-carefully dept

So, we had just pointed out that the "fired ex-Googler whistleblower" whom everyone was pointing to last week as "proof" of "anti-conservative bias" at Google, didn't look so good when you got to see the details (which included statements that certainly read to be pretty supportive of white nationalists, rather than support for, say, the free market and lower taxes). You'd think that peddlers continuing to push this theory with the next person would take more time in the vetting process. But... of course, if it's Project Veritas we're talking about, it appears the only vetting they like to do is "can we spin this the way we want so that idiot suckers will buy it?" And that's what's happened.

The usual folks in our own comments who insist there's anti-conservative bias at Google have been yelling at me for the past few days, claiming that I'm "ignoring" this proof because I just can't take it or something. Or... more accurately, because it's total garbage. First, let's talk about the "whistleblower." If you thought the last guy was bad, well, get a load of Zach Vorhies:

What O’Keefe’s video leaves out, though, is that his much-hyped insider is not as credible as he claims. On social media, Vorhies is an avid promoter of anti-Semitic accusations that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by “Zionists.” He’s also pushed conspiracy theories like QAnon, Pizzagate, and the discredited claim that vaccines cause autism.

Seems credible, no?

Okay, okay, but maybe these "950 documents!" really prove something. Well, rest assured, they did not. As Matthew Feeney from the noted leftist bastion (that's sarcasm for the slow ones), the Cato Institute pointed out, there's "a whole lot of nothing" in the documents. One folder is labeled "Censorship" and all it has are screenshots of emails without any context. It shows someone sending an email to Google CEO Sundar Pichai arguing that Breitbart shouldn't get to use AdSense, but that's it. One random employee -- out of 100,000 or so employees sending an email to the CEO? And there's no evidence that AdSense has barred Breitbart (trust me, we'd have heard about it).

One of the leaked documents also isn't new and is completely misrepresented. Project Veritas had already posted it back in June and totally misrepresented it then. They claim it shows "election interference" regarding Ireland's election in which abortion rights were up for referendum. Project Veritas -- because they have to misrepresent basically everything -- claimed it proved that YouTube was trying to influence the election by suppressing searches on phrases like "abortion is murdering." What they leave out in all the hype and bluster, is that the document also contains many, many phrases on the other side of the debate, including "repeal the 8th," "pro choice," "woman's right to choose" and more. In other words, the document is not YouTube putting its finger on the scales, but, just as the company explained at the time, an attempt to have the top results on YouTube be focused on more authoritative neutral content providers, rather than those pushing one side or the other. That's... kinda reasonable? And also the very thing that "conservatives" keep demanding of the company -- to be "neutral."

Indeed, so much of these documents seem to be evidence of Google trying to figure out how to deal with liars, trolls, and propagandists peddling nonsense. And PV turns that into "proof" of anti-conservative bias. Sorry, dudes. Unless you're admitting that "conservative" only means liars, trolls and propagandists peddling nonsense...

Amusingly, among the documents, which were released the very same day a laughably bad complaint was filed against YouTube for discriminating against LGBTQ+ folks, was a document about how YouTube was trying to improve its machine learning algorithms to better handle such content.

Most news sources are not covering this -- not because they're avoiding it, but because it's bullshit. Of the few that have, as the Next Web notes, there's nothing particularly damning anywhere. Well, unless you're going to take documents totally out of context.

For example, among those that PV is hyping up is a "news black list for Google Now." Google Now was a service that Google used to have for Android but has since gotten rid of. It was partly a news app that would try to surface stories. Notably, a bunch of the top links are to Google's own URLs, but hey, you don't hear Project Veritas mention that. Then, as you go down the list, most of the first batch are to torrenting and other sites that Hollywood would likely label "pirate" sites. It's odd/weird that TorrentFreak (a news site, not a torrent site) is on the list, but that happens. The White Supremacist site Daily Stormer is also on the list.

But the part that has PV and its idiot sycophants up in arms are other Trump-fluffing, nonsense peddling sites that they like. Except, what they miss is that these are sites that have high user block rates. In other words, when those sites did show in Google Now, users were quick to block them. Because they're nonsense, propaganda peddling sites that anyone with more than a few hundred brain cells knows are bullshit. So this isn't Google blocking them. It's a huge number of Google users.

In other words, this is a huge self-own. Rather than demonstrating bias from Google, it's showing that the public is not interested in this nonsense.

PV also plays up the following screenshot, which it describes as: "Another newly published document titled “Fringe ranking/classifer: Defining channel quality” lists an example ranking of various news sites, including CNN and FOX News."

No context is provided for that weird screenshot. But even taking it at face value, it, uh, does not suggest anything regarding anti-conservative bias. It shows that this is a "work in progress" and they're trying to figure out way to deal with "fringe" sites that aren't quality. Isn't that a good thing? And note that the top publication in that list is the Wall Street Journal -- which, last I checked, is considered pretty damn conservative. Also, pretty far down the list -- below Breitbart and RT America -- are Huffington Post and the Young Turks, two sites generally considered pretty left leaning.

So... if anything you might read into this that it's showing anti-liberal bias? I mean, that is if you actually took one out of context screenshot that appears to just be an internal presentation of a "work in progress" rather than any evidence of any actual thing.

In short, this is a giant nothingburger that doesn't show any actual evidence of anti-conservative bias. But it does show a real desire by fringe peddlers of idiotic nonsense to keep peddling misleading nonsense, pushed by folks who are not exactly credible. Someone in our comments once joked that Project Veritas only made sense if you took the first word to be a verb instead of a noun -- and even then I think they fail. They don't project anything truthful at all. It's a chop shop propaganda house that's not even good at that.

A year ago, Zach Graves, a conservative who works for a conservative policy organization, wrote a post for us saying that Conservatives need to stop crying wolf on tech bias. It appears that almost no one is listening.

Filed Under: anti-conservative bias, bias, james o'keefe, project veritas, propaganda, zach vorhies
Companies: google

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  1. icon
    nasch (profile), 21 Aug 2019 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think people mix up The National Enquirer with Weekly World News. The former is as you say trash, but generally reports on real stuff. Not usually important stuff, but real - what celebrity they got photos of sunbathing nude, and the like. Weekly World News is the one with completely made up stuff like bat boy and alien abductions.

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