Study: Google bias in search results; 40% lean left or liberal
In order to assess how fairly search engine results portray political candidates and controversial issues, we collected over 1,200 URLs ranking highly in Google.com for politically-charged keywords such as “gun control”, “abortion”, “TPP”, and “Black Lives Matter”. Each URL was then assessed for political slant by politically active individuals from both the left and right. Finally, we used CanIRank’s SEO software to analyze how each URL compared in dozens of different ranking factors to determine whether Google’s algorithm treated websites similarly regardless of their political slant.
Among our key findings were that top search results were almost 40% more likely to contain pages with a “Left” or “Far Left” slant than they were pages from the right. Moreover, 16% of political keywords contained no right-leaning pages at all within the first page of results.
Our analysis of the algorithmic metrics underpinning those rankings suggests that factors within the Google algorithm itself may make it easier for sites with a left-leaning or centrist viewpoint to rank higher in Google search results compared to sites with a politically conservative viewpoint.
In our sample set of over 2,000 search results, we found that searchers are 39% more likely to be presented information with a left-leaning bias than they are information from the right.
But for some keywords, the search results are even more egregious. Does it make sense, for example, that someone researching “Republican platform” should be presented only the official text of the platform and seven left-leaning results highly critical of that platform, with zero results supporting it?
For other controversial keywords like “minimum wage”, “abortion,” “NAFTA”, “Iraq war”, “campaign finance reform”, “global warming”, “marijuana legalization”, and “tpp”, no right-leaning websites are to be found among the top results.
Search results for keywords like “Hillary Clinton seizures” and “Hillary Clinton sick”, on the other hand, were dominated by right-leaning websites and YouTube footage.
The proportion of results with a left-leaning bias increased for top ranking results, which typically receive the majority of clicks. For example, we found that search results denoted as demonstrating a left or far left slant received 40% more exposure in the top 3 ranking spots than search results considered to have a right or far right political slant.
Lots of really good comments, and the author hangs around to respond.
Conventional wisdom holds that the Republicans had a “southern strategy” by which they won over the Racist South™, or at least all the racists in the South. Anything presented to the contrary is called “revisionist history”. But maybe it’s the conventional wisdom that needs to be revised?
A friend of mine referenced this video, saying “Dennis Prager paid a black woman to say it, so it must be true”. Either he has a strange criterion for assessing truth, or he believes black women can will say anything for money. I’m sure he’d call it “revisionist history”.
This is from The Hill:
The myth of Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’
BY DINESH D’SOUZA, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 08/23/18
The Democratic Party’s claim to be the party of the good guys, while the Republicans are the party of the bad guys, hinges on the tale of Richard Nixon’s so-called Southern Strategy. According to this narrative, advanced by progressive historians, Nixon orchestrated a party switch on civil rights by converting the racists in the Democratic Party — the infamous Dixiecrats — into Republicans. And now, according to a recent article in The New Republic, President Trump is the “true heir, the beneficiary of the policies the party has pursued for more than half a century.”
Yes, this story is in the textbooks and on the history channel and regularly repeated in the media, but is it true? First, no one has ever given a single example of an explicitly racist pitch by Nixon during his long career. One might expect that a racist appeal to the Deep South actually would have to be made, and to be understood as such. Yet, quite evidently none was.
So progressives insist that Nixon made a racist “dog whistle” appeal to Deep South voters. Evidently he spoke to them in a kind of code. Really? Is it plausible that Nixon figured out how to communicate with Deep South racists in a secret language? Do Deep South bigots, like dogs, have some kind of heightened awareness of racial messages — messages that are somehow indecipherable to the media and the rest of the country?
This seems unlikely, but let’s consider the possibility. Progressives insist that Nixon’s appeals to drugs and law and order were coded racist messaging. Yet when Nixon ran for president in 1968 the main issue was the Vietnam War. One popular Republican slogan of the period described the Democrats as the party of “acid, amnesty and abortion.” Clearly there is no suggestion here of race.
Nixon’s references to drugs and law and order in 1968 were quite obviously directed at the antiwar protesters who had just disrupted the Democratic Convention in Chicago. His target was radical activists such as Abbie Hoffman and Bill Ayers. Nixon scorned the hippies, champions of the drug culture such as Timothy Leary, and draft-dodgers who fled to Canada. The vast majority of these people were white.
Nixon had an excellent record on civil rights. He supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was an avid champion of the desegregation of public schools. The progressive columnist Tom Wicker wrote in the New York Times, “There’s no doubt about it — the Nixon administration accomplished more in 1970 to desegregate Southern school systems than had been done in the 16 previous years or probably since. There’s no doubt either that it was Richard Nixon personally who conceived and led the administration’s desegregation effort.”
Upon his taking office in 1969, Nixon also put into effect America’s first affirmative action program. Dubbed the Philadelphia Plan, it imposed racial goals and timetables on the building trade unions, first in Philadelphia and then elsewhere. Now, would a man seeking to build an electoral base of Deep South white supremacists actually promote the first program to legally discriminate in favor of blacks? This is absurd.
Nixon barely campaigned in the Deep South. His strategy, as outlined by Kevin Phillips in his classic work, “The Emerging Republican Majority,” was to target the Sunbelt, the vast swath of territory stretching from Florida to Nixon’s native California. This included what Phillips terms the Outer or Peripheral South.
Nixon recognized the South was changing. It was becoming more industrialized, with many northerners moving to the Sunbelt. Nixon’s focus, Phillips writes, was on the non-racist, upwardly-mobile, largely urban voters of the Outer or Peripheral South. Nixon won these voters, and he lost the Deep South, which went to Democratic segregationist George Wallace.
And how many racist Dixiecrats did Nixon win for the GOP? Turns out, virtually none. Among the racist Dixiecrats, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was the sole senator to defect to the Republicans — and he did this long before Nixon’s time. Only one Dixiecrat congressman, Albert Watson of South Carolina, switched to the GOP. The rest, more than 200 Dixiecrat senators, congressmen, governors and high elected officials, all stayed in the Democratic Party.
The progressive notion of a Dixiecrat switch is a myth. Yet it is myth that continues to be promoted, using dubious case examples. Though the late Sens. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and John Tower of Texas and former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott all switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP, none of these men was a Dixiecrat.
The South, as a whole, became Republican during the 1980s and 1990s. This had nothing to do with Nixon; it was because of Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” The conservative appeal to patriotism, anti-communism, free markets, pro-life and Christianity had far more to do with the South’s movement into the GOP camp than anything related to race.
Yet the myth of Nixon’s Southern Strategy endures — not because it’s true, but because it conveniently serves to exculpate the crimes of the Democratic Party. Somehow the party that promoted slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and racial terrorism gets to wipe its slate clean by pretending that, with Nixon’s connivance, the Republicans stole all their racists. It’s time we recognize this excuse for what it is: one more Democratic big lie.
I have a couple of friends who seem to run into people who hate them and are determined to make life hell for them. I haven’t had the heart to tell them that if all those people are absolute bastards, what is the one thing they have in common?
If only there were some easy way to distinguish between the decent and well-intentioned and the callous and hateful. Perhaps we should consider the philosophical maxim of Raylan Givens: “If you get up in the morning and you meet an a**hole, you met an a**hole. If you meet nothing but a**holes all day, you’re the a**hole.”
Social-justice warriors take note.
Two people are thinking of moving into a small town. They ask one of the locals how the people are. He asks them how the people are in the place they’re leaving. Then he tells them the people in his town are just the same.
The late Dr. Jerry Pournelle described what he called “The Iron Law of Bureaucracy” as follows: In any bureaucratic organization, there are two kinds of bureaucrats: those whose interests are the reasons for the bureaucracy, and those whose interests are the bureaucracy itself. The Iron Law states that in every case the second category will […]
It had to happen sometime. The Southern Poverty Law Center has made so many vile, unjustified, hysterical, and hateful accusations over the years, it was bound to pay a price. When it did, the bill due was $3.375 million. Such was the amount the SPLC agreed to pay the British Muslim Maajid Nawaz and his think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, after smearing them in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” Nawaz, a former Islamist radical turned whistleblower who calls for the modernization of Islam in columns for the Daily Beast and on London talk radio, had threatened to sue the SPLC for defamation — traditionally and properly a difficult case to make in U.S. courts. Yet the SPLC caved spectacularly.
The Nawaz settlement was the most damaging episode yet in what has become an increasingly dire situation for the SPLC’s floundering image. Image, painstakingly built since its founding in 1971, is its chief asset. Image is what keeps the dollars flowing in. The Right has long been calling attention to the SPLC’s questionable tactics, but these days even Politico, The Atlantic, and PBS are running skeptical pieces about the saints of the South. Politico wondered whether the SPLC was “overstepping its bounds” and quoted an anti-terrorism expert, J. M. Berger, who pointed out that “the problem partly stems from the fact that the [SPLC] wears two hats, as both an activist group and a source of information.” David A. Graham of The Atlantic wrote that the “Field Guide” was “more like an attempt to police the discourse on Islam than a true inventory of anti-Muslim extremists, of whom there is no shortage, and opened SPLC up to charges that it had strayed from its civil-rights mission.” PBS interviewer Bob Garfield suggested to its president that the SPLC is increasingly seen “not as fighting the good fight but as being opportunists exploiting our political miseries” and that this was tantamount to killing “the goose that lays the golden egg.” In 2015 the FBI dropped the SPLC from its list of resources about hate groups.
Lately the SPLC has taken on an increasingly desperate, self-parodying tone, denouncing such mainstream figures as the psychologist, author, and PJ Media columnist Helen Smith and the American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, calling them “anti-feminist female voices” and adding them to its double-secret-probation list under the catch-all term “male supremacy.” Former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain, who is black, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the group had “smeared” her after she questioned the SPLC’s “misguided focus.” Mark Potok, then the SPLC’s national spokesman, denounced her as “an apologist for white supremacists” in a story published on the front page of Swain’s local newspaper, the Tennessean.
To sum up recent events: The SPLC has been crazily denouncing highly respected writers who are Muslim, black, and female for being anti-Muslim, anti-black, and misogynist. All of these contrived charges are in the service of the SPLC’s core mission, which is to separate progressives from their dollars.
Founded in 1971, the Alabama-based SPLC, dubbed “essentially a fraud” by Ken Silverstein in a blog post for Harper’s back in 2010, discovered some time ago that it could line its coffers by positioning itself as a scourge of racists. Silverstein reported that in 1987, after the SPLC sued the United Klans of America, which had almost no assets to begin with, over the lynching murder of Michael Donald, the son of Beulah Mae Donald, the grieving mother realized $52,000 from the court case — but the SPLC used the matter in fundraising appeals (including one that exploited a photograph of Donald’s corpse) that raked in some $9 million in donations. Today the SPLC typically hauls in (as it did in 2015) $50 million. In its 2016 annual report it listed its net endowment assets at an eye-popping $319 million. It’s now quaint to recall that, when Silverstein called the SPLC the wealthiest civil-rights group in America, it had a mere $120 million in assets. That was in 2000. President Richard Cohen and co-founder–cum–chief trial counsel Morris Dees each raked in well over $350,000 in compensation in 2015.
I’ve seen articles describing what it would be like if we regulated cars the way we regulate guns. (Hint: car drivers would riot.)
I’ve seen articles describing what it would be like if we regulated guns the way we regulate cars. (Hint: gun control activists would have strokes.)
Now, a piece on LifeZette describing what it would look like if the Left treated immigrants the way they do guns.
Any horrific shooting that makes national news brings a predictable cacophony of calls from progressives for gun control. But what if the Left applied that logic to immigration?
We’d be hearing a lot more demands for “immigrant control” and “common-sense immigration restrictions.”
There would be calls for banning immigration. Banning all immigration into the United States in response to crimes committed by some illegal immigrants would, indeed, be radical. And irrational. No serious person has suggested that sealing the border and allowing no more immigrants ever again would be a reasonable approach to immigrant crime.
Yet, the most radical of gun control advocates demand that approach for guns. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called for reinstatement of a ban on so-called assault weapons, along with aggressive measures to remove existing weapons.
Liberals would highlight sensational crimes by immigrants. The culprit is clear anytime someone shoots up a school or a workplace, according to liberals — guns. Progressives are far more circumspect whenever an illegal immigrant commits a high-profile crime, such as the recent murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.
The blame in those cases, liberals preach, rests with the individual murderers; don’t dare suggest that all immigrants or immigration policy bear responsibility.
There would be calls to close the immigration background check loophole. Liberals for years have demanded that Congress close the “gun show loophole.” This is shorthand for people being able to buy firearms at a gun show without having to undergo a criminal background check.
But it is not really a gun show loophole at all. The “loophole” has to do with people who sell their personal guns. Federally licensed firearms dealers must run the background check whether the sales takes place in a store or at a show.
The federal background check requirement does not apply to people who do not have firearms businesses but want to sell from a personal collection. (Some states do require background checks even for those people).
Liberals issue no similar calls to close the immigration background check loophole, however. The United States admits roughly 1 million people legally each year, both through permanent immigration and on nonimmigration visas, such as those allowing foreigners to work or study in America. All of those foreigners undergo some type of background check.
But foreigners who come across the border illegally, by definition, evade all background checks. In fiscal year 2017, border and customs agents apprehended 415,191 illegal immigrants. Experts estimate that for every foreigner apprehended, one makes it through to the interior of the country.
“There are some things in the world we can’t change – gravity, entropy, the speed of light, and our biological nature that requires clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy and biodiversity for our health and well-being. Protecting the biosphere should be our highest priority or else we sicken and die. Other things, like capitalism, free enterprise, the economy, currency, the market, are not forces of nature, we invented them. They are not immutable and we can change them. It makes no sense to elevate economics above the biosphere.”
And indeed, one of the things we can’t change is that everything has a cost – in resources, in time, in energy, in human will. If you want anything in this world, you have to give up something to get it. That means you’ll always be confronted by choices in life.
That’s economics, and it’s not going away merely because you declare it somehow optional.
I recall a conversation on the Rush Limbaugh show many years ago. A medical school student called in to explain why he was in favor of socialized medicine. He wanted to make sure that everyone who needed medical care could get it.
Rush had an answer for that. He suggested that once he completed his training, he should give his services away for free.
The tone of the kid’s voice spoke volumes.
It seems people become doctors expect some form of reward for all the work involved.
Stephen Green offers this:
Regarding my earlier post about socialized medicine, Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Reader™ RBJ commented:
People are self-nterested, not virtuous. I want really smart people to go into medicine because they want to make money to provide for a good life for themselves and their families.
Take away that financial incentive, and the best and brightest will find other things to do. Meaning the quality of doctors and nurses, et al., will go down.
And before that, BobB59 said, “Will they acknowledge the inevitable doctor shortage with that plan? I’m not holding my breath.”
This all goes back to my oft-stated belief that modern progressivism is a form of high-tech feudalism.
Under the old feudalism, there were serfs who worked the land, lords who lorded over them, ladies who tended to the lords, etc. Everyone knew their place and remained in their place, forever.
Progressivism “works,” such as it does, under the conceit that there are doctor-units who perform medicine, business-units who provide goods and services, teacher-units who teach, student-units who learn, etc. And — this is the vital bit — all those units perform their assigned tasks, and will continue to do so, regardless of incentives.
When all those person-units don’t conform to progressive wishes, that’s when progressives turn nasty. Which is in most instances pretty much right away.
But don’t worry, comrade. You will be made to conform. In the end, you will love Big Brother.
From the Volokh Conspiracy:
A program at UC-Davis looks at the relationship between capitalism and racism.
The website Campus Reform points to a multi-year academic program, Racial Capitalism, hosted at the UC-Davis Humanities Institute that explores the links between racism and capitalism (tip to Glenn Reynolds). Among the questions that were asked at the event launching the program are:
- “Which came first, capitalism or racism?”
“Can there be capitalism without racism?”
“Is capitalism always racial?”
IMO, the answers to these questions are fairly obvious:
1. Racism came first. Every inhabited continent had slaves, and ethnic out-groups were among the most likely to be enslaved. It is the abolition of slavery that is particularly Western, as Orlando Patterson explains his books Freedom and Slavery and Social Death.
2 (and 3.) If there can be any economic system without racism (I suppose it depends on how high one’s standards are), then capitalism is not always racist and there can be capitalism without racism. Capitalism is easier to square with a reduction in racism than most ideologies because (a) it is individualistic, (b) it is not built on envy for despised groups, and (c) in the United States at least, pro-capitalists tend to be less racist personally than anti-capitalists.
Indeed, in the general public it is the opposition to capitalism and the desire for redistribution that are positively associated with racism and intolerance.
I explore this relationship in “Redistribution and Racism, Tolerance and Capitalism,” which analyzes data from 20 nationally representative surveys of the general public.
The more interesting question (than whether you can have capitalism without racism) is whether you can have socialism without racism. The answer is yes, but the reason is an enlightening one.
In the long run, a robust socialism (that dominates most of the economy) tends to lead to the scapegoating of demonized out-groups, because there must be someone to blame for economic failure. Thus, the Soviet Union began with hating the Kulaks and the ownership class more generally, but once these were destroyed, they needed someone else to blame. Though it took many decades, the Soviet Union went beyond targeting “counter-revolutionaries” to add Jews to the list. So the demonized out-groups under socialism don’t have to be defined by race or ethnicity; they could instead be defined by economic class, religion, or nationality. Accordingly, socialism doesn’t have to be racist, but when it dominates the economy almost inevitably there must be some group to despise.
It would be good if the academy in general–and the UC-Davis Racial Capitalism program in particular–were ideologically diverse enough to reflect some of the substantial evidence from the last few decades on the relationship of capitalism and racism in the views of the general public, evidence that tends to point to a negative association between racism and support for capitalism.