President Donald Trump took to Twitter to denounce NBC News for what its own reporter says was collaborating to financially damage and censor two of its competitors, the Federalist and ZeroHedge. But Google, the company in the position to financially blacklist, and who did threaten to financially blacklist both sites by pulling their ability to generate ad revenue, has a track record of censoring conservatives and the Trump movement regardless of pressure from the corporate media. It is important that Trump not miss the forest for the trees on this vital topic.
“NBC News is facing considerable backlash for pushing Google to remove Conservative sites from its ad platform,” said the president in a tweet on Thursday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020
Trump correctly points out that the purpose of NBC’s article appears to have been to financially blacklist conservatives. The piece relied on research from a far-left activist group in the U.K., the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has a hit-list of conservative news and commentary websites, including Breitbart News that it smears as “hateful” or “fake news,” and calls on advertisers to withdraw revenue from them.
But even without the added pressure of NBC and the far-left smear machine, Google has demonstrated its willingness to censor and damage the Trump movement all on its own — proving it to be a far greater and at times more effective Trump adversary than NBC could ever hope to be.
Over the past four years, Breitbart News and other conservative journalists have documented Google’s flagrant political bias in great detail. Leaks from the company show Google’s top executives denouncing President Trump and his movement, and promising action to contain it. The company’s own internal reports describe its post-2016 role as “The Good Censor,” and admit it has sharply departed from any pretense of protecting free speech online.
Other leaks have shown that Google has added conservative news websites to search blacklists, and manually reorders search results on both Google search and YouTube, which it owns. Google is deeply tied to the Democrat party, its search results favored Hillary Clinton in 2016, its former executive director openly campaigned to elect her, and internally, the company tried to boost Latino turnout in 2016 in what they themselves described as a “silent donation.”
Research has shown that if Google interferes in the 2020 election, which no law or regulation currently prevents them from doing, it could shift tens of millions of vote to Trump’s opponent, costing him the election. Meanwhile, Google has poured money into so-called “conservative” organizations and politicians, who now regularly defend Big Tech from proposals to regulate it, and advise President Trump to soften his approach towards the industry as well.
In September 2018, Breitbart News leaked video footage of Google’s top executives denouncing the Trump movement in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he found Trump’s election “deeply offensive,” while another executive, Kent Walker, encouraged the company to help make the populist movement a “blip” or “hiccup” in history.
“Google is a trusted source of information for people around the world. That’s incredibly valuable at times like this,” said Walker.
“History teaches us that there are periods of populism, of nationalism that rise up, and that’s all the reason we need to be in the arena,” he continued. That’s why we have to work so hard to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a World War or something catastrophic, but instead is a blip, is a hiccup.”
Ruth Porat, the Chief Financial Officer of Google who teared up as she recounted Clinton’s loss a few nights earlier, pledged to “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values.”
Other leaks from within Google have shown the company’s willingness to censor conservatives. In 2019, the Daily Caller reported that Google has a “news blacklist” that excludes “fringe domains” from certain elements of Google search, with numerous conservative sites on the list including Breitbart News.
In the same year, Breitbart News exclusively revealed that Google regularly reorders search results on YouTube in a manner that frequently replaces conservative videos with videos from mainstream and left-wing media outlets in the top results for politically-charged search terms like “abortion.” Search results for the names of Democrat politicians and activists like Maxine Waters and David Hogg have also been manually reordered by Google.
Google does this by altering an internal file called “YouTube_controversial_query_blacklist.” In leaked messages from inside the company, one employee described the existence of the blacklist as a “smoking gun.”
In the same leaked blacklist, another Google employee admitted that “we have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate.”
Another employee in the discussion thread admitted that Google’s main search engine was also occasionally manually curated.
Because of this, Mike Wacker, who worked at Google as a software engineer until 2019, said that then-Google CEO Sundar Pichai lied to Congress when told lawmakers under oath, in December 2018, that the company “does not manually intervene on any particular search result.”
Google’s own internal teams admit that the company increasingly engaged in censorship since the 2016 election. In 2018, Breitbart News exclusively published an internal document called “The Good Censor,” in which Google’s own researchers describe a “shift towards censorship” on the part of Google since 2016.
Acknowledging that the “Free speech ideal was instilled in the DNA of the Silicon Valley startups that now control the majority of our online conversations,” the document goes on to say that these companies, including Google, have largely abandoned it in favor of promoting “safety and civility,” tilting their position towards that of a publisher and away from that of a neutral platform.
One of the reasons Google identifies for this shift is that a free and open internet “breeds conspiracy theories.” To illustrate this, the document cited a 2016 tweet from then-candidate Donald Trump, alleging that Google search suppressed negative results about Hillary Clinton. Research has shown that Google search results were indeed biased towards Clinton in 2016, proving the so-called conspiracy theory correct.
The document also bemoans that the internet allows “have a go commenters” (in other words, ordinary people) to compete on a level playing field with “authoritative sources” like the New York Times. Google has poured millions of dollars into mainstream media organizations since the 2016 election, while YouTube admits that it now prioritizes “authoritative sources” in its search results.
Google’s executives desperately wanted Clinton to win in 2016. Leaked emails published by WikiLeaks show that in 2014 Eric Schmidt, who was then CEO of Google, pitched himself to Clinton campaign manager John Podesta as “head outside adviser” to the campaign. While still an executive at Google, Schmidt set up an organization called “The Groundwork” aimed at using Silicon Valley talent to help Clinton win.
After the election, leaked emails revealed that Google ran a turnout operation aimed at Latino voters, who executives at the company believed would vote for Clinton in large numbers. They did, but the numbers were not as high as Google predicted — in fact, Trump’s 29 percent national share of the Latino vote was much higher than pundits predicted.
“Ultimately, after all was said and done, the Latino community did come out to vote, and completely surprised us,” said Google’s head of Multicultural Marketing, Eliana Murillo, in the leaked emails. “We never anticipated that 29% of Latinos would vote for Trump. No one did.
Google and its employees have a vested interest in the return of a Democrat administration. The company enjoyed unprecedented access to the Obama White House, with nearly 250 people “shuttled between government service to Google employment or vice-versa” under Obama, according to research published by the Intercept.
The links to powerful Democrats have paid dividends for Google’s highest employees. Obama defense secretary personally tapped Eric Schmidt to lead the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board, while more recently, New York governor Andrew Cuomo asked Schmidt to help “reimagine” New York post-pandemic.
Although the company’s links with Democrats are undoubtedly better than its links with Republicans, Google has spread its lobbying funding throughout establishment conservative institutions, including The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the National Review Institute, and the ACU. Most of these organizations have since defended Big Tech against proposals to regulate the industry. Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently slammed Republican Senator Mike Lee, who sits on the antitrust committee, for taking Google’s money and doing the company’s bidding.
In leaked messages, Google executive Adam Kovacevich described the purpose of conservative outreach, as well as pushing back against both Democrat and Republican proposals to regulate the tech industry, is to “steer” the conservative and Republican movements away from “nationalistic incendiary comments, nativist comments and things like that.”
Google’s momentous post-2016 censorship effort continues to affect the Trump campaign and its victory chances in 2020. In December, an investigation by 60 Minutes found that YouTube had already taken down over 300 videos from the Trump campaign, a full year before election season began.
The effects of Google’s unchecked political bias could be devastating to Trump at the ballot box. Research by psychologist and search engine expert Dr. Robert Epstein has found that biased search results can swing up to 80 percent of undecided voters, and could be virtually untraceable if deployed by Google. The psychologist, whose research team has spent years analyzing Google’s political bias, has predicted that Big Tech will “go all out” with election meddling in 2020.
Are you an insider at Google, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.