Sunday, December 14, 2008

Google: Gatekeepers Of "Truth"

Wikipedia has long been assailed by debate opponents as an ambiguous and unreliable source of information because it is nothing more than a collection of opinions from contributors. Many denizens of discussion forums rely on Google to instantly find news articles to bolster their side of a debate, so much so that google has become a verb.

What I have noticed for quite some time, however, is that it is often difficult to find news articles favorable to a right-leaning stance, which can be frustrating, to say the least. On more than one occasion, I have heard a news story being discussed on the radio, only to be thwarted in an attempt to find it in print on line. Discouraged, I usually gave up the argument due to lack of credible evidence to back my assertions, leaving my "adversaries" gleefully claiming victory.

As it turns out, the requisite information was not a figment of my imagination, it was simply buried where I could not find it.

Andrew Orlowski of the UK's The Register has confirmed that the folks at Google have been deciding for us what information is available:

Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

This week Marissa Meyer explained that editorial judgments will play a key role in Google searches. It was reported by Tech Crunch proprietor Michael Arrington - who Nick Carr called the "Madam of the Web 2.0 Brothel" - but its significance wasn't noted. The irony flew safely over his head at 30,000 feet.

At least we now have a retort to those with whom we argue on the web when we are told that Newsmax, et al, are biased and therefore not credible sources; neither is Google.

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