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FOX News Complains About Google's Liberal Bias

Reported by Ellen - February 1, 2009 -

Those "fair and balanced" folks at FOX News are ever on the lookout for bias - everywhere but in their own backyard, of course. Their latest candidate for an it's-just-so-unfair-for-conservatives whine? Google, because the search engine fixed a President Obama "Google bomb" faster than it fixed one about President Bush. Never mind that FOXNews.com's own article reported that Google developed the fix in 2007, four years after the Bush Google bomb cited for comparison. Maybe waiting on the fix was part of the liberal plot, too.

The "Google bomb" in question is "miserable failure." According to FOXNews.com, in 2003, anti-Bush web activists had numerous websites link the phrase "miserable failure" to the White House biography of then-President George W. Bush. Afterward, Googling the phrase "miserable failure" brought Bush's biography to the top of the results list until Google fixed the problem in 2007. Now that Barack Obama is in office, the same Google bomb has been lobbed at him. But Google has already fixed it.

Faster than you can say, "Bernard Goldberg," FOX has arrived on the scene, with its hyper-sensitive liberal bias detectors. In this case, even they couldn't find any. But that didn't stop FOX News from suggesting otherwise.

The FOXNews.com article, titled Unlike Bush's 'Google Bomb,' Google Quickly Defuses Obama's begins:

It took four years for Google to address the "Google bomb" that was lobbed at former President Bush.

But it took the Internet behemoth only a few days to defuse the same attack on President Obama.

Four years versus a few days ... Some Googlers are asking why.

It's not clear who those "some Googlers" are. The only disgruntled one quoted in the article is a commenter called w3bgrrl on a Google blog. W3bgrrl, of course, got the top spot for quotes in the article, where some digs at Google were included.

"You let this go on for the entire Bush administration," a reader named w3bgrrl wrote on a Google blog. "But since you bought the White House for Obama, you don't want your candidates harmed ... And your claims not withstanding, even liberals know you're liberal."

In a classic FOX News maneuver, the following commenter it quoted, cited as pro-Google for "giving them the benefit of the doubt," just happened to mention that he thought many of Google's employees are liberal.

"I do think many of [Google employees] are liberals but I am also 100% confident that the large majority of them are also very professional people that take the job of creating a good and unbiased search engine very, very seriously," he wrote.

Meanwhile, the explanation for the discrepancy in fix times was already there, when FOX reported that Google did not develop an algorithm to detect and re-direct Google bombs until 2007. "Google itself said the reason it took only a few days to redirect Obama's Google bomb was that, this time, it already had the algorithm in place." The article also notes that until recently Google did not give Google bombs high priority.

There was no attempt to investigate how many Google bombs have been "thrown" since 2007, how many are anti-liberal, how many anti-conservative and how fast they have been cleaned up, which might have given a more accurate basis for comparison. One gets the sense that their most important source for the whole story was w3bgrrl.

By the way, I just happened to notice that Googling "fair and balanced" puts FAIR's article about FOX, The Most Biased Name In News, second from the top of the results.