Sometimes, it seems like not a day goes by without President Donald Trump bashing the media as “fake news.” And today is no exception. In an August 28th Twitter tirade, Trump made the outlandish claim that Google is “rigged” against conservatives based on the news articles it displays. In one of his trademark tweetstorms, the president specifically took issue with the results that come up when you search Google for “Trump news.”
Trump continued by writing that “96% of results” for the search term “Trump news” are “from National Left-Wing Media.” It’s not clear where he got that percentage, but The Guardian notes that the conservative website PJ Media recently posted an article making the same claim based on the author’s own search “experiences.”
Trump concluded his tweets by declaring that conservative voices were being “oppressed.”
In a same-day statement to TechCrunch, Google said that “search is not used to set a political ideology.”
It’s worth mentioning that a Google search for “Trump news” will change based on whatever the latest news story about the president is. The results for “Trump news” can change rapidly. Some Twitter users pointed out that one of the top results for “Trump news” on the 28th was an article from Fox News.
Additionally, CNN pointed out that the PJ Media article classified almost every national news outlet as liberal-leaning except for Forbes, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. If Trump thinks Google’s search results are “rigged” for prioritizing reliable news outlets over, say, InfoWars or The Blaze, maybe his definition of “rigged” needs to be re-examined.
Trump’s latest tweets are just another example of the ways he has worked to undermine the free press—which is a staple of free and democratic societies. With all of the recent cries of “fake news,” it’s more important than ever to know which sources are actually reliable. And, to recap, there is no evidence that Google search is anything but.