Google just kicked off a new initiative to fight what it regards as fake news — a new $300 million, three-year initiative that will help news publishers earn more money from subscriptions; help readers disseminate fact from fiction, particularly on breaking items of interest; and help journalists do their jobs.
Sounds great. That’s the company line, anyway. But those lofty goals are very likely code for the greater one: kicking off and keeping out the conservative voices.
“PragerU sues Google, YouTube for ‘censoring’ conservative videos,” one headline from The Hill blasted in October 2017.
And this, from Fortune, that same month: “Why Critics Say YouTube Is Censoring Conservative Videos.”
And this, from Breitbart, just this February: “YouTube is Shutting Down Conservative Criticism of CNN Over Parkland Shooting.”
From Lifenews, in January: “Google Censors Six Conservative Media Sites, Treats Them as Fake News By Posting Warnings About Their Content.”
The six sites?
Breitbart, the Daily Caller, the Daily Wire, Blaze, Gateway Pundit and WND — that last, formerly known as WorldNetDaily.
And that’s what’s dangerous about Google’s new initiative. It’s all tame and friendly on the surface.
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what’s true and what’s not online,” said Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler, as reported by FirstPost.com. “Bad actors often target breaking news on Google platforms, increasing the likelihood that people are exposed to inaccurate content.”
So here comes Google to the rescue, teaming with the likes of The Washington Post and Financial Times to disseminate real news from fake, and with the likes of the Poynter Institute and Stanford University to assist the youth in selecting appropriate and genuine online news content.
Yet Google’s been outed for its censorship of conservative voices.
“Google, the most powerful search engine in the world, is now displaying fact checks for conservative publications in its results,” said Eric Lieberman of the Daily Caller, in a Lifenews article. “No prominent liberal site receives the same treatment.”
Being conservative makes you automatically suspect. And now Google’s kicking in another $300 million to help train both its computerized system and the up-and-comers in the technology and news worlds to separate the fake from the real?
“It’s also working to actively combat fake news, teaming up news organizations like First Draft to launch a new ‘Disinfo Lab’ to combat fake news during elections and breaking news,” The Verge reported.
This is great news for the left — for The Washington Posts of the world, the Democratic candidates of the country, the liberal-leaning news blogs of the Internet. But for conservatives?
Watch out. Let the censorship continue. If the past few months of cutting out the conservative voices have seemed unsettling, it’s likely nothing in comparison to what’s coming — to what this $300 million will buy.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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