Google and YouTube: Perfect Storm of Political Manipulation

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-10-26 Print this article Print

Liberal bloggers are trying to manipulate Google results for Republican candidates to Google Bomb their reputations into the gutter.

The campaign, originally conceived by Chris Bowers, was originally targeted at 70 Republicans but was scaled back to 50, according to the New York Times. The bloggers repeatedly reference the target Republicans, link to local and/or trusted news results, then crosslink between themselves to drive traffic to the articles. The bloggers are also reportedly trying to buy up AdWords so that searches for the Republicans will return advertisements for the negative articles.

The campaign to manipulate Google results, in my opinion, damages everyone. By manipulating a trusted source of data to achieve political ends, the liberal bloggers are undermining a tool that works best when it's objective. What's more, the campaign actually hurts the liberal cause. Liberals are fond of repeating how often Republicans manipulate the truth, but by engaging in this campaign they're doing the same thing.

Meanwhile, over on Google's YouTube, some politicians are using the video sharing site as a different kind of propaganda tool. While most political videos on YouTube are simply uploaded television campaign spots that receive views in the low thousands, other videos, such as this Ted Kennedy speech and this Ned Lamont spot receive views in the hundreds of thousands.

Crafty politicians on YouTube are able to denigrate their opponents by co-opting their opponents' keywords. In Michigan, Republican Mike Bouchard's campaign has done a good job of ensuring that people who search for Democrat incumbent Debbie Stabenow see his videos first. This video, entitled Debbie Stabenow doesn't want Michigan voters to see this, is the second most popular result for "Debbie Stabenow."

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