An investigative study finds Google is “punishing Republicans” who speak out against Big Tech, according to the Media Research Center. “In fact, the search giant completely hid six of 10 Republicans’ campaign websites from the first page of results,” MRC associate editor Brian Bradley writes.
MRC Free Speech America has conducted a series of studies related to Google’s treatment of Republicans ahead of the critical midterm elections. Despite Google’s vehement denials of any wrongdoing, the conservative media watchdog believes Google “does change its algorithm to benefit certain political candidates,” and is focused on the Senate because its “search bias” didn’t carry over to House races where the GOP is already favored.
The latest study focused on 10 key races in the House and Senate involving sitting lawmakers who have spoken out against Big Tech. MRC said its findings indicated Google “severely buried or did not even display several Republicans’ campaign websites” if they have acted aggressively toward Big Tech.
“Google did not show Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s campaign website on its front page of search results but showed his Democrat challenger Charles Booker’s campaign website as the first result. Paul, who is up for re-election, has been a frequent critic of Big Tech,” Bradley added. “Google buried [Colorado] Rep. Ken Buck’s campaign website as the 15th result out of 20 on the first page, while elevating his challenger Democrat Ike McCorkle’s campaign website to the No. 3 spot in the search results. Buck has introduced legislation that would strengthen antitrust actions brought against industries including Big Tech.”
The study found that results for search competitors Bing and DuckDuckGo were more neutral than Google, according to Bradley. The study examined races involving Republican Big Tech critics Rep. Andy Biggs, Rep. Greg Steube, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. John Kennedy, Sen. John Thune, Rep. Chip Roy, Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Ron Johnson, in addition to Sen. Paul and Rep. Buck. The MRC found that a Democrat or independent was favored by Google’s search results over the Republican in each instance.
MRC founder and president Brent Bozell believes Google is flatly interfering with elections.
“First, Google was caught sending GOP emails to spam. Then we found Google suppressing the campaign websites of Republican Senate candidates. Now, we have evidence that Google is punishing Republicans who dared to speak out or take action against Big Tech by hiding their campaign websites in search results. If this isn’t election interference, I don’t know what is,” Bozell told Fox News Digital.
Google has repeatedly dismissed the notion that it manipulates search results when reached by Fox News Digital.
“We’ve repeatedly shown that this methodology is deeply flawed and doesn’t represent how most people search on Google. We don’t manipulate search results in any way to promote or disadvantage any particular political ideology, viewpoint or candidate – and third-party research consistently shows that our results are not politically-biased,” a Google spokesperson said.
District Media Group president Beverly Hallberg knows “Google is king in the search engine department,” with the rare distinction of the company name being not just a noun, but a verb.
“How many times have we told someone, ‘Just Google it.’ Google holds tremendous power over knowledge, including the information people request on elections,” Hallberg told Fox News Digital.
She isn’t surprised the dominant search engine is facing allegations of bias, which has become somewhat routine for Google. Last month, The Republican National Committee said Google was suppressing get-out-the-vote and fundraising emails by sending millions of GOP election emails to users’ Gmail spam folders – a claim that Google denied.
“For years Google has been accused of prioritizing left-leaning media outlets for searches, and it’s not surprising that accusations have flowed over into the highly contested Senate races where Democrats are trying to hang on,” Hallberg said.
“The good news of MRC’s report is it gives Americans more information on Google. It’s then up to us to decide if we want to move to a different search engine like Bing or DuckDuckGo,” she continued. “If Google faces more competition, my bet is that you’ll [see] more conservative politicians, media outlets, and perspectives pop up. It won’t be coincidental.”
Last week, the MRC unveiled its findings that focused on 12 Senate races identified as important to watch. It revealed campaign websites for 10 Republicans among the 12 tight races were found significantly lower on results pages compared to their opponent’s sites among organic search results.
Seven Republican candidate websites were completely hidden from the first page of Google search results, according to the MRC. While Republicans were hidden, eight Democratic candidates had websites that were promoted within the first six results on Google.
Google denied any wrongdoing when reached by Fox News Digital after the original MRC report on Senate candidates. The MRC then followed-up with another study, using the same methodology but in 36 House races, where polling indicates control doesn’t hang in the balance. Since the “search bias” didn’t carry over to House races, the Bozell said “Google deliberately manipulated data for the Senate races.”
Google continues to deny any wrongdoing, even after the investigation was released.
–Wire services including Fox News