[9/11/17] Google has taken the unprecedented step of burying material, mostly from websites on the political right, that it has deemed to be inappropriate. The problem, however, is that the world’s largest search engine is a left-leaning company with an ax to grind.
Let’s face it, deep down in our heart of hearts we knew the honeymoon wouldn’t last forever. Our willingness to place eternal faith in an earth-straddling company that oversees the largest collection of information ever assembled was doomed to end in a bitter divorce from the start. After all, each corporation, just like humans, has their own political proclivities, and Google is certainly no exception. But we aren’t talking about your average car company here.
The first sign Google would eventually become more of a political liability than a public utility was revealed in 2005 when CEO Eric Schmidt (who is now executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc, Google’s parent company) sat down with interviewer Charlie Rose, who asked Schmidt to explain “where the future of search is going.”
Schmidt’s response should have triggered alarm bells across the free world.
“Well, when you use Google, do you get more than one answer,” Schmidt asked rhetorically, before answering deceptively.
“Of course you do. Well, that’s a bug. We have more bugs per second in the world. We should be able to give you the right answer just once… and we should never be wrong.”
Think about that for a moment. Schmidt believes, counter-intuitively, that getting multiple possible choices for any one Google query is not the desirable prospect it should be (aren’t consumers always in search of more variety?), but rather a “bug” that should be duly squashed underfoot. Silly mortal, you should not expect more than one answer for every question because the almighty Google, our modern-day Oz, “should never be wrong!” This is the epitome of corporate hubris. And it doesn’t require much imagination to see that such a master plan will only lead to a colossal whitewashing of the historic record.
For example, if a Google user performs a search request for – oh, I don’t know – ‘what caused the Iraq War 2003,’ he or she would be given, according to Schmidt’s algorithmic wet dream, exactly one canned answer. Any guesses on what that answer would be? I think it’s safe to say the only acceptable answer would be the state-sanctioned conspiracy theory that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction, an oft-repeated claim we now know to be patently false. The list of other such complicated events that also demand more than one answer – from the Kennedy assassination to the Gulf of Tonkin incident – could be continued for many pages.
Schmidt’s grandiose vision, where there is just “one answer to every question,” sounds like a chapter borrowed from Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, where omnipresent Big Brother had an ironclad grip on history, news, information, everything. In such a intensely controlled, nightmarish world, individuals – as well as entire historical events – can be ‘disappeared’ down the memory hole without a trace. Though we’ve not quite reached that bad land yet, we’re plodding along in that direction.
That much became disturbingly clear ever since Donald Trump routed Hillary Clinton for the presidency. This surprise event became the bugle call for Google to wage war on ‘fake news’ outlets, predominantly on the political right.
‘Like being gay in the 1950s’
Just before Americans headed to the polls in last year’s presidential election, WikiLeaks delivered a well-timed steaming dump, revealing that Eric Schmidt had been working with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as early as April 2014. This news came courtesy of a leaked email from John Podesta, former chairman of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, who wrote:
“I met with Eric Schmidt tonight. As David reported, he’s ready to fund, advise recruit talent, etc. He was more deferential on structure than I expected. Wasn’t pushing to run through one of his existing firms. Clearly wants to be head outside advisor, but didn’t seem like he wanted to push others out. Clearly wants to get going…”