No regulation out of frustration


This sounds more like trolling than a serious proposal, but nowadays you never know:

President Donald Trump is considering new regulations on Google’s search engine to address his concern that it turns up too many stories that are critical of him, his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Tuesday.

Kudlow, the director of Trump’s National Economic Council, told reporters that the administration is “taking a look” at federal regulations for Google.

He spoke after Trump, in a tweet, accused Google’s search engine of being “rigged.” The president also expressed frustration on Twitter that when Americans type “Trump News” into the search engine, it generates mostly negative news about him while conservative media is “shut out.”

Trump later elaborated on those comments while speaking in the Oval Office, saying that Google was “taking advantage” of people. He also attacked Twitter and Facebook as unfair but did not offer specifics about his concerns.

“I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful,” Trump said.

While the tech giants are plenty guilty of political bias, it seems to me that in this case Google is merely a messenger. Google ranks websites according to their credibility. Needless to say, the mainstream media are ranked very high, based on their reach and their institutional history. The mainstream media are overwhelmingly liberal and biased against Trump. Hence when you type “Trump News” it will inevitably generate negative news, reflecting the fact that most of the news about Trump is negative. Conservative media is “shut out” in a sense that Fox is the only non-liberal mainstream media outlet in the United States. There are no conservative newspapers or news magazines. What there is are plenty of websites. You can call it “media” but they are for most part relatively young and get nowhere near the eyeballs of the CNN or the NYT websites. Hence they are not ranked as high and therefore will appear lower in search results. It’s not a conspiracy and trying to regulate it is the wrong way to go. Government has no place trying to adjust search engine algorithms. And in any case, such regulation would do nothing to address the underlying problem of the media bias.