Donald Trump began frantically ranting on Twitter before 6am eastern time this morning, early even by his standards, making clear that it was going to be one of those days. He was either trying to distract us from his worsening criminal scandals, or distract himself from the reality that this is all going to end very poorly for him, or both. So which scapegoat did he pick this time? Was is Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or the New York Times? None of the above. Instead he chose a rather bizarre new target.
Trump decided this morning that his failing presidency is only failing because Google is conspiring against him. That’s right, Google. The vast majority of news being published about Trump is negative, because nearly everything happening in his orbit – from crimes to scandals to incompetence to resignations to guilty pleas – is objectively negative. But now that he’s spent a year and a half blaming the media for this negative coverage and never quite managed to get that mantra to stick, Trump has a new tactic. He’s blaming Google for daring to show all this negative news about him in search results.
Here’s what Trump tweeted: “Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”
Well, that was his second attempt, after he initially misspelled “news” and had to delete it and try again. The reality is that no public figure likes the Google results for their name, and no news outlet likes the Google placement for their site. Everyone wishes Google were more favorable to them. But the Google algorithm is fair in general, or at least not blatantly biased. Trump is demanding that his favorite pro-Trump propaganda nonsense sites be artificially ranked higher, in the name of “balance” – but that’s not how anything works. If a news site claimed the sky was yellow, it wouldn’t do well in the search results for “color of the sky.”
Here’s the truly bizarre part. Not only is Donald Trump making ridiculous demands here, he’s making false claims to begin with. If you Google for “Trump News” (without the quotation marks), there’s a pro-Trump story from Fox News right there on the first page of results. And if he’s searching for “Trump News” with quotation marks, it means he has no idea how to Google for anything; there are times when you’d want to search using quotation marks, but this isn’t one of them. This same nonsense conspiracy theory has been kicked around all week by far-right loons. It appears Trump is now simply repeating it verbatim without even checking to see if it’s true. The real question is what he’s trying to distract us from today. Is there an impending bombshell we don’t yet know about?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report