Editor’s Note: This popular post was first published on October 18 here.
As part of the research I do each week for my talk radio recap column, I poke around Google News for the latest on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other conservative talk radio hosts.
This week, I noticed something troubling at Google News. Thinking it might be a glitch, I cleared my cache this morning, typed in the same phrase, and got the same result.
Here’s what happened:
When I type “Rush Limbaugh” into the Google News search field, the results can be seen in the screenshot, above.
That “slavery” quote is a manufactured one, frequently and falsely attributed to Rush Limbaugh. That fake quotation and others like it were used to prevent Limbaugh from becoming the co-owner of an NFL team earlier this year.
The quote is cited to the American Spectator; the conservative site recently looked back on that controversy, and naturally used the “slavery” quote to illustrate the smear campaign against Limbaugh.
Anyone unfamiliar with the whole story would be forgiven for assuming that that false “slavery” quote is authentic. The Google News result makes no attempt to prevent viewers from coming to such a conclusion.
An algorithmic accident on Google’s part?
Or something more sinister?