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Manipulating Search Engines for Political Advantage

NY Times: A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data.

If things go as planned for liberal bloggers in the next few weeks, searching Google for “Jon Kyl,” the Republican senator from Arizona now running for re-election, will produce high among the returns a link to an April 13 article from The Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly.

This kind of tactic leaves a sour taste. But it’ll be a common one in the future.

This phenomenon is about the nature of Google as much as the nature of politics. Pious “wish they wouldn’t” statements from the company don’t carry much weight when Google itself makes such things possible.

The Google-bomber in question is being disingenuous in the extreme about what he’s doing, however. From the end of the story:

“I think Internet users are very smart and most are aware of what a Google bomb is,” he said, “and they will be aware that results can be massaged a bit.”

Please. If most people using search engines are aware of this, the Democrats will nominate Jeb Bush as their next presidential candidate.

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