White House Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters on Tuesday that the Trump administration was “looking at” imposing regulations on Google’s search engine, claiming its results are “rigged” against President Donald Trump. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)
“The idea that Google searches should be regulated to prioritize conservative views is autocratic.”
By Julia Conley / 08.28.2018
In a hypocritical embrace of government regulation, presidential economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the White House was considering regulating Google’s search engine, when President Donald Trump—after evidently “rage-googling” himself—expressed displeasure when he found only negative news in an early morning search.
Speaking to reporters in on the White House lawn, hours after Trump tweeted that a “Trump news” search had turned up only negative coverage of his presidency, Kudlow shared that the administration was “taking a look” at whether the search engine should be regulated by the government.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Trump’s discovery came a week after his former lawyer pleaded guilty to attempting to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor—at the direction of Trump, according to court filings—by paying an adult film star to maintain her silence about an affair she says she had with the president, and after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of tax and bank fraud.
Kudlow and Trump are just the latest Republicans to argue that the tech industry is biased against conservative viewpoints—even as Facebook has worked with former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl to ensure that conservative perspectives are not being stifled on its platform, while reports of the platform censoring progressive and left-wing sites have been largely ignored.
As The Week reported, Trump’s tweet followed a recent report by the right-wing outlet PJ Media, which posited that the tech giant was suppressing the appearance of its own articles and those of other right-wing websites, giving priority to supposedly “left-wing” sites like NBC News and CNN:
Much like Trump’s frequent parroting of “Fox & Friends,” it looks like right-wing theories have tunneled their way directly to the desks of federal officials. Trump has tweeted links to PJ Media stories before, so it’s plausible his angry morning tweets were a direct result of his reading the recent article, which gained traction in conservative circles since its publishing Saturday.
PJ Media‘s and Trump’s complaints are essentially “that the News tab for Trump brings up…news sites…rather than right-wing opinion sites…like PJ Media,” wrote Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale.
Kudlow’s suggestion that the White House would work towards regulating Google’s search results to offer a more positive view of a president whose approval rating has never been recorded as higher than 45 percent, according to Gallup, was condemned by journalists and political observers on social media.
The idea that Google searches should be regulated to prioritize conservative views is autocratic. https://t.co/gudzeCVxh6
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) August 28, 2018
Meanwhile, independent journalist Marcy Wheeler pointed out Kudlow’s historic hostility toward government intervention in any business’s ability to operate as it chooses—as the Reagan-era budget official has fought against energy industry regulations and anti-corporate fraud reforms.