". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Google ‘Interfered’ in U.S. Elections over 40 Times Since 2008

March 19, 2024

A new investigation is revealing that Google has interfered in American elections dozens of times over the past 16 years. According to a Media Research Center (MRC) Special Report compiled by MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider and Assistant Editor Gabriela Pariseau, Google has “interfered in elections” at least 41 times since 2008. “In every case, Google harmed the candidates — regardless of party — who threatened its left-wing candidate of choice,” the report states. “From the mouths of Google executives, the tech giant let slip what was never meant to be made public: That Google uses its ‘great strength and resources and reach’ to advance its leftist values.”

The MRC report notes that, in 2008, Google favored then-senator Barack Obama and his presidential bid, resulting in the tech giant censoring support for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate and “suspending the accounts of writers who wrote blogs critical of Obama during his primary race against Clinton.” Clinton had, at least nominally, pledged to rein in Big Business, while Obama “had shown interest in working to develop technology, advancing science education and continuing to work with Google as he had done during his time in the U.S. Senate.” Thus, Google censored pro-Clinton and anti-Obama blog posts online. Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google, told journalists the censorship was an error but formally endorsed Obama for president and even hosted a party to celebrate his inauguration.

Since then, the MRC report explains, Google and left-wing politicians have had an intimate and even “incestuous” relationship. During Obama’s White House tenure, at least 55 Google executives and staffers took on positions in the federal government, and nearly 200 federal government employees moved on to jobs at Google. “Ultimately,” the report summarizes, “the relationship was mutually beneficial. Obama secured Google a spot as a key player in Washington, and Google helped ensure that the administration worked with skilled tech executives.” Google also worked to support Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and target Republican presidential primary contenders.

In 2016, Google’s election manipulation kicked into high gear. With Obama’s two terms in the White House coming to an end, Google shifted its support to Hillary Clinton, hiding searches related to her indictment and related crimes. While Yahoo! and Bing would autocomplete searches related to Clinton’s indictment or crimes, Google would instead suggest searches such as “Hillary Clinton Indiana” or “Hillary Clinton crime reform.” Once Clinton squared off against then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Google began using the same method to hide searches for “crooked Hillary,” Trump’s nickname for his Democratic opponent.

Google also overrepresented search results with a left-wing bias. The MRC report notes that during the 2016 election, Google users were almost 40% more likely to be given information with a left-wing bias than a conservative bias when searching terms such as “abortion,” “campaign finance reform,” “global warming,” “Iraq war,” and others. Quoting research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein, MRC’s report notes that Google’s efforts on behalf of the Clinton campaign may have impacted “at least 2.5 million votes” in her favor.

Schmidt also ran the technology side of Clinton’s campaign, just as he had done four years prior for Obama’s reelection. He established a technology firm “just blocks” away from Clinton’s campaign headquarters and a number of the former secretary of State’s campaign advisers and staffers were Google alumni. Google also paid to shuttle Hispanic voters to polls in battleground and swing states. Email chains revealed that Google executives hoped that increased Hispanic voter turnout would give Clinton a boost over Trump, but the tech giant’s voter shuttle ploy “wasn’t enough.”

After Trump won the 2016 election, Google hosted what MRC describes as a “trauma session” for employees to “air … their grievances” over Trump’s victory. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during the meeting that Trump’s win “conflicts with many of [Google’s] values” and derided Trump supporters as “extremists.”

Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Google once again “sprang into action, amping up its election interference efforts,” the MRC report says. In Google’s home state of California, for example, the search engine linked “California Republicans” with Nazism, presenting Nazi ideology as a related search when users typed in “California Republicans.” A search for “Nazism” would also yield results for the California Republican Party. Additionally, Google ramped up its presentation of information with a left-wing bias, with 95% of political search results being from left-wing sources and only 5% coming from conservative sources.

Epstein noted that Google’s promotion of left-wing sources in search results was significantly higher than that of other search engines (such as Yahoo! or Bing) and correctly predicted, based on his assessment of Google search results and search manipulations, that three Republican-held congressional seats in Orange County, California would be flipped blue.

The MRC report relates that, by the time the 2020 election came around, “Google went above and beyond in playing its part to ‘prevent ... the next Trump situation,’ as one senior Google official put it.” Google Responsible Innovation Director Jen Gennai admitted to an undercover journalist that the tech giant had been preparing for the 2020 election and was actively working to “prevent [Trump’s election] from happening again.” To do this, Google intentionally manipulated news results to suit its own editorial narrative, suppressing news content it deemed too conservative, even if factually accurate. Google’s algorithm also blocked and blacklisted conservative news sites, including MRC’s NewsBusters, the Daily Caller, The Christian Post, and Catholic News Agency. Websites on the blacklist would be blocked from Google mobile apps, while another blacklist was compiled to block conservative websites regardless of the platform used to access Google.

Other websites (such as Gateway Pundit) were blocked from appearing in news search results and others (including NewsBusters, Breitbart, the Daily Caller, and Human Events) were temporarily blocked, although they still appeared in results generated by other search engines. Google also outright censored some websites (namely ZeroHedge and The Federalist) due to “derogatory or offensive comments” on the websites.

Google also continued its promotion of left-wing bias, with half of all news results for the search “Donald Trump” coming from CNN, USA Today, The New York Times, Politico, and The Guardian, all of which exhibit a left-wing bias. The search engine also replaced summaries of ballot initiatives displayed in search results with arguments in favor of left-wing positions on those ballot initiatives. Google also adjusted its ads policies, suspending Democratic presidential primary candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s Google Ads account, preventing her campaign website from appearing in the top search results. This came just days after Google Trends announced that Gabbard was the most-searched Democratic candidate. The tech giant also adjusted its political ads policy more broadly, blocking “ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.” MRC notes, “Similar prohibitions have been used by other tech companies to censor conservative content.”

Perhaps most concerning of all, Google blocked campaign emails from conservative candidates, marking them as spam in Gmail accounts. A study found that almost 60% more emails from conservative candidates were marked as spam than emails from left-wing candidates. The Republican National Committee (RNC) reported that Google blocked over 22 million get-out-the-vote emails that the organization sent. Google also reportedly sent out vote reminders exclusively to Gmail accounts of registered Democrats. Epstein estimates that Google’s 2020 election interferences impacted at least six million votes.

Google’s meddling continued into the 2022 midterm elections, with Epstein alleging that the tech giant’s interference cost the GOP a majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The research scientist estimated that, were it not for Google’s interference, Republicans would have gained a two to eight seat majority in the Senate and a 27 to 59 seat majority in the House. Additionally, he posits that Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake would have been elected governor if Google had not interfered.

Once again, Google filled its news pages with results from left-wing outlets (61%) and suppressed news from conservative outlets (3%). “That’s 20 times more results from outlets on the left than results from outlets on the right,” MRC’s report notes. Specific search terms also generated more left-wing results, the report explains. Eighty-eight percent of news results for the search term “Trump” came from left-wing sources, none from conservative sources. Ninety-six percent of news results for the search term “election” came from left-wing sources, and a search for “Biden” yielded no news results from conservative sources.

Additionally, Google suppressed 83% of Republican senate candidates’ campaign websites from its search results regarding 12 contentious races. MRC explains that in 10 out of 12 races, Google either shuffled Republican candidates’ campaign sites to the bottom of the first page of search results or else did not even include the websites on the first page of search results at all. MRC notes that “the top six Google search results get 74 percent of all clicks, making Google’s biased demotion of key Senate Republican campaign websites all the more nefarious.” Google also targeted specific locations in Georgia’s senate runoff election where more “undecided” voters resided, promoting incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock over his Republican opponent Herschel Walker.

Ahead of the 2024 election, Google has reportedly weaponized its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot Gemini (formerly called Bard) to promote left-wing politicians and candidates and “disparage” conservative politicians and candidates. In one instance, Bard was asked why Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and President Joe Biden are “so clever.” The chatbot responded to the first prompt, “There is no evidence that Lauren Boebert is clever. She has been criticized for her lack of intelligence and her poor understanding of the issues. She has also been accused of plagiarism and of making false claims.” However, Bard responded to the second prompt, “Joe Biden is considered clever because of his many years of experience in politics and government.”

Now renamed Gemini, the chatbot also refuse to answer questions damaging to Biden. When asked about the ongoing illegal immigration crisis facilitated by the Biden administration or about Biden’s failing memory, Gemini will not provide an answer, instead instructing users to Google the issues. The chatbot also downplayed scandals involving Biden and his family. When asked about Hunter Biden’s “laptop from Hell,” the Google A.I. replied, “The authenticity of the laptop and its contents has been contested, with concerns about chain of custody and potential manipulation. No definitive conclusions have been reached about the veracity of the emails or any wrongdoing.” When asked about Biden’s presidency, the chatbot praised Biden’s administration. Although Bard noted that Biden’s approval rating is dangerously, the chatbot offered suggestions for how Biden might “improve his image.”

When asked about Trump, the AI generator replied, “Donald Trump is a complex and polarizing figure. He is a businessman, television personality, and politician who has served as the 45th president of the United States since 2017. He is known for his brash personality, his outspokenness, and his controversial policies.” The chatbot also gave a skewed assessment of the GOP primary field ahead of the first Republican presidential primary debate last year, ranking former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley higher than she was polling and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy lower than he was polling at the time.

As in the past, Google is continuing its promotion of news from left-wing sources. According to MRC’s report, over 60% of the news content on Google’s homepage comes from left-wing sources, while only 6% comes from conservative sources. When users search the term “economy,” 78% of news results come from left-wing sources and only 4% come from conservative sources. The search term “abortion” yields 76% left-wing results and only 5% conservative results.

Of particular concern is Google’s updated “sensitive events” policy. Although Google has had a “sensitive events” policy in place for at least the past five years, it recently updated its policy to define a “sensitive event” as “an unforeseen event or development that creates significant risk to Google’s ability to provide high quality, relevant information and ground truth, and reduce insensitive or exploitative content in prominent and monetized features.” MRC notes, “While this policy had previously applied specifically to ads, it seems that it now applies to a broader category of media.” MRC adds that the measures Google has allowed itself to take in response to “sensitive events” mean “that this policy could be used to censor content disfavorable to Google’s favorite candidate.”

In conclusion, MRC offers several suggestions for how to prevent Big Tech firms like Google from influencing American elections. First, MRC suggests Congress take action and “investigate Google for abridging people’s constitutional rights; for coordinating with government to violate freedom of speech; for interfering in elections by making unreported in-kind contributions; and for defrauding its users by failing to meet its Terms of Service.”

Second, MRC urges state legislatures to declare Google a “common carrier,” a question which recently came before the U.S. Supreme Court. And finally, MRC suggests, “Americans should stop using Google products, particularly Google Search and instead opt for one of the many alternatives. From our research, alternatives appear to produce better, less biased results.”

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.