With the looming pressure of Capitol Hill, Google has ultimately decided to make amends with the media establishment — announcing their $300 million investment in a cryptic news initiative they claim will support “high-quality journalism” and work to discredit loosely defined “fake news” during the upcoming elections.
Last year, the tech-giant came under intense hysteria after establishment politicians and media pundits dubiously blamed the platform for spreading “misinformation” about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. Washington called on Silicon Valley giants Google and YouTube, their video-sharing subsidiary, to crack down on the press narratives they deem propaganda to best suit their political woes — drastically altering the way over 1.6 billion users consume their online media.
“Google says the News Initiative is focused on three broad goals — strengthening quality journalism, supporting sustainable business models and empowering newsrooms through technological innovation,” Tech Crunch reported last Tuesday. “It’s also committing to spend $300 million over the next three years on its various journalism-related projects.”
During his New York City press event, Google’s reigning Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler told reporters and Silicon Valley colleagues:
“Our mission is inherently tied to your business… its very nature depends on the open web and depends on open access to information and that obviously depends on high quality information… the economics are very clear:
If you do not grow, we do not grow.”
Should our dear TrigTent readers wonder why Google’s statements and corporate-produced advertisements sound like a bloc of vague nothingness and veiled platitudes with no concrete policies — it’s because they are.
With their increased fight against “fake news,” from their previous Digital News Initiative that deliver grants to European newsrooms to the flawed 10,000-man strong censor brigade in YouTube’s Trusted Flaggers program, the Google empire has a vested interest in winning their PR war with the public that is costing them time and money.
“How can news organizations remain relevant in the digital age,” the video immediately wonders — an incredibly fair question given online free-markets liberate information from the monopoly control of Newscorp, Time Warner, Comcast among other nefarious telecom giants of the mainstream vein.
Heck, this was indirectly echoed by New York Times COO Meredith Levien who described modern journalism as digitally “fragmented.”
This would no doubt send a shiver up the back of titans who have to compete with new independents — even those who do spread genuine misinformation such as the Florida Crisis Actor conspiracy and speculations made regarding last year’s Las Vegas shooting.
So what is Google planning?
In early 2017, the tech empire published promises to tweak the search engine in an effort to “combat fake news” and “hate speech” — even going as far as to “de-rank” huge outlets like RT and Sputnik and formally place certain independent political channels on advertisement blacklists, as was the case with both the progressive commentary broadcaster Secular Talk and the libertarian-conservative commentator The Rageaholic.
While these particular independents went weeks on end without their Google ad-revenue, a common online business model, the company appears to prefer those healthy news welfare cheques go towards establishment publications who join their initiative.
As critics suspect, this will lead to the further editorialization of the search engine algorithms to prioritize the “more authoritative sources” who just so happen to share Google’s money bed, according to Mr. Schindler’s brief remarks.
Among those joining the money party include The New York Times (known for their Iraq War disinformation), the Poynter Institute and the International Fact-Checking Network (funded by George Soros, that rather overhyped left-wing billionaire villain with his own corporate agendas) and the one and only Jeff Bezos owned guard-dog-for-power, The Washington Post (who also happen to have contract-ties with the CIA).
Will Google work to “monitor,” discredit or at least inform readers of these unethical ties? Or will their partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft, a full-on “Disinfo Lab,” just focus on the state-sponsored content of Russia like YouTube does — completely ignoring the corporate influence on the free flow of information?
It’s doubtful if they’ll have the time or motivation considering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange alleges the tech giant “directly engaged in Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” during the election. The journalist pointed the finger at Google chairman Eric Schmidt, the man who created an online project know as “The Groundwork” who previously worked for the Clinton campaign to the tune of $449,480 during 2015. Schmidts’ current involvement in the project remains unclear but leaves the bias of the company in question.
Assange instructed readers to examine his publication of the Clinton Emails that show top Google employees such as Jared Cohen, the founder of Google Jigsaw, who both have ties with the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera suggesting regime-change in Syria against President Assad — potentially leaving the country open to militia rule by ISIS or other jihadists.
“We should understand that Google is intensely aligned with U.S. exceptionalism,” Assange said, “personally at the top aligned with Hillary Clinton’s election campaign and almost certainly once Hillary Clinton becomes president, those people in Google, like Jared Cohen, will be placed into positions around the new Clinton presidency.”