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Google News, Censorship or Responsible Journalism? 694

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the honeymoon-is-over-for-some dept.
MSTCrow5429 writes to mention an article published by WorldNetDaily attacking the policies and actions of Google News. The author takes issue with the practice of removing sites that offer very frank discussions about radical Islam and terrorism as "hate speech." Several sites have complained about removal including The Jawa Report, MichNews, and most recently The New Media Journal. In the termination email to The New Media Journal Google cited several stories as objectionable in order to further explain the action.
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Google News, Censorship or Responsible Journalism?

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:43AM (#15392913) Homepage Journal
    The new media journal [newmediajournal.us] is pushing the Mohamed is a paedophile meme:
    He did not spare anyone; even 9 year old girls were not immune to his sexual wrath. Worshiping a sex-maniac and a child molester? I think NOT.
    and has this charming tidbit that really reveals alot about the author's way of thinking
    Is it really tacky of me to smile at the nightly scenes on TV showing Arab, Afghani and Pakistani Muslims bombing mosques and killing their Muslim brothers, sisters and children at a brisk pace because that's all they know how to do?
    The Java report rehashes the incorrect (and two year old) rumour that Iran was introducing Nazi style clothing for non-moslems.

    Mich News has appalling layout & a rather distasteful red, white, blue color scheme (why is he so obsessed with the french flag?) [google.com]

    In short, the blogs were not news sources, they were at best aggregators of chauvinistic news, at worst (like the first link), poorly written anti-moslem blogs, that just happen to tie in current events.

    Frankly, I new google news was going to hit this sort of trouble as soon as they started indexing this blog [google.com].

    Anyway, good on you google for not linking to hate as 'news' - the reaction of the moslem haters is as predictable as allways, crying about censorship, but frankly, everyone just thinks you're a bunch of whiners.
    • by kalidasa (577403)

      I can't find it in my heart to feel sorry for a Nazi skinhead who's beaten up in jail - and I can't find it in my heart to feel sorry for a racist jackass whose blog has been "censored" from Google News. Perhaps the editors might actually look at both sides of an issue before they post propaganda from hate groups?

      What was I thinking? This is /.!

      • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:14AM (#15393034) Homepage Journal
        Perhaps the editors might actually look at both sides of an issue before they post propaganda from hate groups?

        I think the slashdot editors are to some extent forced to post issues to the front page when they get big enough on the internet. I mean, there's been plenty of slashdot readers, like this dimwit [slashdot.org] who are talking about this (his sig is "Liberal Slashdot Bias. [slashdot.org]")

        Anyway, I don't hold slashdot to the same standards as other organisations - after all, you can just read the comments - they'll certainly let you know if the story's wrong! (Something none of the linked blogs have the courage to do)
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:08AM (#15393281) Journal

        What if a muslim gay basher is beaten up in jail by skinheads? Would you cry for him?

        Lots of left-wing people seem unable to fathom the idea that some muslims might just be right wingers who just happen to be muslim rather then protestant and have a slightly darker tan.

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend is an old saying and is the way a lot of the world seems to think. Sadly it is also 100% wrong.

        It led to a lot america's foreign problems. India was the friend of the soviet union, wich was america's enemy, pakistan was the enemy of india therefore america now finds itself the friend of a military dictatorship and on shaky terms with the world largest democracy.

        It led to america being friends with Saddam because he was the enemy of Iran. That all worked out wonderfull didn't it?

        Same with the support to Al Queda in their fight against the hated soviets. Another wonderfull case of the enemy of my enemy is my enemy as well.

        If you are leftwing you are probably for gay rights. So how do you defend being pro-muslim then a religion that is very anti-gay rights? How come so many leftwingers defend right wing muslims when they would never ever defend a right wing christian?

        It is not that all muslims are right wing offcourse. Far from it. In fact a lot of the real refugeee muslims came here precisly because they were left wing. but they tend to keep quiet. Just as in the west it is the right wingers that make the most noise.

        But just because they are muslim doesn't mean they are not right wingers and oppose every politcial ideal of left wingers.

        Hatred because of someone's religion is very bad, but so is loving someone because of his religion. Judge a person on his political believes. If they are not yours then act like it and don't led the fear of being called a racist stop you from calling them out on their ideas.

        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:06PM (#15394884)

          The enemy of my enemy is my friend is an old saying and is the way a lot of the world seems to think. Sadly it is also 100% wrong.

          Here's another saying, "There is no black or white, only shades of gray."

          You build a false dichotomy of "right-wing" and "left-wing" assigning motivations and beliefs with broad, inaccurate strokes. You try to make it sound as if freedom of religion and freedom to make individual life choices are mutually exclusive. It is possible, you know, to support everyone's right to choose any religion they want and at the same time support the right for people to choose to screw people of the same sex if the feel like it. Both are wholly consistent with the view that individuals should make choices about their own life, for themselves.

          ...some muslims might just be right wingers...

          There is no such thing as a "right-winger." I imagine most devout muslims hold beliefs I disagree with. I take issue with several fundamental themes advocated by the religion, while I appreciate and agree with yet others. So what? If someone has beliefs I disagree with, should I fight with them over it? Why should I care what they believe so long as they don't try to force that belief upon me, and if they do is it the fault of the religion? No, it is the fault of the individual.

          Hatred because of someone's religion is very bad, but so is loving someone because of his religion.

          Who here ever proposed that muslims are all blameless and perfect because they are muslims? I've never seen it.

          Judge a person on his political believes[sic].

          Judge a person based upon their actions.

          You need to stop buying into all these imaginary classifications and start looking at what individuals think and do. I know it is a lot harder to judge people as individuals, but anything else is called, "prejudice."

      • by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:14AM (#15394367) Homepage Journal
        I can't find it in my heart to feel sorry for a Nazi skinhead who's beaten up in jail

        Depends on why he's in jail...

        and I can't find it in my heart to feel sorry for a racist jackass whose blog has been "censored" from Google News.

        Sigh... once again... the first amendment does not protect your right to hear what you want, but other people's right to say what you don't want to hear.

        Censorship in any form is really touchy. Not hearing each side of an argument is rediculous, especially when labeling one side "racist" by default.

        Like this, for instance (warning - inflaming material ahead.) There is evidence [americanthinker.com] in the Holy Quran that (among other sexism) slavery of women is allowed, and sex outside of the marriage with any woman who is deemed a slave is acceptable.

        By today's standards this is attrocious - slavery alone, aside from deeming someone sexual property - and even mentioning that this exists in the Quran is considered by many a racist tirade the effort of which is simply to put down a race of people or Islam as a whole.

        But the fact is, by censoring me, you're closing your eyes to simple fact, and branding me a racist for believing that Islam could support such acts in an effort to discredit Islam.

        Of course, the Quran doesn't say anything about forcing one's self on slave women and the article I've linked to proports that the Quran supports rape in an attempt to show how Christianity is better. It does show some support or understanding of the times that slavery exists... The debate is unsolvable, but by censoring one side, you're closing the argument or debate all together.

        And that, my friends, is unacceptable in a free society. The exchange of ideas cannot be the exchange of "acceptable" ideas, or free society is no longer free.

        And so I can be modded down, but hearing what you don't want to hear is no reason to censor anyone.

    • I'm usually against censorship of the media like Apple's quest against Mac bloggers. But after looking at New Media Journal I could see why Google would decide to be picky on its news aggregator. I can not comment on the other sites mentioned but New Media Journal is full of hate-speech the likes that would make a KKK member bashful. It always surprises me to see how hateful people can be even against their fellow Americans (in New Media Journal the author actually hints at physically harming "left" wing
    • by Bohemoth2 (179802) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:06AM (#15393008)
      This all maybe inflammtory and hateful, but it is truthful about the reality of the situation. both sides have there slants represented on the web. It serves no purpose to censor one and not the other. Sadly most news reporting in the media today is biased in one way or the other.

      For example, my newspaper kept referring to the may 1 protests as immigrant rights protests, when they really should have said illegal immigrant. rights protests. Little changes like that can make a big difference when read. I don't think many writers realize this though.
      • by Trigun (685027)
        I'm sorry, but masquerading hate speech as news does not make it news. Calling 'Mein Kampf' a semi-factual analysis of the growing inequities in post WW1 Germany does not make it news.

        The difference between calling illegal immigrants "illegal immigrants" and just plain old "immigrants" is negligible, especially because there were more than just illegals in the protests, and it was more than just the rights of the illegals that were at stake. Regular, ol' fashioned immigrants were fighting for their rights
        • is that it might be a good mirror to the similar hypocrisy of Faux News.

          Islamic violence and hate is a fact. News organizations censor facts at the risk of their credibility.

        • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@bea u . org> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:32AM (#15394562)
          > I'm sorry, but masquerading hate speech as news does not make it news. Calling 'Mein Kampf' a semi-factual
          > analysis of the growing inequities in post WW1 Germany does not make it news.

          I'm sorry to see yet another product of public education. Mein Kampf sits on the shelves of every public library in the country, right beside Das Kapital, The Communist Manifesto and Chainman Mao's Little Red Book. I'd also bet you can find the text of all three on Google if you try just a little. And yes serious historians DO study Mein Kampf in their studies of Pre War Germany. Hitler's arguments have the annoying reality that they were successful (remember, he WAS popularly elected... once.) so a study of his writings are pretty much required to gain a full understanding of his times.

          You can't have an open debate and free inquiry while slapping a 'hate speech' label on all opposing views and banning from the public square. Protecting the right of Free Speech is at it's most important when it is something you don't like. I think Daily Kos is an almost perfect example of 'hate speech' but I would never move to bad it, would oppose Google dropping it from their index and in fact pass by and check up on 'the disloyal opposition' every couple of days. An echo chamber reflecting only your own positions isn't useful for learning new things.
        • by JavaLord (680960) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:10PM (#15394919) Journal
          I'm sorry, but masquerading hate speech as news does not make it news. Calling 'Mein Kampf' a semi-factual analysis of the growing inequities in post WW1 Germany does not make it news.

          Mein Kampf isn't current so it isn't 'news'. It is history however, and making it illegal is stupid. It's a link to how one of the worst regimes ever in history came to power, and ignoring it, censoring it, and making it unavailable as they do in many european countries is downright stupid.

          Free speech is important, especially when dealing with radical opinions. I'd rather have the racist yelling in my town square so people can argue against him, rather than having private meetings where his garbage goes unchallenged.
          The internet is the same way, I'd rather have access to both the far left and far right news websites via google, then just the mainstream media. The beauty of the net is that you get to hear different opinions, and if they are nutty you have the forum to say so.

          The difference between calling illegal immigrants "illegal immigrants" and just plain old "immigrants" is negligible,

          Bullshit. The whole debate is about illegal immigration, not immigration. Many want to streamline the process of legal immigration. Very few people want to end immigration in the US, but the majority of people want to end illegal immigration. Thus, calling illegal immigrants just immigrants makes a huge difference. Especially to the uninformed shmuck who turns on the evening news once a week and hears 'immigrants come out to protest!'. It frames the debate in a dishonest way.

          especially because there were more than just illegals in the protests, and it was more than just the rights of the illegals that were at stake.

          Really? Who else had their 'rights' at stake. Please inform us.
      • Bad thinking. (Score:3, Informative)

        This comment represents a popular theme among conservatives at the moment - "EVERYONE's biased, so let's wear our bias on our sleeves!"

        The thing is, it's not true. Mainstream, "liberal" media sources like the New York Times and NPR still strive for objectivity. The parent's example is typical: why didn't they say "illegal" immigrants? OMG bias! ...OR, could it be that some of the people marching ARE legal immigrants? Or that they're concerned about the rights of legal immigrants, like these potential "guest
    • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:14AM (#15393037) Homepage
      Here in the Netherlands there was a big uproar when Hirshi Ali basically said the same thing: Mohammed was a pedophile because he took a 9 year old for a wife. Yet she gets elected Woman of the Year by Times magazine.

      What's the difference?

      Anyway, I thought Americans were so big on freedom of speech. I'd said get ready for some real rucus, because Hirshi Ali (or Magan actually) is coming your way!
      • Here in the Netherlands there was a big uproar when Hirshi Ali basically said the same thing: Mohammed was a pedophile because he took a 9 year old for a wife. Yet she gets elected Woman of the Year by Times magazine.

        Reference please? (Nederlands of Engels)

        And anyway:

        1) Ayaan Hirsi Ali got woman of the year because she is an amazing woman.
        2) Criticism from within a culture is different to criticism from without - can you imagine if it'd been an arab who made piss christ? [wikipedia.org]

        Anyway, I thought Americans were so b
        • Here in the Netherlands there was a big uproar when Hirshi Ali basically said the same thing: Mohammed was a pedophile because he took a 9 year old for a wife. Yet she gets elected Woman of the Year by Times magazine.

          Reference please? (Nederlands of Engels)

          She didn't get elected Woman of the Year. She was named as one of the Time 100 most influential persons of 2005. See this link [time.com]

        • by Engineer-Poet (795260) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:51AM (#15393183) Homepage Journal
          2) Criticism from within a culture is different to criticism from without - can you imagine if it'd been an arab who made piss christ?
          They do a lot worse all the time. I'd like you to list one reaction even remotely similar to the staged protests over the Mohammed photos in the Jyllandsposten. Just one.

          What you imply is that if a culture suppresses criticism from itself, it should be immune from all criticism. That is a double standard. Further, you imply that the validity of a critique depends not on what it says but on who says it. That's ad-hominem. It's standard leftist ideology, and it's amazing that any person can espouse it and claim to be educated; the cognitive dissonance required to hold it should break any functioning mind.

          • They do a lot worse all the time. I'd like you to list one reaction even remotely similar to the staged protests over the Mohammed photos in the Jyllandsposten. Just one.

            That's precisely what I mean, those (stupid & ill-informed) protests were a reaction to criticism from without. Plenty of moslems have done things as bad as the cartoons without the same reaction.

            What you imply is that if a culture suppresses criticism from itself, it should be immune from all criticism.

            No. You inferred incorrecctly. I
          • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:15AM (#15393332) Homepage Journal
            What you imply is that if a culture suppresses criticism from itself, it should be immune from all criticism. That is a double standard. Further, you imply that the validity of a critique depends not on what it says but on who says it. That's ad-hominem. It's standard leftist ideology, and it's amazing that any person can espouse it and claim to be educated; the cognitive dissonance required to hold it should break any functioning mind.

            Actually, in my experience, it's only "educated" people that espouse it. As the saying goes, you'd have to hold several advanced degrees to be that stupid.

            Most reasonably intelligent people with a high-school education can figure out that something can be true or false, good advice or bad, independent of where it's coming from; it seems to be universities (and particular departments of universities) that convince people that the source of a particular viewpoint is more important than its content, and that some viewpoints are more valid than others.

            At any rate, bull on that. While I'm not saying that some people don't have more background or authority on which to speak from than others, to blindly write off "external" criticism amounts to sticking one's head in the sand (especially in cases where most if not all "internal" criticism is suppressed or self-censored). That sort of litmus testing is totally contrary to the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and greater understanding; unfortunately, it's almost endemic in some places.
          • The GP talked about a difference in how the criticism is received not in the ultimate validity of the critique. We do tend to look towards criticism from "outsiders" different than criticism from "insiders".

            For example imagine an uninvited outsider criticizes some aspect of your family. We tend to receive these types of criticism as threatening even though they may be true. If the criticism originated from a family member we tend to be more receptive.

            Even in the scientific community, criticisms from non-sci
      • Not likely. In the US (unlike Europe) the government (and locals) don't try to expel someone from the neighborhood because that person is getting death threats from terrorists. We go after the people making the threats, not the ones receiving them.
        • That's a pretty dumb and uninformed post. Go get an education.

          Anyway, to help you on your way: she lied about her personalia when applying for the Dutch citizenship. Technically, Hirshi Ali is Dutch, but as she is not Hirshi Ali, but Hirshi Magan, she is not dutch.

          This and the fact that she was yelling it from the rooftops (instead of confessing it to the proper authorities) triggered a vote seeking politician (Verdonk), who also happened to be head of immigrations, to take a stance and go bureaucrat.

          I'm no
        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:37AM (#15393489) Journal
          We got one dead politican, a death filmmaker/columnist, a columnist from the same newspaper beaten up and one politican fleeing the country.

          Dutch policy seems to be to cover everything up and hope it goes away.

          We hoped WW2 would pass us by too. That worked well.

      • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:34AM (#15393115) Homepage Journal
        we are rapidly turning into a nation of "freedom of politically correct speech" which is a sad state of affairs.

        I discount most arguments used any side to any argument when they toss out the terms "hate speech" or "racist". Its the old "boy who cried wolf" syndrom. After awhile the people using the terms so compromise them that they no longer have any real effectiveness.

        I think the issue with google news is that it is bending to pressure from outside groups to modify its content. Just as they caved into the Chinese they cave into groups who claim that any non-compliance is the same as supporting hate-speech or racism. It is no different than the blackmail some groups use against corporate interest. Either pay us or we will sully your name.

        Discussion is only permitted if you agree with the PC stance. Any deviation from the PC stance and you will be villified. If you fight back you will have the extreme examples tossed at you as if they were the majority and not the minority they are. Favorite phrases will include "you don't like Nazis do you" while comparing the target you are defending to them. Along the lines of "its for the children" to thereby attempt to dissuade any potential objection.

        If Google News is going to be unbiased then they need to list all views, even those the staff at Google does not agree with. Anything else reduces the value of their service.
        • Nope. There's no need to point to some conspiracy theory here. The articles suppressed are simply crude trollbaiting that would feel quite at home in COLA. You need to draw the line somewhere. Raving paranoia is a pretty good place to start.

          I mean, it's news they're trying to aggregate...
        • If Google News is going to be unbiased then they need to list all views, even those the staff at Google does not agree with. Anything else reduces the value of their service.BR>
          Ah, you've just defined the basis for true freedom - the ability to have expression, even if others don't agree with it.
      • The fact that this is an ethnic ex-muslim saying these things would be a pretty good start.

        In the US we typically tolerate more frank discussion when it is intracultural vs intercultural.

        Her comments may have also been presented with less obvious blather to actually appear as potentially respectable. Also, not every idea that casts some group or sacred cow in a bad light is necessarily incorrect just because it might offend some worshipers of the sacred cow.

        This is the rampant, mindless political correctnes
    • I do support most of what you say but I think that it is us that should do the censoring with our feet. Free speech, including stupid rants, are the cornerstone of real democracy and as such should be faught for. I think that the ranters should be made accountable for what they say rather than some self appointed power deciding what is in the public good. In this case, I think that there should be some legal redress rather than blocking because I do not see what gives google the right to decide what will
  • blog != news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:52AM (#15392941) Homepage
    At first I was shocked to read the /. blurb, but then I realised that all of these were mere blogs and thus had no place in a news aggregation site to begin with.

    Can't wait till /. starts filtering entires tagged "blog".
    • One person's hate speech is another persons free speech.

      If Google is going to eliminate blogs as new sources when receiving complaints about their content they need to remove all of them.

      Its always easy to find extreme examples to justify a position. Its just that too often those extreme examples overshadow all else in the discussion.
      • No, you're wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:58AM (#15393223)
        One person's hate speech is another persons free speech.
        No. It's all "speech". Whether it is "Free" or not depends upon the government you are under.

        In the USofA, the "Free Speech" is about saying the government is wrong and not being arrested for saying that.

        There is still "libel" and other other categories where "speech" is not "Free".
        If Google is going to eliminate blogs as new sources when receiving complaints about their content they need to remove all of them.
        You seem to have problems with this "category" concept.

        A "blog" may contain actual news items. In which case, it is news.

        Or a "blog" may contain nothing more than someone's bigotted rantings. In which case it is not news.

        So claiming that all "blogs" should be removed from a news site simply because one sub-category was is ignorant.
        Its always easy to find extreme examples to justify a position. Its just that too often those extreme examples overshadow all else in the discussion.
        The "discussion" is about the "blogs" and how they do not contain any news. Just some bigot's rantings.

        Google is a company, not a government.

        You can still find those site via Google's web index. They just aren't listed as news sites on Google's news index. And, again, that is because they don't have any news, just some bigot's rantings.

        And if you don't agree that those are the rantings of bigots, then go back and read the article that says Islam is a "cult" and a "false" religion. Then look at the stats for followers of each religion.
    • I realised that all of these were mere blogs and thus had no place in a news aggregation site to begin with.

      indeed [google.com]

      (I think the problem was not that they were blogs, but they were not news sites but hate sites.)
    • Re:blog != news (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xcomputer_man (513295) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:11AM (#15393773) Homepage
      Er, no. Power Line, Wonkette, Polipundit, Infoshop, and antiwar.com are indexed on Google news. The "blog" argument does not fly, and has never even been an excuse offered by Google over this controversy. Geez, even Democratic Underground is listed on Google News.

      The "opinion" vs. "news" argument is incorrect, too. It is easily the popular opinion around here that any site that happens to be critical and frank about the Islamic religion is a "hate" site (but of course, that does not apply to the Christian religion in this case, does it?). We can all hide our heads in the sand here as the good Google fanboys we are here and say Google is being "responsible", but since when did I commission Google to tell me what I should hear and what I shouldn't hear? There is plenty of opinion indexed on Google News -- it is downright dishonest to claim otherwise. So why will Google index Islamofascist propaganda sites al-Manar (owned by Hezbollah) and Khilafah.com, but decide that I don't need to see some other site that happens to point out terrorist bombings in Indonesia and the West Bank all the time? What do you define as "unbiased" or "news" here?

      Let's not even begin to talk about cases where Google has been discovered to editorialize news headlines, such as removing the word "alleged" from a headline describing Guantanamo Bay as a "torture camp".

      Lord help my karma for pointing out the unpopular opinion.
      • by mwvdlee (775178)
        since when did I commission Google to tell me what I should hear and what I shouldn't hear?

        Ever since you chose to use their site to find news.
      • Re:blog != news (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sheldon (2322)
        Power Line, Wonkette, Polipundit, Infoshop, and antiwar.com are indexed on Google news.

        They shouldn't be.

        but of course, that does not apply to the Christian religion in this case, does it?).

        Oh man, why do you guys always have to start sounding like the Mullahs of Iran and make me not like you?

        Let's not even begin to talk about cases where Google has been discovered to editorialize news headlines, such as removing the word "alleged" from a headline describing Guantanamo Bay as a "torture camp".

        Oh, you poor
      • I've not heard such double-speak in a while, and so ineffective. No one is buying the bullshit, not Americans, not Google, not Rex Banner, not anyone.

        Considering that Islam is one of the most popular and most fractured religions in the world, can you tell me how anyone can speak critically and frankly about the religion as whole? The only way it works is through stereotyping, assumptions, and straw men.

        If you would like to speak critically about Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaida, the government of Saudi Arabia, th
  • Drudge Report? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:54AM (#15392951)
    I don't think I've ever seen the Drudge Report in Google News, and he actually does get scoops now and then. True he's a bit out there, but he's way down the nutso scale compared to some of the other sites that Google News gives presence to.
    • I don't think I've ever seen the Drudge Report in Google News, and he actually does get scoops now and then.

      Name one other true scoop from drudge besides Lewinski.

      Drudge may not be as nutso as these sites, but do a search on drudge at google news [google.com] and you find real new sites rebutting his "stories".

      I suspect he's been kicked from google news for being a rumour site.
      • I know in several elections he's posted exit poll numbers and predicted results (I remember this was the case with the Schwarzenegger landslide). He had scoops on CBS using faked memos to support the Bush National Guard story. I don't read it regularly but I know I've seen it happen many times. It's true that most of the time his scoops appear to come from people at other news outlets leaking to him; presumably they are unhappy with their own editors' reluctance and know his standards are much lower.

        Even so
  • by Tx (96709) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:57AM (#15392963) Journal
    Having taken time to read the "The New Media Journal" objectionable stories linked in the summary, I have to say the answer is clear, Google are being responsible. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and of course some will complain that Google have't drawn it in exactly the right place, but IMHO it's perfectly reasonable to take the position that those stories are out-and-out anti-Islamic hate material, with not a shred of responsible journalism.
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:58AM (#15392966)
    They are opinion pieces at it's best, and certainly contains heavy bashing, trolling and hate speach. I am against censorship as next liberal guy, but these guys don't deserve any kind of additional promotion, in my humble opinion.
  • by techsoldaten (309296) * on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:58AM (#15392968) Journal
    Leave it to World Net Daily to assign a political agenda to the actions of Google. Reality really does seem to have a liberal bias.

    The content of the articles aside, one has to wonder why an site that is unabashedly slanted towards political commentary can really be considered news in the first place. There is a big difference between political analysis of world events (i.e. what one party is doing, what is going on with legislation, etc.) and political commentary (diatribes about various organized groups, short fictions about the way the world works, etc.). WND comes down in the later camp, it always has, and the fact they were ever included in a 'News' aggregator is troublesome.

    I mean, isn't there a line somewhere, where information stops being news and starts being propaganda? I always thought it had something to do with whether or not a story is a recitation of facts or someone's personal opinion. There seems to be some confusion between objectivity and fairness these days, where a plurality of viewpoints (slanted in one direction or the other) is considered a substitute for faithfulness to events in themselves.

    M

    • Google news includes this disclaimer at the bottom of the page
      "The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program."

      Yet if sites are excluded then someone had to take action.

      While some of us may find WND lacking credibility there are other sites that equally lack creditability in the eyes of many that will be represented.

      Who decides?

      If Google is trying to pass off Google News as an aggregator of all the news available then they need to take a hands off app
  • by benjjj (949782)
    of far-right self-pity over the media's refusal to abandon its last shreds of decency and publish bigotry as "balance".
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @07:59AM (#15392974) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to take a moment to coin a new "law" that I have observed in recent years. Maybe I'm just seeing something "new" where there is nothing. Maybe I'm just wrong. But let me propose that hyperbole has a profound effect on language. As actual occurences of some objectionable activity becomes less and less prevailent in society, the tempation to use hyperbole to imply that some lesser action is equivilent to that objectional activity becomes more common. The above "story" has two examples of it. First, there's Google who have used hyperbole to justify their self interested actions of rejecting some stories. They've claimed something is "hate speech" to make a point that it is not the content they want on their web site. In response, the sites being chucked have used hyperbole to suggest that Google is "censoring" them. Nevermind the fact that no actual hate speech has occured. Nevermind the fact that Google has not stopped these sites from delivering their content directly to interested parties. How does this affect language? If more people are refering to behaviour as "hate speech" when in fact a better description would be a "bitch session", doesn't that change the definition of the word? What if censorship were completely eliminated (as it is in most western societies, with the obvious exceptions to matters of national security) and the word were used to refer to other behaviour, like telling someone to shut the hell up because you're sick of hearing them blabber. "Can you two go argue in the lunch room, you're giving me a headache." "Hey man, you can't censor us!" What's annoying is that these are really important words. You can't talk about keeping the world safe from censorship with a straight face when every idiot is claiming they are being censored.
    • What's annoying is that these are really important words.

      Yes. And notice how the admistration misuses words to political gain by confusing the issues.

      Currently there is more or less a civil war happening in Iraq, and yet many people here in the West think of it being caused by "terrorists". And of course we are fighting a "war" and yet the guys at the prison camps are not "Prisoners of war" but "enermy combatants". And what the hell are "insurgents"? All of this has a profound effect on how people think abo
  • World Net Daily pushing for accurate and unsensational news reporting.
  • Get a dictionary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@[ ]-x.com ['ian' in gap]> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:07AM (#15393010) Homepage
    This isn't censorship. This is a media outlet choosing not to publish opinion pieces which it thinks would be irresponsible, and possibly contrary to its editorial viewpoint. Should the Times (either of them) publish every editorial sent their way? If not, then why should Google?
    • I agree wholeheartedly with Google's actions on this, but I thought the point of Google News is it's not supposed to have an "editorial viewpoint" beyond its mysterious aggregation algorithms. The only time people actually enter into it is in cases like this, when someone somewhere decides whether or not a source is "news" and therefore subject to aggregation.
  • News sites? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Antony-Kyre (807195)
    Let me see. They remove those sites because of hate speech (but isn't hate speech still freedom of speech?), yet they leave sites such as The Spoof listed in news.google.com as a source.

    Moderate me down if you will. I just wanted to point that out.
  • I didn't have time to fully read these stories, but i did browse through them a bit. One sentence made me agree with Google: "Bush is actually fighting a war on two fronts. One is with Islam, the real enemy". This isn't news. This is stating an opinion, which has no place in reporting the news. Key word here is 'reporting'. Just stick to that. Don't bring your opinion, because it's not the same as all of your readers'.
    • Key word here is 'reporting'. Just stick to that.

      But "reporting" isn't profitable anymore. There has to be some sort of entertainment value or else people are going to change the channel. People are turning ignorant in pursuit of their bread and circuses.

      My local FOX affiliate does about 20 minutes of coverage on American Idol every Wednesday. Obviously, there isn't anything more important than that that happened today.
  • by Shannon Love (705240) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:38AM (#15393124) Homepage
    There would seem to be an implicit contract between myself and Goggle that they do their best to find the information I am looking for and not that they are trying to manipulate me. I use Goggle and other search engines to find information not to be protected from it. When Google starts seeing itself in the business of deciding what sites I should or should not see based on their evaluation of the sites content, they become useless to me.

    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:24AM (#15393394) Homepage Journal

      Of course you are, to the extent that you're paying them at all by using Google and viewing ads. The entire point behind Google is that it uses "intelligent searching algorithms" to filter out the nonsense and only show actual relevant results.

      When Google starts seeing itself in the business of deciding what sites I should or should not see based on their evaluation of the sites content, they become useless to me.

      I find that statement really amusing, because that's exactly what Google sells themself as doing. They evaluate the site based on their PageRank algorithm, and decide what you should or should not see based on that. The entire point behind Google is that it filters content. A search is a filter, and then the order is determined based on other filters. Google is a filter - that's why you use it, to filter out things that aren't relevant to what you're looking for.

      What Google is doing here is declaring that some blogs aren't worth appearing on Google News, and is removing them as a source from Google News (although not the Google Search index). You'll still be able to find them using Google, just not Google News, since Google News is supposed to be a filter returning only valid news sites. (Why it still returns results from Slashdot in that case is anyone's guess. :))

      • Automatic filter (Score:3, Insightful)

        Google news sold itself as being the first truely machine-based news aggregator. The whole idea was that they were unbiased because they just polled the sites and made their lists based on things like PageRank (and other super-secret factors).

        Well, now we see that's not the case. There are actually editorial decisions being made as to what is and is not considered news. There is also some criticism that those decisions are not being applied in a uniform manner. Those may be unfair criticisms mainly beca
    • Google IS a filter (Score:4, Insightful)

      by enjahova (812395) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:09AM (#15393753) Homepage
      What do you think Google does? Both the search engine and the news service do nothing but FILTER results to be relevant to you. Notice how you say "find the information I am looking for" which means they must NOT find information you are NOT looking for.

      Seeing as they are running a news service, one would expect the users of the service to be searching for NEWS. A few blogs that are slightly more read than the average bitchfest apparently do not count as news sites for google anymore.

      I understand some people might agree with the drivel posted on those sites, but that doesn't make those sites news. The Google News service is nothing but a FILTER that only shows you sites on the internet that are news.
  • by darkwhite (139802)
    Google News removes 3 sites from its feed which have demonstrated a completely unprofessional (and sometimes hateful) approach to journalism, sites which they originally added in an effort to increase diversity of their news sources. This is censorship how?

    Claiming that Google News practices censorship is utterly ridiculous given the amount, diversity, and accomodated bias of their news sources, and the human-out-of-the-loop (as they claim) algorithm that selects the actual headliner stories. You want to fi
  • by tqbf (59350) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:47AM (#15393164) Homepage

    Here are samples, from all three of the cited articles, of what Google didn't want appearing in news search results:

    "Honestly, I cannot open a paper or turn on the television without seeing mobs of Muslim savages celebrating in front of burning embassies..."

    "Is it really tacky of me to smile at the nightly scenes on TV showing Arab, Afghani and Pakistani Muslims bombing mosques and killing their Muslim brothers, sisters and children at a brisk pace because that's all they know how to do?"

    "Islam is moving across the world like a dark, evil cloud."

    "Worshiping a sex-maniac and a child molester? [...] Muslims are true victims of Islam. However, they fail to realize that Islam is a cult, and the prophet was a demon ..."

    The funnier thing is watching WorldNetDaily stick up for The Jawa Report. Apparently nobody there has seen Star Wars or watched South Park. "Jawas?""You know, sand people."

    These aren't news stories critical of Islam. They're "editorials" with as much credibility as content from Stormfront.org.

    • I have watched Muslims dancing in the street in celebration of 9/11. I have seen Muslims celebrating in front of burning embassy.

      I have watched on the news, on sect of Muslims blowing up one the holiest mosques of another sect.

      I have seen reports of Islam growing in many countries, especially third world countries. And, with this rise in Muslims, there has been a rise in violence, murder and terrorist bombings.

      In the Koran/Quran, it states that Mohammed married Aisha when she was six years old and then cons
      • by g8oz (144003) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:00PM (#15394835)
        1) How many times is this old bit about Prophet Muhammed marrying a 9 year old girl going to be passed around? He wasn't married to her, he was *betrothed*. The early marriage tradition is based on a unverified hadith by an author with little credibility. Other traditions says she was 14 to 19. Who knows when consumation was, but its worth pointing out that he wasn't doing anything strange by marrying a young girl, thats just the way was in Middle East at that time. Betrothal and consumation were typically seperated by several years until the girl reached puberty at least.

        For a good read on this and other Islamic issues please read "No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam" [amazon.com] by Reza Aslan

        2) Expressing opinions and criticizing Islam is one thing, hysterical bigoted ranting is another - it has no place in Google news.
      • In the Koran/Quran, it states that Mohammed married Aisha when she was six years old and then consumated the marriage when she was nine years old. That means the the Prophet Mohammed had sex with a nine year old girl. Having sex with a nine year old child is the act of a pedophile.
        There is no such thing mentioned in the Quran. The age of Aisha is mentioned in oral traditions (Hadith) which were transcribed well over a hundred years after the prophets demise. Additionally most of the Hadith mentioning Ai
  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:47AM (#15393166)
    Khilafah.com [google.com] Seems like a double standard to me. If a blog or opinion site is unsuitable, why are Islamist sites allowed to spue and call it "news"?
  • Grow up! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by redelm (54142) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:02AM (#15393251) Homepage
    Every editurd cuts material. Especially /.s moderators :) Why they cut is their choice. There really isn't room for everything, or at least not on prime eyeball real-estate.

    I wish people would quit misusing termsfor inflammatory purposes: piracy for unauthorized copying is one example. Censorship for editorial selection is another. _True_ censorship is not failing to publish whole works, but publishing them with the naughty bits cut out. Usually fairly small cuts to preserve a greater part of the authors work, but to twist it's meaning. It _is_ reprehensible, because it's simply theft of ideas.

  • by internic (453511) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:56AM (#15393630)

    From the first link to The New Media Journal, "Come to think of it, before 9/11, we never heard of words like Al Qaeda, Taliban, Jihad, Homeland Security..." With the exception of Homeland Security (which didn't actually exist at the time, except as a fictional deptartment in various fiction stories about dystopian, totalitarian futures) all these other things were in the news or elsewhere long before 9/11. Perhaps most glaring is Al Qaeda. It would have been hard to miss when they bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, or when they bombed the USS Cole in 2000, unless, of course, you paid no attention to the news. I even remember thinking after the bombing on the Cole how Al Qaeda kept coming up in the news. So, yeah, I wouldn't exactly trust this guy to report the news. Taking this site out of Google news was almost certainly the right decision.

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:53PM (#15395294)
    This is not cencorship. Google, as a private corporation, has the right to edit the information it presents. It has no obligation, whatsoever, to be balanced or fair. It can link to whatever it wants. Part of freedom of speech is exercising editorial control. Freedom of speech isn't just being able to say whatever you want, but to also not say what you don't want to say.

    On the other hand, if it is true (I am not saying that it is true... I am not that familiar with Google News) that left wing bigotry and racism are tolerated while right wing bigotry and racism isn't, that would clearly be a double standard. While Google has the legal right to present any information they want, in any way they want, they do have an ethical obligation not to slant the news presented to be of any one viewpoint.

    At the least, Google should publish an objective set of criteria that is used to evaluate if a news source is "acceptable" or "not", and keep the whole process transparent.
  • Two problems (Score:3, Insightful)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum. m i t .edu> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @01:08PM (#15395430) Homepage

    I've got two problems with Google's censorship here. The first is that people don't just use Google for "news", but for research of various kinds. That means that they need to find whatever is out there. If you want to understand political attitudes, for example, you certainly need to know the positions and arguments of those with whom you may disagree violently. As a left-wing secular Jew I have not the slightest sympathy for Nazism, but I have read Mein Kampf and think that it should be widely available, precisely so that people can understand the evil of Nazism and how the Nazis rose to power. Similarly, anyone trying to understand such topics as the relationship between the West and the Muslim world or American views on foreign policy needs to look at web sites offering the full range of views, even if some of them are considered by most people to be vile.

    The second problem is that Google evidently has an overly broad notion of hate speech, as do many /-ers. True hate speech falsely vilifies a group of people and urges violence or discrimination against them. Criticism of a movement or ideology is not hate speech. Islam is an ideology with both religious and political elements, and it is also a movement (or if you like collection of movements), and it is legitimately subject to criticism just like any other religion or political movement. If it is legitimate to condemn Communism, Neo-Conservatism, Nazism, or right-wing Christian fundamentalism, why is not legitimate to condemn Islam?

    One can argue about the accuracy of some of the material in the allegedly objectionable posts - I, for example, wonder about the accuracy of the claims that Mohammed slept with nine=year old girls and had 20 wives - but much of what they say is quite true. In its mainstream forms, Islam is an expansionist movement, it is intolerant of other religions and atheism, it is exclusive, it does advocate theocracy, it does consider the use of force to conquer territory for Islam justifiable, it is oppressive of women, etc. It is by no means the only religion with such properties (Christianity in the forms dominant in the 15th century, for example, had very similar faults), but it is not false and defamatory to raise these issues. We need to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Islam and other ideologies and movements, and deliberate or reckless demonization of particular ethnic groups or followers of an ideology and advocacy of violence against them.

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