Search engine giant Google has cut off its news relationship with a number of online news publications that include frank discussions of radical Islam – the New Media Journal becoming the latest termination, as its owner just discovered.
Frank Salvato, who began the agreement with Google News last September, said he received a reply from the company's help desk Friday indicating there had been complaints of "hate speech" on his site, as first reported by media watchdog Newsbusters.org.
The e-mail, which cited three articles that dealt with radical Islam and its relationship to terrorism, read:
Newsbusters says it has observed a pattern of intolerance toward conservative sites that deal with radical Islam and terrorism.
Rusty Shackleford, owner of The Jawa Report, received a similar e-mail message March 29 informing him: "Upon recent review, we've found that your site contains hate speech, and we will no longer be including it in Google News."
Two weeks later, Jim Sesi's MichNews.com was cut off, with Google providing three examples of "hate speech" by conservative writer J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Newsbusters commented: "At first blush, one can easily ignore such business decisions by the most powerful company on the Internet as being routine. However, on closer examination, such behavior could give one relatively small technological corporation (when measured by the size of its workforce) a degree of political might that frankly dwarfs its current financial prowess."
The media watchdog noted columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin wrote in February 2005 her difficulties in becoming part of Google News. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs had a similar complaint.
When Google News launched its beta site in April 2002, it said its mission was to construct an unbiased news engine free of human intervention using new methods of aggregating news from sources worldwide.
According to the April Nielsen/NetRatings report, 49 percent of all searches conducted in the U.S. in March 2006 were carried out on Google. Along with the dropping of conservative news providers, Google has received other complaints of liberal bias.