One of the pitfalls of using third party information in populating Google search results, apparently, is that those third parties can be nasty Leftists that present malicious smears of Republicans.
When searching for ‘Trudy Wade,’ a Republican state senator from Greensboro, Google presents basic info, along with a picture. The only problem with the picture, aside from being out of date, is the fact that it is labeled ‘BIGOT’ in big red text at the bottom.
And this is not an isolated incident, according to Vice News, who broke the story:
“It’s just the latest example of Google not vetting the information that gets pulled into its “knowledge panels,” which are meant to give users quick information without them having to click through search results (often on other, non-Google websites).
Wade declined to comment to VICE News, but a legislative aide reacted angrily to the search results, adding that “the picture isn’t even current.”
Google’s “Bigot” picture has surfaced as Wade is in the midst of a tough re-election battle against marketing executive and Democrat Michael Garrett. The state’s district maps were redrawn for this election after several courts ruled that the state had been racially gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.
VICE News asked Google for comment before the story went online but did not receive a response. After the story was published, Google took down the photo and a Google spokesperson sent a statement that read: “Information and images from our Knowledge Panels are automatically sourced from around the web. When we are alerted to issues like this, we move quickly to fix the problem, as we did in this case.”
This is not an isolated incident for the tech giant. On Thursday, VICE News reported that Google had listed “Nazism” as the primary ideology of the California Republican Party in the “knowledge” box of search results.
Google acknowledged the error but said it wasn’t really their fault since they rely on other sources like Wikipedia to populate the knowledge panel. “Sometimes people vandalize public information sources, like Wikipedia, which can impact the information that appears in search,” a Google spokesperson said.”
Curiously there has yet to surface evidence that similar mistakes are affecting public personas on the Left. The piece at Vice News cautions that this is NOT about political bias, but rather a problem with the algorithm that sources the images and information.
Far from sourcing from Wikipedia, though, the Trudy Wade smear picture came from a Leftist LGBTQ blog from activist Matt Comer.
“[…]Comer, who was upset with Wade’s support of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and civil unions (which voters ultimately passed in May of 2012). “Let me put this as plainly as I can: Mrs. Wade, you are a bigot,” Comer said in his post. “In what just world is it appropriate to support a constitutional measure that forever encases an entire minority of people in second-class citizenship?””
Google has since apologized for the photo, saying in a tweet, “We apologize to Senator Wade that this image appeared in the Knowledge Panel in Search. Images that appear in the Knowledge Panel are either selected by verified users or are automatically sourced from sites across the web.”
That seems to be an obligatory, ‘I’m sorry’, the kind a child gives when forced to. In a statement, Wade accepted the apology but iterated how “hollow” it seemed.
“Although I appreciate Google’s belated apology, if I’m being completely honest it rang a bit hollow. When I learned of the hateful image yesterday, an aide requested Google take it down. She was told to find and contact the original author of the photo, and the post stayed up. Even when the Insider’s Colin Campbell broke the story in Raleigh, the image remained. Only after Drudge Report posted it to a national audience and it began to go viral on social media did Google do the right thing.”
Seriously? Something tells us if such a smear had been mistakenly linked to a search for Barack Obama, for example, Google would have taken it down immediately. It was only when the public pressure mounted that it fixed the issue.
“”We think the image you’re trying to remove hasn’t been removed by the site owner. Before Google can remove it from our search results, the site owner needs to take down or update the content … Your request can’t be processed until the site owner removes or updates the page.
Google then told her how to contact the owner of the site.
What was the aide supposed to say to the radical LGBT activist blogger to convince him to change, or take down the image in the first place? Why in the world was that blog the only possible source of a photo of Mrs. Wade, instead of, perhaps, the website for the North Carolina General Assembly where Wade serves?!
Well, true to form, the News & Observer chose to contact Comer and include his comments at the conclusion of their news article.
“On June 3, Matt Comer, who posted the “bigot” image, tweeted that Wade never contacted him.
“But even if she had, I wouldn’t have taken down the image. Facts are facts, and the fact is: Trudy Wade is a bigot,” he wrote.
Wade is seeking re-election in District 27, which includes parts of Greensboro and Guilford County, and is facing Democrat Michael Garrett for a second time.
Wade isn’t the only Republican to face bizarre opposition this week. Republicans have a supermajority in the state House and state Senate. The state budget proposal, which passed this week, was mostly written without the input of Democrats.”
So as readers of the Leftist Rag of Raleigh reach the conclusion of this article, they read ‘facts are facts, and the fact is Trudy Wade is a bigot….oh, by the way Trudy Wade is running for reelection.’
To round it out the authors throw in a completely unrelated jab at Republican majorities decision to **GASP** pass budget modifications without a soap box amendment process.
Covering the story of (negligent at best) media smears, while furthering that very smear. Very classy.