Users of the popular search engine Google who type in “miserable failure” will find the official White House biography of President George W. Bush pop up as the first entry.
Though often intoned by presidential candidate Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., the phrase appears nowhere in the Bush bio page.
Silicon Valley-based Google is not responsible for the search-engine result, according to New York Newsday.
Computer users rigged it by posting the phrase on Web pages and linking it to the Bush biography, the paper said, in a technique called Google bombing.
A Weblog enthusiast said he spontaneously joined in the prank in late October.
“I thought it was absolutely one of the funniest ideas I’ve ever heard,” Don Waller, owner a Web design company in New York, told the paper. “This is just one of those spontaneous things that a blogger will post something and other bloggers will say, ‘This is a great idea.’”
Newsday said White House spokesman Ken Lisaius had no comment, and Google did not return phone calls.
Creating the association apparently required no more than 32 pages with the phrase “miserable failure” linking to the Bush bio.
Just before the Iraq war began, tricksters rigged Google to bring up a page ridiculing France for its refusal to join coalition forces. A search for “French military victories” brought up a spoof page modeled after the standard “no documents were found,” which asked, “Did you mean ‘french military defeats?’”