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WND being censored from search engines?
Posted By Drew Zahn On 07/24/2009 @ 5:49 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
On a story that no news organization has followed more closely than WND – questions surrounding Barack Obama’s birth certificate – one of the Internet’s top news portals, Google News, is now placing dozens of sources and even left-leaning blogs higher in the search rankings than WND.
So appears to be Bing, the new Google competitor.
Weeks ago, when WND was one of the few sources for news information about President Obama’s eligibility controversy, a search for “Obama birth certificate” on Google News would have produced dozens of WND story links.
Today, however, typing in “Obama birth certificate” and sorting by relevance leads to a long list of links apparently deemed more “relevant” than WND’s coverage.
Screenshot of Google News’ most “relevant” stories, none of which are from WND
Even clicking to open the top package of stories under “all news articles,” any article from WND takes a while to find. Instead, four of the top five stories listed are from the left-leaning Huffington Post. The sixth story is from the Los Angeles Times, titled “How to really shut up the Obama ‘birthers.’”
Screenshot of Google News’ most “relevant” links in its lead article package, showing most from Huffington Post
Clicking on the related blogs section further shows that 12 of the 18 listed entries are from the “progressive” websites Huffington Post and Daily Kos.
Sorting the main page’s results by relevance, the first mention of a WND story on Obama’s birth certificate is a column by WND Editor Joseph Farah, listed on the fourth page of results; and the first news story is an article dated July 19, found on the fourth page of results.
WND even posted a fresh story – while this article was being written – about Obama’s birth certificate and containing the key words “Obama birth certificate,” but rather than appearing among the most “relevant” stories on Google News, it appears on the fifth page of search results.
Farah will be on Michael Savage’s radio program today to discuss what he calls “a broad pattern of Internet search engine censorship” that began today by Google, Bing and others blocking WND’s extensive coverage of questions surrounding Barack Obama’s eligibility for office.
“In more than 12 years of Internet experience, I have never seen anything like this,” said Farah. “As of today, all the major search engines systematically began scrubbing our content. This happened at the very moment this story broke into the mainstream.”
“Just like the major media outlets banned our billboard campaign, now the major Internet monopolies are banning our content on this issue,” Farah said. “It is an outrage in a supposedly free society.”
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard in Pennsylvania
The billboard campaign follows an ongoing petition campaign launched several months ago by WND Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah.
The billboards are intended to raise public awareness of the fact that Obama has never released the standard “long-form” birth certificate that would show which hospital he was born in, the attending physician and establish that he truly was born in Hawaii, as his autobiography maintains. Hawaiian officials have said they have seen that document; but a recent report on the Lou Dobbs show on CNN said in a directly conflicting statement that Hawaiian officials said the document was destroyed.
Over the last few days, other media outlets have picked up on the story, particularly in the wake of Dobbs’ on-air discussions of the issue, leading to a wide variety of links on news portals like those through search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing.
What’s unclear, however, is how the search engines sort by “relevance.”
Searching “Obama birth certificate” on Yahoo’s news portal brings up WND links on the first page of results, though the newest stories are still several pages into the search results. Microsoft’s new Bing engine doesn’t list WND articles at all. And until recently, WND’s stories were considered among the most “relevant” by Google News, but are now buried in the results pages.
Even sorting the articles by date rather than relevance, to accommodate for the recent surge in media attention on the birth certificate issue, shows the Google News engine not keeping up-to-date on WND’s articles.
The first WND article to appear when searching for “Obama birth certificate” comes on the 19th page of results: a July 20 article, even though WND ran a story and an update on the issue on July 22.
Refining the search to seek out WND specifically reveals the results one would expect, with WND’s articles coming right to the top, so Google News hasn’t omitted WND completely, as MSN’s Bing has. Searching “Obama eligibility” also brings WND articles to the forefront when sorted both by relevance and by date.
For unknown reasons, however, the Google News search engine is assigning dozens of news sources and blogs more “relevance” than WND on the issue of Obama’s birth certificate.
WND requests for comment from Google and others did not generate a response.
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs
“There was no warning, no notice, nothing,” Geller told WND. “They have basically sandboxed me.”
“Sandboxing” happens when Google strips a website’s rankings from its search engine results.
Geller told WND she believed her stories had been intentionally suppressed by the Internet giant – especially ones about President Obama. She said her exclusive stories about Obama’s birth certificate that once received thousands of hits every day stopped coming up in Google word searches.
“I was in the top five search results before the story got legs,” she said. “These stories drove 12,000 to 15,000 people to my site every day.”
But a November earnings report showed her Google clicks and revenue flat lined. Daily page impressions dropped from an average of 20,000 and 45,000 to single digits – overnight. Also, her Google images hits were slowed to only 4,720 since that day, while Yahoo and other search engines list them in the hundreds of thousands.
“The media gives blogs the silent treatment,” she said. “The only thing we have is these searches. The Google word search is gone – all gone. When you are in my business, that’s how you build readership.”
“I think that it’s the birth certificate story,” Geller told WND. “All of the sudden, my numbers were down by 10,000.”
WND also reported concerns from bloggers before the election in 2008 about possible efforts to squelch anti-Obama talk on Google’s Blogspot.com, after several blogs were flagged and locked.
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