Media critic

Late August hasn’t slowed the movement of conspiracy theories into President Trump’s brain pan. There he was again, tweeting on Tuesday morning:

Never one to develop original thoughts — even bogus original thoughts — Trump is springboarding off of a story in PJ Media by Paula Bolyard: “96 Percent of Google Search Results for ‘Trump’ News Are from Liberal Media Outlets.” For her analysis of “liberal media outlets,” Bolyard relied on a chart of ideological media positions developed by Sharyl Attkisson — you know, the same Sharyl Attkisson who rushed to the defense of then-candidate Trump over the John McCain war-hero controversy. Here’s that chart, in all of its ludicrous simplicity:


Instead of the “left” and “right” headings, Attkisson could just as well have placed “Breaks News” and “Doesn’t Break News,” respectively, on the two groups. That’s because all the news outlets that have broken stories on the Trump White House — The Post, the New York Times, CNN, Politico, NBC News, the Daily Beast, BuzzFeed and many others — are identified as “left.” The ones that break far less news fall on the right side. Nice work, Attkisson.

Flimsy pro-Trump logic appeals to no one as much as it does to Fox Business personality Lou Dobbs, who on Monday night cited the PJ Media report and said, “I take it that you’re not surprised that Google is — well, sort of banning conservatives from their search results with President Trump.” The president took things from there.

The idiocy plume forced people at Google to stop doing things that may have been productive, and respond. A statement from the company:

When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds. Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.

The fellow who came into office promising a businessman’s sense of the world apparently doesn’t understand: Internet search, like everything else in today’s world, is super-competitive. Should Google sideline important feeds from its search results, it would lose share. So the matter that the president says will be “addressed” is already being addressed.

View this particular Trump freakout as the crazed spasm of a man who doesn’t have enough power to satisfy his own narcissism. For years, he has been telling his followers about all the “fake news” from the very outlets that get good traction on Google. The reason they get good traction on Google is that those outlets produce news stories that hold up, that gain adherence on social media, that attract links all over the Internet. This is an organic process that not even the president, with all his tweeting and harrumphing, can interdict. With some exceptions highly touted by Trumpites, the reporting of all these “left” news outlets has nailed down story after irrefutable story about the Trump White House.

And it just so happens that the vast majority of those stories are negative. Because: How do you place a positive spin on dissing John McCain? How do you place a positive spin on the conviction of Paul Manafort? How do you place a positive spin on the guilty plea of Michael Cohen? How do you place a positive spin on Trump calling Omarosa Manigault Newman a “low life”? How do you place a positive spin on Helsinki? Come on, Mr. President — you gotta give Google something to work with.