Google’s global warming search bias

The rumor that Google has tuned its search algorithm to work against the skeptics of climate change alarmism appears to be true. Searches on prominent skeptics systematically yield more negative attacks than positive information. This cannot be an accident. It may well be illegal, given Google’s deep financial interest in alarmism.

It all started when I did a Google search on myself. This is not something that I usually do, but I was dealing with some new people and I figured they might look me up, so I looked to see what they would see. What I found was startlingly negative.

It is said that when people are looking for introductory information the first Google results page is all that counts, so let’s stick with that. My first page has 10 items on it. The very first item is an attack piece from something strangely called DeSmogBlog. This is basically a Canadian public relations outfit that does little except attack skeptics of climate change alarmism. It turns out that Google loves DeSmogBlog.

You would think that the billion dollar Google search algorithm would look for the most recent information, but the DeSmog piece looks to be from 2012. Moreover, the third, fifth, seventh and tenth items are also all attack pieces, two of which are actually dated in 2012. So Google had to go back almost 6 years, in order to lard my first page with half of the items being personal attacks. Clearly this is not accidental.

Of the remaining five items, two are without substantive content, they being my twitter account and a white pages entry. So there are just 3 out of 10 that actually direct people to my work. One of those (the fifth) is to articles I wrote for the Society for Scholarly Publishing, a gig that ended in 2014, so is hardly current.

The second item on the page is almost current, it being to my policy advisory role at the Heartland Institute, which page includes several of last years articles. The truly current item is way down the page at ninth. This is a link to my author page here at CFACT, which includes all of my recent articles.

So this is a dismal showing on Google’s part, unless their goal is to discredit me in the eyes of their fellow alarmists. This they do pretty well, even if they have to go back six years to do it. So my hypothesis is that they do the discrediting deliberately.

To test this hypothesis I did some Google searches on truly prominent skeptics. Guess what? I got the same pattern of negative results, which always includes a hit from DeSmogBlog. Here are some examples:

Roy Spencer gets 7 out of 10 items attacking him, including one from DeSmogBlog in fourth slot. He beat my 5 out of 10 pretty handily. Go Roy!

Will Happer ties with me, with 5 out of 10 attack pieces, but one of his attacks is from the Washington Post, which gives him an edge in prestige points. His DeSmogBlog attack is second on the page list. (Mine was first, so there, but Paul Driessen and Craig Rucker each also get their DeSmogBlog hit as the first entry.)

Richard Lindzen also gets 5 out of 10 Google items attacking him. Two of these are from British newspapers (one dated 2014) so he may hold the international lead at this point. His DeSmogBlog hit is fifth on his list.

CFACT’s own Marc Morano gets 6 attack pieces, but his list is also longer at 12 items. His DeSmogBlog hit is fourth. But one of his hits is the 2012 award –“Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year: Marc Morano” — from an alarmist group, so lots of prestige points here.

Pat Michaels also gets 5 attacks out of 10 items, with a DeSmogBlog hit in fourth slot. Perhaps this is Google’s idea of balance, that every search on a person should include a lot of attack pieces. No, I did a search on Jennifer Aniston (remember I am old) and there was nothing negative on the first page.

The pattern is obvious — attack the skeptics of climate change alarmism. The ever present use of the wacko DeSmogBlog attacks, usually in the top 5 items and often first or second, is actually pretty funny. But it is also telling, as is the going back many years to pick up attack pieces, while the informational pieces are far more recent. This pattern cannot be accidental; the algorithm is clearly tuned to discredit skeptics of climate change alarmism.

The interesting question is this illegal? After all Google boasts that it has billions of dollars invested in renewable energy. Skepticism of alarmism probably threatens those investments. Deliberately discrediting people in order to protect or enhance your business interests sounds illegal to me. Maybe there is even a class action suit in this.


About the Author: David Wojick, Ph.D.

David Wojick is a journalist and policy analyst. He holds a doctorate in epistemology, specializing in the field of Mathematical Logic and Conceptual Analysis.