Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
t's called the "Google bomb" and liberals are using it to attack 50 Republican candidates they have targeted for defeat in the Nov. 7 elections.
Using complicated computer programs, the Google bombers are able to direct Web searchers to selected articles about specific GOP members of Congress meant to disparage them.
In examples cited by The New York Times, anyone using the Google search engine for information about Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl will be directed to an April 13 article from The Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly which says that Kyl "has spent his time in Washington kowtowing to the Bush administration and the radical right, very often to the detriment of Arizonans.”
A Googler looking for information about "Peter King,” the Republican congressman from Long Island, would bring up a link to a Newsday article headlined "King Endorses Ethnic Profiling.”
The Google bomb ploy is the brainchild of Chris Bowers, a contributor at MyDD.com (Direct Democracy), a far-left group blog. He told the Times that the articles chosen "Had to come from news sources that would be widely trusted in the given district. We wanted actual news reports so it would be clear that we weren’t making anything up.”
The tactic works by flooding the Web with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites on the Web, making it possible to take advantage of Google’s formula and force those negative articles to the top of the list of search results.
It has long been used by Web sites seeking to advance their rankings by attracting more viewers to their sites.
Bowers explained that his project was originally aimed at 70 Republican candidates but was scaled back to roughly 50 because Bowers thought some of the negative articles were too partisan.
According to the Times, each name targeted is associated with just one article, which is embedded in hyperlinks that are now being distributed widely among the left-leaning blogosphere. In an entry at MyDD.com this week, the Times quotes Bowers as saying "When you discuss any of these races in the future, please, use the same embedded hyperlink when reprinting the Republican’s name. Then, I suppose, we will see what happens.”
The tactic is not really new. The Times recalled that the ability to manipulate the Google search engine’s results has been demonstrated in the past. Searching for "miserable failure,” for example, produces the official White House Web site of President Bush.
"We don’t condone the practice of Google bombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results,” Ricardo Reyes, a Google spokesman told the Times. "A site’s ranking in Google’s search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query.”
Google, however, says it won't interfere with anyone using Bower's tactic, telling the Times that Google's faith in its system has produced a hands-off policy when it comes to correcting for the effects of Google bombs in the past. Over all, Google says, the integrity of the search product remains intact.
Writing in the company’s blog last year, Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer Web products, suggested that pranks might be "distracting to some, but they don’t affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission.” Still, some conservative blogs have condemned Bowers’s tactic. These include "Outside the Beltway," which has called him "unscrupulous,” and "Hot Air," which called it "fascinatingly evil.” Bowers tells the Times that despite the obvious intention to damage the re-election chances of his targets, he does not believe the practice would actually deceive most Internet users. "I think Internet users are very smart and most are aware of what a Google bomb is,” he said, "and they will be aware that results can be massaged a bit.”
Writing in the company’s blog last year, Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer Web products, suggested that pranks might be "distracting to some, but they don’t affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission.”
Still, some conservative blogs have condemned Bowers’s tactic. These include "Outside the Beltway," which has called him "unscrupulous,” and "Hot Air," which called it "fascinatingly evil.”
Bowers tells the Times that despite the obvious intention to damage the re-election chances of his targets, he does not believe the practice would actually deceive most Internet users.
"I think Internet users are very smart and most are aware of what a Google bomb is,” he said, "and they will be aware that results can be massaged a bit.”
For all of Google's power and popularity, here's an unexpected question:
Could Google tell people how to vote in the upcoming election?
"Google could theoretically impact an election," said David Berkowitz, at the search engine marketing firm 360i. "Presumably, Google could have a role in who controls Congress."
Here's how. A liberal activist with the group blog "MyDD.com" is directing his followers to "Google Bomb" 50 Republican candidates in the hopes of swaying votes. For example, if a voter is interested in finding out more information about Rep. John Hostettler, an Indiana Republican, the first thing to come up on a search of his name, according to this strategy, would be an article with the headline "Congressman cited with gun at airport."
The article reports "Hostettler was issued a citation by airport police for carrying a concealed deadly weapon and then was released." Likewise, if the Google bomb strategy works, a search for Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., will turn up a story headlined "FBI Raids Homes of Weldon Child, Friend."
The stories are actual newspaper accounts. The strategy, though, is to manipulate Google so that such unsavory articles are the very first result to pop up during an Internet search of the candidate.
Liberal blogger Chris Bowers has compiled links to such stories for about 50 Republican candidates and detailed instructions for other bloggers to include the links in their Web sites.
The idea is to hit the links so often that they change Google's rankings by flooding the Web with these specific references to each candidate. Bowers refused to talk to ABC News about this, saying in an e-mail that he feared the story would be used to help conservatives.
On his Web site Bowers writes, "If you have a blog, please take this action. It will exponentially increase the effectiveness of this campaign. And make sure you keep using the same link whenever you talk about that person on your blog, in the comments, or anywhere else."
The idea isn't new, according to 360i's Berkowitz. He said that during the 2004 election, a similar approach was used to link searches for simple phrases or words like "waffle" to Democratic Sen. John Kerry, and "miserable failure" to President Bush.
"But those results don't have a lot of competition," said Berkowitz, who believes the specifics of today's Google bomb campaign make it much more difficult. "I'm very skeptical in terms of how all this will work. Maybe for a handful of politicians it will, but for the majority, I think it will be a long shot."
If it works at all, the campaign's biggest effect may be on lesser-known candidates who turn up fewer hits during searches. Google officials said they don't condone the practice and believe the company's system is too sophisticated to be effectively gamed in this way.
So what's a Republican to do? Well, consider this posting on "Rightwingnews.com" by John Hawkins: "Well, in my opinion, we should simply fight fire with fire. That's why I put together a list of key races for Republican blogs to Google bomb." And so it goes. Both sides agree it's too soon to say if any of this is actually having an impact. But one thing is certain — this is only the beginning of a new strategy following in the well-worn footsteps of TV political ads.
So what's a Republican to do? Well, consider this posting on "Rightwingnews.com" by John Hawkins: "Well, in my opinion, we should simply fight fire with fire. That's why I put together a list of key races for Republican blogs to Google bomb."
And so it goes. Both sides agree it's too soon to say if any of this is actually having an impact. But one thing is certain — this is only the beginning of a new strategy following in the well-worn footsteps of TV political ads.
Monday, October 23, 2006
With an election looming, the anti-war Democrats and the mainstream media have gone into overdrive in their attempts to undermine support for the fight in Iraq. They lied about the conclusions drawn by all of America's intelligence services. They continue to emphasise the deaths of American soldiers while ignoring all they've done. They talk about splitting the country apart, thus ceding part to Iran, part to al-Qaeda and part to war with Turkey. They can't even decide whether they want to send more troops, or pull all our troops out -- and if the latter, whether precipitously or on a predetermined schedule.
Above all, Democrats and the media are desperate to see Iraq as a repeat of Vietnam. The irony is that it can only become so if the Democrats win.
There was a brief, but intense, flurry in the media last week. "Bush Accepts Iraq-Vietnam Comparison," screamed the headlines after an 18 October interview with ABC news. But the truth is, the President merely agreed with columnist Tom Friedman that the current situation might be compared to the Tet offensive... not, as those on the Left want to hear, to the entirety of Vietnam. That will have to wait until a Democrat-controlled Congress refuses to fund the troops, followed by a humiliating US withdrawal and a wholesale massacre of those who had trusted us to protect them. If we're going to draw analogies, let's at least make them accurate.
The Tet offensive of January 1968 was a last-ditch attack launched by the Viet Cong during an agreed cease-fire. The VC simultaneously attacked some 80 towns, cities and military bases, hoping to overwhelm the Americans and rally the South Vietnamese to their cause. The attack was a miserable failure, from the enemy's point of view -- over 45,000 VC died, and the Vietnamese declined to give up their democratic government. The Americans stood strong, beating back the multiple surprise attacks with surprisingly few casualties -- about 2,500. The Viet Cong leaders unanimously saw the attack as a complete disaster, and prepared to negotiate a surrender.
And then Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, told his viewers that "The referees of history may make it a draw." He ominously predicted that the Marine base "Khe Sanh could well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige, and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there." Cronkite sowed doubt about the future of democratic Vietnam, saying that "past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won't show the dynamic qualities demanded of this young nation." Cronkite continued, "To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion." The resulting wave of negative public opinion caused President Johnson to decide against running for reelection, and ultimately forced America to abandon Vietnam, after the Democrats took control of Congress and defunded the war. Congress even refused to send promised aid to Cambodia, where an estimated 1.7 million people died during the Khmer Rouge takeover.
That's precisely the scenario those on the Left want to repeat. CNN, for instance, recently aired what can only be termed a terrorist propaganda piece. In the film, produced by the enemy and "obtained" by CNN through intermediaries, snipers are seen targeting US soldiers for assassination at will. CNN added a helpful voiceover and interviews painting the "insurgents" as an unstoppable force, telling the viewers that "the deaths will continue" as long as US troops are in Iraq. Representative Duncan Hunter (D-CA), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has asked the Pentagon to remove all embedded CNN reporters in response to what some have called "a terrorist snuff film."
Obviously, the film only shows successful sniper attacks, but the impression is that all such attacks are successful. Unlike al-Jazeera, which airs similar propaganda pieces daily, CNN has the ability to reach -- and influence -- American voters... the real target of terrorist attacks.
Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) will head the Ways and Means Committee if the Democrats win in November. When asked how he planned to stop the fighting in Iraq, he replied, "You've got to be able to pay for the war, don't you?" The 73 members of the "Out of Iraq" caucus agree with his viewpoint. Representative James McGovern (D-MA) already has a bill aimed at halting funding for troops in Iraq. Even if they don't directly pull funding for the war, President Bush -- when not fighting trumped-up impeachment hearings -- will be unable to get a single bill through the Democratic House until he complies with their demands. The anti-war faction is not above taking hostages to get what they want.
And once they force US troops to withdraw from Iraq, their hopeful Vietnam scenario will be complete. Al-Qaeda and Iran will massacre innocent Iraqis, terrorising them into a reign of terror even worse, perhaps, than they suffered under Saddam. Iraq's oil wealth will fuel (no pun intended) a whole new generation of terrorists, with the means to attack targets all over Europe, Asia and America.Article source http://americandaily.com/article/16151