Google announced it has awarded its first round of grants to media outlets throughout North America from a pool of $300 million the internet giant has set aside to bolster largely left-leaning mainstream and legacy media organizations.
Google LLC says it wishes only to index objective facts and link to media outlets without putting its thumb on the scale, but conservative critics say the company is trying to shape the news. Left-of-center media receive prime placement in search results, while right-of-center media receive less favorable placement or are banned outright, critics say.
The Mountain View, California-based company says it’s spending the money because it’s committed to helping “journalism thrive in the digital age” and is funding “projects from around the world that meet specified criteria, with the intent of producing learnings and thought leadership that can be shared with the wider industry.” The company says it will fund “selected projects up to USD $300,000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost.”
With its 34 new grants, 29 of which went to U.S.-based outlets, the Google News Initiative North American Innovation Challenge is underwriting the production of left-biased news reports, according to critics such as Corinne Weaver.
Weaver details some of the recipient organizations in an article titled “Google funds 29 US journalism projects that decidedly swing left,” at the media-bias watchdog website NewsBusters.
One of the recipients is The Dallas Morning News, which endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and then-U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat now running for president, for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
Another, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, ran op-eds claiming, “Dems back more openness” than Republicans. The center has taken more than a half-million dollars in grants since 2009 from the philanthropies of hedge fund manager George Soros, the preeminent funder of the activist left in the United States.
Still another, The Salt Lake Tribune, endorsed then-President Barack Obama in 2012.
While Maine Today Media, a grant recipient, doesn’t endorse candidates, its editorials espouse left-wing viewpoints on abortion, immigration, and climate change.
One recipient, Lensfest Institute of Journalism, works with Facebook, The Washington Post, and the Knight Foundation. The left-wing Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos.
Torstar, the parent company of far-left Canadian daily newspaper The Toronto Star, is also listed as a recipient of Google cash. The Star’s Washington bureau chief, Daniel Dale, who joined CNN in June, maintained an often-criticized list of “false things” Trump has said as U.S. president. The total figure stood at 5,276 when it was last updated May 5.
Google has been put under the microscope in recent years as critics accuse the company of playing political favorites, engaging in censorship, and manipulating search users through algorithm abuse. The company strenuously denies the claims.
In August, whistleblower Zachary Vorhies, a former computer scientist at Google, shared with Project Veritas internal documents that purportedly evidenced Google’s left-wing political bias. Among the documents was a list of popular conservative media outlets blacklisted by Google, including NewsBusters, American Thinker, Legal Insurrection, Twitchy, FrontPageMag, and GlennBeck.com.
“The reason why I collected these documents was because I saw something dark and nefarious going on with the company, and I realized that they were going to not only tamper with the elections, but use that tampering with the elections to essentially overthrow the United States,” Vorhies said at the time.
Google is also being sued for $50 million for allegedly undermining Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign by suspending its online advertising after the Hawaii congresswoman’s attention-grabbing performance in the first candidates’ debate June 26, as The Epoch Times previously reported. Google denies any wrongdoing.
“We filed a lawsuit against Google because no tech monopoly or any other entity should have the undue influence to suppress freedom of speech and unfairly impact elections. If Google can do it to me, they can do it to you,” Gabbard wrote on Twitter on Sept. 10.
Gabbard and another presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat, say they want big technology concerns such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon to be broken up.
President Donald Trump has tweeted that “Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”