Is there an anti-Mitt bias in Google News headlines?


I felt like I was noticing an anti-Mitt bias in the headlines that pop-up on Google News and today it seems worse than ever. I know that his supposed gaffes have provided a heyday for those covering the trip and their editors back home but this seems really incredible.

I have no idea what mechanism Google uses to prepare the list that pops up at any give time, but this seems to have gotten to the point that warrants figuring out what might be going on.  Here is a sample of the top headlines at the time I am writing this post (1:10 pm MDT on 31 July) :

Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s foreign trip didn’t go well. Does it matter?

NY Daily News: Mitt Romney praises Poland, Pope John Paul II, in bid to impresses Polish 

ABC News: Mitt Romney Blames Press for Foreign Tour Gaffes

Chicago Tribune: Romney’s travels take another detour into controversy

Washington Post: Mitt Romney wraps up foreign trip in Poland

CNN: Was Romney’s trip ‘a great success’ or gaffe-filled disaster?

Wall Street Journal (Blog): Romney’s Wind Stance Raises Iowa Risks

Boston Herald: Mitt Romney to announce VP pick by smartphone app

Miami Herald: PPP: Obama 48%-Romney 47%. Add Rubio as VP: Romney 49%-Obama 47 

Huffington Post: The Mitt Romney Tax Break Guide

Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s 20th-century worldview

By Katrina vanden heuvel, The Washington Post. Like a caveman frozen in a glacier, Mitt Romney is a man trapped in time – from his archaic stance on women’s rights to his belief in Herbert Hoover economics.

Washington Post: Mitt Romney aide tells reporters to ‘shove it’

Huffington Post: Romney Aide Rick Gorka To Reporters: ‘Kiss My A–‘

Huffington Post: Joe Scarborough: Mitt Romney Doesn’t Feel Politics In His Bones (VIDEO)

The Atlantic: Statistical Probability That Mitt Romney’s New Twitter Followers Are Just 

Los Angeles Times: Foreign gaffes won’t matter, Romney strategist says

ABC News: Around The World In Weighty Gaffes (The Note)

MSNBC: From Bain record to tax returns, Romney eager to put summer behind him

Washington Post (Blog): Mitt Romney and gaffe management, Romney’s financial mysteries and more 

Washington Post (Blog): Romney’s less-than-Olympic narrative

WYNC: Gall Around the World: What Mitt Romney Said on His Overseas Adventure

Mother Jones: Mitt Romney’s Big, Gay Olympics

Los Angeles Times: Romney hails public healthcare system — Israel’s

Huffington Post: Mitt Romney Just Played The Race Card

New York Times (Blog): Before Candidates Debate, Their Lawyers Do

Sacramento Bee: Romney should release more of his tax returns

Note that the post from the Huffington Post on the “Race Card” was from 21 hours previous. The Mother Jones piece on the “Big Gay Olympics” was from 9 hours earlier, and the Washington Post (Blog) piece, “less-than-Olympic narrative” is from yesterday. So who knows how these are being updated?!?

In any case, I just refreshed the page and near the top was a new article, this one from only 30 minutes ago:

CNN (Blog): Team Obama: Romney trip an ’embarrassing disaster’

Wanting to know a little more, I Googled

“Google News” liberal bias

and came across a couple of links where people complained of liberal bias in the past. First there is this one from 19 May 2009:

I’m not sure how to block Google News’ obvious liberal bias..or maybe it just reflects the fact that most of the American media as a whole have a fantasy of being nothing more than the propaganda department for Big Barack’s government…

Then, there is this one from two years later on 8 August 2011:

What is up with Google News linking so many left-wing, slanted news and opinion pieces on their headline “news” page.

 So, as the first writer wondered, this could be a reflection of the bias present in the media? Or is there something else going on? Well, most “disconcerting” (to use one of the favorite words of the day), or in this case should I say “alarming” is this post from 29 August 2011:

I have noticed a trend in looking at Google News over the past few years, and today it became even more obvious that Google News is not balance in reporting news openly and truthfully.  It was announced today on various other news outlets that Obama’s uncle Onyango Obama, an illegal immigrant, was arrested last week in Framingham (west of Boston) after police said he made a rolling stop through a stop sign and nearly caused a cruiser to strike his sport utility vehicle.  Anyway, it was briefly on the GN page but then for whatever reason it disappeared and has not returned during the day.  Again, this is not the first time that I have noticed what clearly appears to be a pattern of bias and protecting Obama from negative news.

Search on Microsoft's Bing

I thought that it would be interesting to see what sort of articles would come up on Microsoft’s Bing about the same time as I did the search on Google News. I used the terms

Romney news

and came up with the graphic on the left that shows the items that came out on top.While this does not prove anything statistically, there does seem to be a definite difference in what we see there and what I found on Google. (Note: Click on the graphic to see a higher resolution version of screen shot.)

Going forward it will be interesting to observe the extent to which this might be an issue. I would love to received any comments or suggestions from anyone also interested in this possible

This entry was posted in Election 2012 by Mike. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike

Michael Bush first met Mitt in 1966 when they reported for a one-week training session in Salt Lake City before heading to France on the 4th of July to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 2 1/2 years. They also served at the same time in Bordeaux for several months in 1968, where they worked together quite often. Mike is on the faculty of Brigham Young University and grew up in Alabama. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Political Science. He also has an MBA from the University of Missouri and a PhD from The Ohio State University in Foreign Language Education with an emphasis in Computer Science. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who spent most of his career at the US Air Force Academy teaching French and doing research in the area of computer-assisted language learning. He and his wife Annie have four children and 18 grandchildren. It goes without saying that the things written on this site reflect his views and opinions and are in no way intended to reflect those of Brigham Young University or its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2 thoughts on “Is there an anti-Mitt bias in Google News headlines?

  1. According to the MSM Romney can do nothing right and Obama nothing wrong. I would think at this point the majority of Americans would be tired of this unrealistic, negative picture that the press is painting of Romney.

  2. Your thoughts are spot on. Nothing has changed post election and because I sensed exactly what you wrote, I (Googled) Google liberal bias when I started wondering if Google news is my best option. Yahoo wasn’t, nor was MSN. Everything slams Mitt and it’s over. It doesn’t even matter anymore. Aside from the general liberal media slant in general, I’m almost starting to buy into those weird NWO conspiracy theories.
    Life gets stranger by the day, I swear.

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