free html hit counter Personal Attacks Make Google News - John Battelle's Search Blog

Personal Attacks Make Google News

By - November 23, 2004

Russell Beattie, a mobile blogger with a large following at Russell Beattie’s Notebook, has picked up a personal antagonist of sorts, who has taken to writing personal attacks over at a site called MSMobile. Now, this might be a random but interesting flame war if it were not for a few things. First, it seems that this fellow at MSMobile is really venomous. And second, his site, MSMobile, is scanned and distributed by Google News, meaning his scurrilous rants about Russell are spread far and wide into the mediasphere, doing untold damage to Russell’s credibility. Russell has posted a note asking for help from Google, to wit:

So why am I writing this here? To clear up a few facts and ask for your help. MSMobiles is not a valid impartial news site, it’s a personal and biased weblog. If you know someone at Google News who can take him out of their news index, I would greatly appreciate it (I’ve emailed repeatedly).

The power of algorithmic news at work…


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5 thoughts on “Personal Attacks Make Google News

  1. > meaning his scurrilous rants about Russell are spread far and wide into the mediasphere, doing untold damage to Russell’s credibility.

    “Untold” here really meaning “unknown,” yes? You’re suggesting that Google’s including MSMobile in its News indexing accords it more credibility than if it were merely some Web rant off to the side, but I regard anything provided by Google News as requiring some critical scrutiny, just as I would want to know what channel I was tuned to on the TV to parse a claim of, “The Bush administration took steps to improve the economy today by…” (You’d be surprised at the sort of riffraff they allow to own a cable network these days!)

  2. mcfox says:

    Newsfeeds are seen as a ‘trusted’ source. Although news agencies can and do offer their own political agendas, a newsfeed is no longer a useful or trusted source of information when it becomes an unsavoury personal and defamatory rant to the extent; “Yahoo Mobile hires incompetent cell phone blogger – Russell …”; — the ‘news’ headline which appeared on Google.

  3. But the question then is, “Who is influenced by their ‘reporting?'”

    Ann Coulter is carried in “trusted” publications, but I reject her analysis of things out of hand, where I’d even (as a lefty) regard Pat Buchanan as worth listening to, on some issues. There’s no danger of my being suckered into believing Coulter’s rants, just because she’s carried by a legitimate paper, and eminently Googleable, just as I suspect no industry analyst worth his/her salt is going to be heard remarking to another that this Russell guy *must* be an incompetent, ’cause he read it on Google News.

    So I stand by my “unknown damage” assertion, and would suggest that we guess it was minimal.

  4. Jin says:

    I am sorry guys, all of the news has some bias. Just because you don’t like what is written doesn’t make that news site less worthy to read. I didn’t like what msmobiles did, but I didn’t like your own reactions either. I think your opinions are more dangerous than that site, because you clearly support censorship which is not a good thing. You want only your opinions to be heard, in example the author did not link to that site at all. To really understand what’s going on I had to use Google to find the site and read what is written. Russel and you just couldn’t handle some rants I think. If Google removed that site based on your requests, Google become less worthy itself.

  5. Let the record show that I wasn’t one of the censorship advocates. On the other hand, Google does have license to establish criteria for inclusion in “Google News,” e.g., “We spider and index all content from X…,” where X might be, “web sites of published newspapers,” or news-oriented blogs, or whatnot.

    What we ought to demand, as readers, is that Google declare its own biases, i.e., publish some description of its criteria.