Nicholas Diakopoulos, an assistant professor at Northwestern University, compiled his data research in regards to Google search results and found they favor CNN, NY Times and the Washington Post overwhelmingly to other news sources.
Of the top 20 news sources, Google’s top stories only showed Fox News as a source for “right-wing” views at an alarming three percent. Compare that to the 10.9 percent for CNN, 6.5 percent for the NY Times, and 5.6 percent for the Washington Post.
Diakopoulos published his findings in the Columbia Journalism Review.
Rounding out other news sources that happened to be of the left-wing origins were The Huffington Post, ABC, Al Jazeera, Politico, CBS, NPR, The Guardian, BBC, The Verge, and the LA Times.
All in all, 86 percent of Google’s “top stories” results came from the top 20, which is blistered with left-wing related news sources. But three percent of those results are attributed to Fox News.
Diakopoulos found the following:
To audit Top Stories, we scraped Google results for more than 200 queries related to news events in November, 2017. We selected the queries to test by looking at Google Trends every day and manually choosing terms related to hard news events. These included names of people in the news such as “colin kaepernick,” breaking news events such as “earthquake,” and issue-specific queries such as “tax reform” or “healthcare gov.” We set up our scraper to minimize the potential for result personalization (the process by which Google tailors its search results to an account or IP address based on past use), and ran each query once per minute for a full 24 hours.
In total, we collected 6,302 unique links to news articles shown in the Top Stories box. For each of those links we count an article impression each time one of those links appears.
The data shows that just 20 news sources account for more than half of article impressions. The top 20 percent of sources (136 of 678) accounted for 86 percent of article impressions. And the top three accounted for 23 percent: CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. These statistics underscore the degree of concentration of attention to a relatively narrow slice of news sources. [Columbia Journalism Review]
The other day, I Googled “Unemployment Rate.” The first article that came up something about why Trump doesn’t deserve credit the unemployment rate. I also Googled “Current GDP,” and the first result was why the good economic news isn’t good news.
Google thinks objectivity is “hurtful.” The power that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms have is dwarfed by the power the Google search engine (and Yahoo and Bing) has in the potential to change election outcomes.
Google results have changed vastly from what they used to be. It was sometime around when they bought Youtube. I remember being able to find all sorts of weird and bizarre and funny websites, and even results in 3, 4, five pages in would still yield relevant results. This is no longer true today.
Also searching for historical events, you used to get .edu websites written by academics, now you get Wikipedia.
I know that part of it is that the internet has changed. But Google has not been a positive force in that change.