Google, the second largest campaign donor to President Barack Obama, wields enormous power in the administration that would been seen as scandalous outside the political world, writes Kyle Smith in the New York Post.
Obamas’ technology adviser Megan J. Smith is a former Google executive, Google lobbyists have been to the White House 230 times – dwarfing the 20 visits by its chief rival Comcast in the same time period.
And Google employees gave the most to Obama’s re-election campaign than any other company’s workers except Microsoft’s.
Further, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was in Obama’s Chicago campaign office on election day 2012 working on a voter turnout system aimed at re-electing the president.
Schmidt, Smith writes, “was especially fond of a madcap corner of the Obama campaign office known as ‘the Cave,’ where, at 4:30 every day, staffers would dance madly under a disco ball to the tune of a mashup of Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ and an automated campaign phone call made to prospective voters.”
What did all those good vibes get Google in return?
The Federal Trade Commission had accused Google of abusive trade practices by burying the results for competitors’ websites in search results. But in 2012 the FTC ignored its own staff’s recommendation of a lawsuit, and, instead, dropped its investigation.
Google also got its way on the recently released net neutrality rules. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler opposed the “Title II” rules that benefit Google, but Obama favored them, and Wheeler changed his position.
The FCC also pulled out 15 pages from its report that Google didn’t approve of, Smith writes.
But the worst is yet to come, Smith argues, as Google prepares to make changes to its popular search engine.
The company recently announced that its page rankings in the future will be based on how truthful the site is.
That announcement troubled commentators on the political right.
Smith notes that if an article is bumped to the second page of search results its chances of being seen drop drastically. A 2013 study showed that 91.5 percent of users click through on the first page of results, he noted.
“Google’s idea of ranking results based on truth is an excellent one that it should implement just as soon as it comes up with an absolutely, unbiased and objective system of determining truth,” Smith wrote, adding, “I’m not sure the company whose employees ranked second in all of corporate America in campaign donations to Obama can be termed neutral.”
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