The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that he doesn’t “buy” Google’s claim that “there is no validity whatsoever” to allegations of political bias in its search function.
Domenech reacted to a statement from the tech giant following an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Tuesday during which Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow alleged that Google has been limiting exposure to Breitbart content.
Marlow told Carlson that Breitbart has “done deep-dive research into our Google traffic comparing it to the 2016 election.”
“We started looking at our traffic, and gradually since the 2016 election, Google has been diminishing our search results, and then all of a sudden, in May of this year we virtually lost all Google traffic, all search traffic altogether,” Marlow said on Tuesday.
He went on to point to “a Google track, something called a visibility index,” which he said “is sort of like the Nielsen score.”
“Breitbart’s is down 99.7 percent,” Marlow said. “Overall our Google traffic is down nearly two-thirds.”
Marlow went on to say that “If you want to search for Joe Biden or Biden, the chances of you getting a Breitbart article are virtually zero, virtually no opportunity for you to get it unless, of course, you add the word Breitbart, which explains what’s left of our Google traffic.”
Marlow added that Breitbart looked at other news outlets “to see if there’s a pattern.”
He acknowledged that Breitbart has more access to their own data, but compared the top 50 publishers.
“We found that eight out of the bottom 10 when it comes to Google search are right-of-center outlets, that includes Fox News and even The Daily Caller, which is one of the two outlets that actually somehow performed worse than Breitbart,” Marlow told Carlson.
In a statement sent to Fox News on Wednesday a Google spokesperson said, “There is no validity whatsoever to these allegations of political bias. Our systems do not take political ideology into account, and we go to extraordinary lengths to build our products for everyone in an apolitical way.”
“Anyone can easily cherry-pick a range of conservative, progressive or non-political sites that have traffic changes over time,” the statement continued.
“I don’t buy it at all,” Domenech said on Thursday.
When host Brian Kilmeade asked if the Federalist has noticed a similar pattern, Domenech said, “I actually would say that we have escaped some of this so maybe that says we need to be a little bit more leaning into things.”
“But to be honest, looking at the situation it’s clear the data shows that what they’re [Breitbart’s] claiming is true,” Domenech said. “They had a huge drop-off. I mean we’re talking about stories that they were breaking at The Daily Caller, for instance, that would get nationwide attention and yet they wouldn’t be on the first, second or even the third page of search for it.”
“So this is clearly something that looks like from the outside in was someone inside turning a knob, pulling a switch that prevented these sites from having any kind of the organic traffic that they had already earned,” he continued.
“That’s something that is totally opposed to what people think that they’re getting from Google search products and I think it absolutely represents an attempt to influence the conversation during an election.”
Domenech made the comments one day after four Big Tech titans – Sundar Pichai of Google, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook of Apple – testified before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.
Domenech said that “the bias aspect of this is just one attribute of their outsized monopoly power that they’re exercising and I think that that’s the real issue that needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed, I think, with updated approaches to how we do this in an era that requires it given the dramatic amount of change that these companies have affected on America.”