Republicans Call For Investigation Into Google For Considering Burying Conservative Media

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A Republican lawmaker and lawmaker-elect called for an investigation of Google Friday morning after Thursday’s revelation that the tech giant’s employees debated burying conservative media outlets in the company’s search function as a response to President Donald Trump’s election.

Republican Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar called on the Department of Justice to investigate Google, and Republican Missouri Sen.-elect Josh Hawley called for Google execs to explain themselves “under oath.”

“So what do we have here? Looks like a monopoly scheming to use its market power to silence news [and] viewpoints it doesn’t like. Starting to see a pattern here,” Hawley wrote on Twitter Friday. “Google execs need to explain what is going on here. Under oath.”

The senator-elect linked to an exclusive story about anti-conservative bias at Google by The Daily Caller News Foundation in the tweet. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Google Employees Debated Burying Conservative Media In Search)

Gosar also linked to TheDCNF’s article.

(Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

Sundar Pichai, C.E.O., Google Inc. speaks onstage during the 2018 New York Times Dealbook on November 1, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

“Google has a virtual monopoly as far as search engines go. It’s past time @DOJPH [sic] investigate this and it’s time Congress evaluates Google’s suppression of ideas, content, discussion,” Gosar wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

Internal Google communications obtained by TheDCNF revealed Google engineer Scott Byer wrote the following Nov. 9, 2016, while discussing President Donald Trump’s election:

How many times did you see the Election now card with items from opinion blogs (Breitbart, Daily Caller) elevated next to legitimate news organizations? That’s something that can and should be fixed. … Beyond that, let’s concentrate on teaching critical thinking. A little bit of that would go a long way. Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years — demographics will be on our side.

Google issued the following response to TheDCNF’s Thursday article:

This post shows that far from suppressing Breitbart and Daily Caller, we surfaced these sites regularly in our products. Furthermore, it shows that we value providing people with the full view on stories from a variety of sources. Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology. Our processes and policies do not allow for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies.

Hawley and Gosar’s call for an investigation come days after the House Judiciary Committee announced Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify before them Dec. 5 to answer questions about the company’s possible political bias.

“Today the company accounts for nearly 90 percent of worldwide search traffic. … Unfortunately, recent reports suggest Google might not be wielding its vast power impartially,” committee member and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a Wednesday press release.

Republican lawmakers criticized Pichai for skipping a Sept. 5 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on social media and foreign election meddling. Facebook and Twitter executives testified, and an empty chair with a nameplate that said “Google” sat where the company’s representative would have been.

An empty seat for Google is seen during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence operations' use of social media platforms, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

An empty seat for Google is seen during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence operations’ use of social media platforms, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Google had been willing to send senior vice president of global affairs Kent Walker to the Sept. 5 Senate hearing, but the committee said no, reported Politico. Walker submitted roughly five pages of written testimony to the committee despite the rejection.

The announcement of the social media-focused hearing comes as Google employees are making headlines for a Tuesday open letter protesting the company’s work on a censored Chinese search engine.

This post has been updated with comment from Google.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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