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Is Santorum's "Google Problem" a Google Problem?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the google-juice-nobody-wants dept.

Google 775

theodp writes "Fortune contributor Dan Mitchell argues that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 'Google problem' isn't Google's problem at all. 'The fact that searching for 'santorum' puts the profane, anti-Rick Santorum site SpreadingSantorum.com (NSFW) at the top of Google's search results,' insists Mitchell, 'is not an example of a "Google bomb," despite the widespread use of that term to describe the result.' In the same camp is Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, who also says that Santorum has a search engine problem, not a Google problem. 'It's just that everyone fixates on Google,' Sullivan adds. Which is perhaps to be expected, since Google is the King of Search and also has ties to SpreadingSantorum creator Dan Savage, having featured the sex-advice columnist in Google's The-web-is-what-you-make-of-it Chrome ad campaign (for Savage's admirable It Gets Better Project, not SpreadingSantorum). So, considering Google's vaunted search quality guidelines, is some kind of change in order? Sullivan, while making it clear he opposes Santorum's views, nonetheless suggests Google is long overdue to implement a disclaimer for the 'Santorum' search results. 'They are going to confuse some people,' he explains, 'who will assume Google's trying to advance a political agenda with its search results.'"

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Maybe... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018269)

...they should try winning over hearts and minds (and clicks) instead of censoring something they find politically inexpedient.

Re:Maybe... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018339)

Or, google could offer a cluster of keywords at the very top of a search that could drastically alter the search to better help people of any searches.

Very clearly, if this were a candidate you liked, you would be throwing a fit.

I personally think he should go away along with the two rich status quo good old boys.

Re:Maybe... (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018557)

Or if it were a candidate you were researching because you are, say, a teenager just getting interested in politics, you should also be throwing a fit.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018589)

Or...maybe become more interested in "Politics!" wink wink nudge nudge....say no more.

Re:Maybe... (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018807)

Or, google could offer a cluster of keywords at the very top of a search that could drastically alter the search to better help people of any searches.

Right. For example, they could better disambiguate between Santorum the tool and santorum the frothy mixture of blood, semen and feces.

Can we please stop expecting that corporations will create some grand compromise that will satisfy everyone? Just because this Dan Savage guy came up with the strongest political advertising campaign of the last few centuries.

SuperPACs are now spending hundreds of millions of dollars to do what Dan Savage did with a little website and a lot of ingenuity. Maybe that's the problem. Dan Savage was able to affect the political fortunes of a political opponent without spending the requisite money and the people in power just hate that guerrilla, DIY shit because it calls into question the nice neat setup they've got for themselves. Should every politician who is on the losing end of a grassroots campaign now force the very fabric of space and time to change so that he can retrieve his good name?

Santorum got exactly as he deserved. He attacked a group of people relentlessly and the grassroots, the real grassroots, got him back. The only reason this is an issue now is because there's a chance he could be the Republican candidate because the first guy they picked turned out to be a cross between an undertaker and Louis XV.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018595)

RIck, Richard.... Dick, Dick Santorum, heh, get it?

Cyberbullying (0)

happy_place (632005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018271)

It's more an example of Internet Bullying.

Re:Cyberbullying (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018317)

He's a political figure with public presence, he has exposed and his being chastised and lampooned was really well-deserved, based on statements made in public meant for the public.

The website exposes neither his private life nor anything else that would make it bullying.

Simply put, poltiicans have to put up with criticism, and if they're total bastards, they will get really harsh criticism...

Re:Cyberbullying (2, Insightful)

happy_place (632005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018453)

I disagree. Mr Savage's actions are no different than a group of kids in the playground deciding to equate some unpopular kid's name with something clearly distasteful. Santorum's political opinions may be offensive, but they're out there as part of a public discussion. Relabeling Santorum's name to mean something vile is childish and does nothing to help open communication between rival factions on the playground. You wouldn't put up with this sort of behavior in Elementary school, yet somehow because it's gotten the attention of Stephen Colbert and Google, it's okay? If you don't like Santorum (I personally don't) then talk to his issues, don' t resort to immature nonsense like deliberately attempting to skew search engine results.

Re:Cyberbullying (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018555)

You sound boring.

Re:Cyberbullying (0)

Prosthetic_Lips (971097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018565)

I concur. This seems on par with taking someone else's name (person or business: McDonald's, Obama), and deliberately trying to game the search engine to have your results on top. If you have a legitimate business model, it would be fair game. However, a person's name definitely belongs to them.

The name stealing, combined with name calling (which *is* childish) makes Savage look the fool. Anything else he does becomes suspect in my mind.

Re:Cyberbullying (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018585)

Relabelling? Hardly. It's just Google indexing sites. Clearly the "vile and childish" site is more popular than Santorum's own.

Re:Cyberbullying (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018679)

Clearly the "vile and childish" site is more popular than Santorum's own.

Are you implying that the genuine article isn't vile and childish?

Re:Cyberbullying (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018635)

It's no different than what tabloids are doing. And just like they can censor various news channels, like TV, radio or newspapers, they're trying to censor Google results as well.

If there are more people saying more bad things than good, about that guy on the web, then that's his problem.

Google, can solve this very easily, it can say in a small bit of text on the side, that those are the search results according to the algorythms, which are neither political or bribable. If they give in and do something about it, then they can never honestly put something like that on their website.

Maybe they should add something akin to karma for websites like that. They might present facts, but their goal seems to be attacking the politician, not informing the public.

Regardless of what they think, you can't fight jackasses by being one yourself.

Re:Cyberbullying (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018683)

You can call it whatever you want. It doesn't change his right to do it and Google's right to leave it up there.

Re:Cyberbullying (5, Insightful)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018755)

Santorum is the bully.

He tried to use his political power to dehumanize gay people, and did things like comparing gay sex to having sex with dogs. Dan Savage's response, as a gay person, one of the people Santorum was bullying, was to fight back.

Santorum was never not one of the people with power. And God forbid if he were to become President, he would have more power than anyone. He is not a victim. He is a victimizer.

Re:Cyberbullying (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018703)

Namecalling != criticism.

Re:Cyberbullying (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018329)

Or maybe it's just the google algorithm at work.

I find it interesting that a Christian-Taliban like Santorum would cry about cyberbullying when he thinks raped women should see a resulting pregnancy as a gift from god and that the Catholic Church paedophile priest is primarily a Homosexual problem rather than one of opportunity.

I see one bully here and the top google result is what I would term "blowback". If I felt sorry for anyone, it would be for his children and anyone else with that name who has nothing to do with it.

Re:Cyberbullying (4, Funny)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018381)

I see one bully here and the top google result is what I would term "blowback". If I felt sorry for anyone, it would be for his children and anyone else with that name who has nothing to do with it.

When I first read that, I thought you had written "brokeback".

Of course, given proper context...

Re:Cyberbullying (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018715)

I'm not really a fan of Santorum, but whether or not you care for his views, it's a terrible way to make a point for someone who wants to make a thoughtful decision about who they should elect. It's the equivalent of schoolyard name calling. While I can understand how it got there in Google's search, and I understand why Savage did it (it's amusing and does appeal to the bathroom humor crowd), I wouldn't mind at all if it went away.

And really, there may be people in the US who actually act like the equivalent of the Taliban, but if you believe that any candidate currently running on any major, and most minor, party tickets is like the actual Taliban, you're either displaying ignorance or a complete lack of perspective. Knowing what the real Taliban does to people makes me borderline disgusted when I hear the term used flippantly like that.

If we would prefer to not have the government in the bedroom, perhaps we should help by taking the anal sex jokes out of the political equation.

Re:Cyberbullying (3, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018787)

If we would prefer to not have the government in the bedroom, perhaps we should help by taking the anal sex jokes out of the political equation.

If you take the anal sex out of politics....

There has GOT to be a great line in there somewhere. It's just too damn early for me to think of it.

Re:Cyberbullying (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018739)

Or maybe it's just the google algorithm at work.

...or an AlGoreithm.

Re:Cyberbullying (1, Funny)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018349)

Yeah... One outspoken person mounted a successful campaign against another outspoken person :-D
If you think this is cyberbullying, then you are the bully in your school/work/social surroundings.

Re:Cyberbullying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018367)

No, it's an example of "political speech". How can you bully someone who's taken it upon themselves to be a public personality on a national scale; someone who, as well, is rich, powerful and connected?

Re:Cyberbullying (1)

Prosthetic_Lips (971097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018731)

I'm sorry, but what does being rich, powerful, or connected have to do with being bullied? Being a public personality doesn't mean someone can appropriate your name for another purpose.

Re:Cyberbullying (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018401)

It's more an example of Internet Bullying.

A good case could be made that Santorum started it by preaching intolerance.

Re:Cyberbullying (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018463)

No, it isn't.

1. Rick Santorum is a public figure. A high school kid (which is usually what "cyberbullying" refers to) is generally not. If he wanted to avoid criticism, he could have simply retired quite comfortably to his home in Pennsylvania.
2. The website and Spreading Santorum campaign were created in response to things Rick Santorum has said in his official capacity as a United States Senator on the floor of the US Senate. If you're a public official, statements like that are clearly fair game for criticism and/or satire.
3. Bullying is typically done by somewhat powerful people to a powerless or marginalized person. Rick Santorum is neither powerless nor marginalized.
4. Rick Santorum's stated position regarding homosexuality is that he would use the power of the government to try to force homosexual people to either not be gay or not exist. That a prominant gay man responded by trying to prevent him from taking power seems like self-preservation as much as anything else.

Sorry, the claim along the lines of "poor widdle Ricky getting bullied by mean Dan Savage" is simply ludicrous.

Re:Cyberbullying (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018611)

If he wanted to avoid criticism, he could have simply retired quite comfortably to his home in Pennsylvania.

You mean his $2M house in Virginia. He was using a cheap sub-100K home in PA, rented out to some tenants, to both maintain the illusion of residency and screw a poor local school district out of $67k-100k (exact figure varies by story) to send his kids to some cyber charter school while they were primarily living in VA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Santorum#Pennsylvania_residency [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cyberbullying (5, Interesting)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018695)

"If he wanted to avoid criticism, he could have simply retired quite comfortably to his home in Pennsylvania."

Yep, that would be one way.

Another way would be to, you know, not be a monstrously bigoted asshole. But you know, people choose different ways to get through life.

Re:Cyberbullying (2)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018729)

To me any political speech that has no basis in reality is just wrong to it's core and draws from the same well as the typical school yard bully. Personally, I'd rather not have my political spectrum sullied with such nonsense and have criticized such foolery often (both right and left, if you will). While there is no way I can stop people from acting like children, I feel that politics have too many lies already and such foolery simply makes it harder to discuss the things that really need attention.

Re:Cyberbullying (0)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018659)

Hey, are you pretty happy that you squeezed out a short post to make it to the top of the comments, even though the post is inane and un-insightful?

Next time just type "first post".

Savage is anti-bullying? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018287)

I think no one should take Savage's opinions when it comes to anti-bullying because of what he has done here. It just spreads the message, "Be tolerant of my views, but I will be completely intolerant of yours and harass you if I disagree with you."

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018305)

Tolerance of bigotry is counterproductive. Dan Savage has been remarkably restrained considering the very real threat that Santorum poses.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018529)

Tolerance of bigotry is counterproductive.

I too believe in tolerance, except for tolerating things I disagree with.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018605)

Isn't Savage as much of a bigot [merriam-webster.com] as Santorum? Is "good" bigotry OK? Is it acceptable to ridicule the "bad" bigots?

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (0)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018615)

Given that the "threat" is merely one of political conservatism, i.e. maintaining the status quo and not allowing the creation of a completely new (and in most people's view, radical) social institution of gay marriage, I find your scary words unnecessarily sensational. It's not like Rick Santorum is waving a pipe wrench over Dan Savage's head. Even Obama came out against gay marriage, remember? So is Obama a threat to Dan Savage, too?

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (0)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018779)

President Obama's latest budget proposal contains a $1 trillion deficit. We all know that we are too far in debt. That kind of stubborn incompetence is a far greater threat to freedom than whatever bigoted politics you're ascribed to Santorum.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (3, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018343)

Are you seriously equating calling same sex marriage a form of beastiality and pedophilia, and someone making fun of him ? Calling someone racist because s/he is, is not bulliying, calling someone sexist because s/he is, is not bullying. Homophobia is just another form of discrimination, and it doesn't matter if one person is suscribing to that or a million ( religious exuse don't work).

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (0)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018511)

I don't think Santorum called same sex marriage a form of bestiality or pedophilia, which is a statement that doesn't even make sense. I think he used the latter (B & P) to illustrate that "Whatever people want to do sexually doesn't always have to be considered OK under the law" -- which is a true principle, though you may disagree as to the particulars of application.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018347)

Calling out scumbags like Santorum who attack CIVIL RIGHTS is hardly "bullying".

Santorum is pure "Christian Taliban", that is all.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018459)

Calling out scumbags like Santorum who attack CIVIL RIGHTS is hardly "bullying".

...especially when there's a danger of them actually running the country according to their beliefs.

Googles search results are based on popularity. If they want their link at the top they could, ummmm ... try to become more popular.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (4, Insightful)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018579)

Santorum is pure "Christian Taliban", that is all.
Can we amend or possibly construct a corollary to Godwin's Law about usage of the word "Taliban" since it's use tends to indicate the person is a Koshevik, but eventually it will find wider usage as a replacement for a demonizing term the person disagrees with.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018591)

Can we amend or possibly construct a corollary to Godwin's Law about usage of the word "Taliban"

Why, are you a Nazi?

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (-1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018717)

Calling out scumbags like Santorum who attack CIVIL RIGHTS is hardly "bullying".

Santorum is pure "Christian Taliban", that is all.

You mean Santorum wants to make black people ride the back of the bus and wants to take away women's right to vote?

No?

Then you need to rephrase your quote. If you mean he's against gay marriage or teaching elementary students that blowjobs are an acceptable substitute for sex, then say that. Don't say that Santorum is against "CIVIL RIGHTS". The civil rights movement was lead my Rev. Martin Luther King and others. MLK, by the way, was a Christian reverend. It really shows ignorance on your part to equate Christianity with being anti-civil rights.

Also, when Christians start hanging gays and stoning adulterer women for the crime of getting raped, then you can compare them to the Taliban. Until then, your hyperbole causes you to lose all credibility.

The main contradiction here is that you are hating Christians because you accuse them of being hateful. You really don't see the hypocrisy in that?

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (4, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018395)

There is a difference between being mean to a public figure (especially a politician) and harassing just-some-kid. Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum deserves some ridicule for his absurd, and offensive, speech.

And no, we shouldn't ignore the anti-bullying message just because someone who supports it is an ass.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (-1, Troll)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018479)

Parent is insightful. Savage claims to have been bullied in high school for his sexual orientation. But I guarantee you he didn't undergo anything as publicly humiliating as his own malicious and hate-filled public attack on Rick Santorum. Dan Savage has personally exemplified the negative human behaviors he writes against in his columns, and destroyed his credibility as a spokesperson for tolerance and coexistence.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018561)

Mocking a politician is not the same as harassing vulnerable kids. The former is an important part of a functioning democracy, the later is just being a dick.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (1, Interesting)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018765)

All right, since you seem to be struggling with this, let's do a little mental exercise -- suppose that somebody launched an internet campaign to associate some vulgar, racist profanity with President Obama, and through a widespread google bombing campaign, brought it to the top of Google's search results. At that point, the person has used the force multiplier of the internet to exercise power over a politician, at least in a certain respect. And just like schoolyard bullying, it comes of "just being a d**k". I think most people would agree that Dan Savage's malicious and hateful internet campaign can be described the same way.

Rick Santorum is not my first choice by a long shot for the presidency, but it would be ironic if he got the nomination and then won the election because most Americans are fair-minded enough to actually be swayed the other way by Savage's malicious hatefulness and disgusting behavior. I don't think Savage is really doing Obama any net favors at this point.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (4, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018649)

So he's a jackass and a bully for calling out a hate-monger for being a hate-monger? That's bad? You are saying we should tolerate intolerance, which would mean we have to tolerate Dan Savage's points, and as he's running the more popular website, he should be nearer the top in rankings.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Insightful)

Boscrossos (997520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018653)

You see a malicious and hate filled public attack, I see a non-violent protest that, truth be told, I find rather clever and funny. Stop and think wether you would not also see it this way if it was about someone you oppose politically.

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018505)

Why should the intolerance of Santorum and others be tolerated?

Re:Savage is anti-bullying? (5, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018789)

Whoa, whoa, whoa there. What Dan Savage is doing is explicitly in line with the definition of tolerance. Is Dan Savage trying to make Rick Santorum's speech a crime? Is Dan Savage trying to make sure that Rick Santorum does not have equal protection under the law? Is Dan Savage trying to deny Rick Santorum his civil rights?

No. Those things would be intolerant. Those are the things Rick Santorum is doing to Dan Savage.

Dan Savage, on the other hand, is behaving exactly in line with what tolerance means: he recognizes the opposition view, discusses it honestly, understands it, and uses speech only to properly characterize it as wrong. That is tolerance.

If Rick wants to show Dan tolerance, this is how he can do it: I, Rick Santorum, think that homosexual acts are morally wrong. However, I will not try to subjugate homosexuals, I will not deny them the right to marry or participate in society in any way. The only thing I will do is tell people that I really honestly do believe that people should not have sex with members of their gender. That is tolerance, and Rick would do well to follow Dan's lead on learning what the word means.

Sounds like (5, Funny)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018291)

the [spectator.org] Santorum [thestatecolumn.com] is [thehill.com] surging [therightscoop.com] .

Re:Sounds like (2)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018327)

the Santorum is surging.

That sounds disgusting even without knowing what you're talking about.

Re:Sounds like (5, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018353)

And if you read up on Santorum's bizarre beliefs it becomes event more disgusting. What the hell is wrong in the US that an obvious wingnut like Santorum can gain so much support?

Re:Sounds like (4, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018633)

In the US, it's very difficult for an incumbent President to lose an election. Freaking Dubya got re-elected - that alone should say plenty. If it weren't for the two-term limit, we'd probably have Presidents-for-life.

Further, in the US, once you've lost a Presidential election, you pretty much never run again (at least in recent history). No idea why, but it's true. Gore never ran again. Kerry never ran again. McCain isn't running again.

Add those two facts together, and you get why most of the intelligent Republican candidates are sitting this election out. They know any of them stand a very low chance of winning this year. They know their odds are much better in 2016. So all the candidates that are rational, logical people aren't running, leaving only the dregs of the party. The nutjobs, the demagogues, the morons. Honestly, I'm thinking Stephen Colbert might actually be the best candidate.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018647)

"Obvious wingnut"??
You're good at throwing out the insults, but what on earth makes the guy such an "obvious" wingnut??
You clearly don't agree with his belief's, but does disagreeing with you make someone completely off the beaten path? OR, is it possible that you just don't agree with him?
I know, it's easier to just state that he has "bizarre belief's"...

Legal Action (3, Insightful)

ZiggieTheGreat (934388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018357)

It sounds as though his issue is with the site, not with Google. Google is just presenting information that exists -- it is the site that is the problem for him.

So....doesn't he know a lawyer or two to address the site in question?

Re:Legal Action (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018407)

Especially since it is the first hit on Bing, too. Has nothing to do with Google really except that they are the leading search engine right now.

And there is nothing a lawyer can do to the site. What is he going to sue about? There is no applicable law protecting Santorum but there is the Constitution protecting the site.

Re:Legal Action (1)

ZiggieTheGreat (934388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018509)

I haven't been to the site (I still like my job) - but I assumed it was slander based on the description.

If it's all true information, sounds like he has a whole different problem.

Re:Legal Action (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018569)

Slander has to be about somebody. He just takes the word santorum and gives it a quite disgusting definition. He doesn't call Rick Santorum anything.

Re:Legal Action (0)

flanders123 (871781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018513)

Especially since it is the first hit on Bing, too

Not suprising, as Bing basically regurgitates Google results [infopackets.com]

Re:Legal Action (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018681)

They "regurgitate" some searches that are given to them, voluntarily, by IE users who choose to submit their anonymous browsing activity to Microsoft. If you actually read the follow-ups to the story, you'd see it's not actually a story about anything other than people getting their facts wrong and not bothering to check.

Re:Legal Action (4, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018457)

Google made sure to inform folks that some results related to Obama were offensive. [outsidethebeltway.com]

Later, Google removed the image entirely from the search results, [cnn.com] banning the domain entirely.. saying the site 'could' spread malware.

Now, all of a sudden, Google doesnt do either? Really?

'They are going to confuse some people,' he explains, 'who will assume Google's trying to advance a political agenda with its search results.'"

It sure looks like they are.

Re:Legal Action (0)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018685)

So...what you're saying is it's not fair to treat different groups of people differently? Agreed. Gays should definitely be allowed to marry.

But seriously, Google chose to act when a racist picture showed up at the top of their results. They chose not to act when people on the internet made a new definition of a word. There is a difference between these two scenarios.

Re:Legal Action (-1, Flamebait)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018705)

So you think racist images are on par with a site lampooning a hate-drenched moron who's running for president? Really? Great logic, Sparky!

Re:Legal Action (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018745)

The Obama issue was an offensive caricature of the First Lady. It was a completely different issue. It isn't the name "Rick Santorum" that has this definition. It is just the word santorum.

Santorum Has Other Issues (4, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018359)

Santorum's biggest issue is not Google but his political policies. He appeals to a very small population of rural conservative religious voters. He has zero appeal to moderate republicans which means he could never get elected. I mean the fact that a washout like Mitt Romney is leading just lets you know how awful the Republican candidates are.

Re:Santorum Has Other Issues (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018735)

I mean the fact that a washout like Mitt Romney is leading just lets you know how awful the Republican candidates are.

How many troll points do I get for pointing out that despite that, Ron Paul is still fourth behind Romney, Santorum and Gingrich? I'll go put on the popcorn...

Re:Santorum Has Other Issues (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018783)

I think Ron Paul appeals to an even smaller base than Santorum. From what I can tell his main base are college students in Iowa or something like that. It's amazing that he has hung on this long.

Political agenda? (4, Funny)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018361)

"Sullivan, while making it clear he opposes Santorum's views, nonetheless suggests Google is long overdue to implement a disclaimer for the 'Santorum' search results. 'They are going to confuse some people,' he explains, 'who will assume Google's trying to advance a political agenda with its search results.'""

If Google _were_ to include a disclaimer, it would be pushing a political agenda. Unless the disclaimer was something like: "The search results below may indicate that the candidate of your choice is so hopelessly clueless about the web that they are unable to grab the top search result for their own name." Unless of course the Luddites now have a political party....

Agreed. Search engines show what people think. (3, Insightful)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018537)

At least, that's the basic idea behind both Google and other engines: show results that aggregate the opinions or outlook of many people. Authoritative links are ones which many people use, useless links are one that no one uses.

The whole thing with Santorum is that, actually, there is a very large segment of people that despise what he stands for. This group is at least competing with (if not more powerful than) the population of people that think he's a sane politician worth listening to.

The disconnect here is mass media. According to the rules they have adopted, candidates are to be taken seriously when they hit a certain (small) proportion of support, at least if they are right-wing candidates, and open mockery or confrontation are simply not done. Hence, Santorum is a "real candidate" and shouldn't have this level of opposition.

But that's not reality. I agree: a disclaimer would implicitly say that the voice of the people is political... which is rather obvious and useless, since it's always true.

Re:Political agenda? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018577)

Any interference by Google, even if it is just a generic disclaimer, put on a specific search is a political agenda.

Santorum's choice (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018369)

Rick Santorum has chosen, for whatever reason, to make gay marriage a centerpiece of his campaign. That's fine, and it certainly gets him a lot of mileage with the far right. But it also comes with a downside. When you chose to single out a particular group as your enemy, you're going to have to deal with them fighting back. And if humor is one of the few weapons they have, you can expect a lot of jokes. So man up and get over yourself. It's not like Dan Savage was the one who started this fight.

No policing neologisms (5, Insightful)

otter42 (190544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018371)

It is not a search engine's responsibility to police our neologisms. Santorum is a word now used by the common public, and it requires no editorializing by third parties. As the original article points out:

The news is better for searches for Rick Santorum's full name, rather than just the word "santorum." In that case, his official site ranks tops.

So in other words, if I'm looking for a person, I write the person's name in and find the person. If I'm looking for a thing, I type said thing in and find it.

For example, would anybody be annoyed if a google search of the word "houston" showed Houston, TX as the first hit, instead of Whitney Houston?

Now as to why Santorum and santorum came to be connected is another matter. But that's something for a different conversation, which the columnist fails to grasp.

Re:No policing neologisms (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018491)

If someone had done the same thing to 'obama,' would Google's stance be the same?

Google's policy is supposedly to provide useful search results. The vast majority of people searching for santorum are searching for info about the candidate, not obscene material. If Google wants to provide useful search results, they will change the policy.

Re:No policing neologisms (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018627)

The vast majority of people searching for santorum are searching for info about the candidate, not obscene material. If Google wants to provide useful search results, they will change the policy.

Actually, I think the vast majority of people searching for "santorum" are looking to see if the top result is still the neologism.

anonymouse coward states the obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018387)

If 90% of the websites say bad things about Santorum, and that's what 90% of the results show... where is the problem? We aren't allowed to have online activism now?

Re:anonymouse coward states the obvious (1)

Prosthetic_Lips (971097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018793)

If the 90% of the results were actively campaigning against Santorum, it would not be a problem. Wrong ideas, bad policy, saying things that you don't agree with -- I have no problem with those. The problem is when they are equating his name with obscene material. Just stick to the issues, not the implied name-calling.

Perspective (4, Informative)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018409)

I think to have this issue in proper perspective it helps to Santorum's original words which started his conflict with Savage:

http://www.rotten.com/library/sex/sodomy/santorum/ [rotten.com]

You have to ask yourself, how would you feel if someone said such things about your sexuality/how you to relate to those you love.

Santorum's problem is a Santorum problem (4, Insightful)

Nebulious (1241096) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018439)

Santorum wouldn't be in this situation if he hadn't pissed off the online community. His hateful, provincial views are completely at odds with most of the younger generations who are able to freely spread ideas and news about villains like him. Santorum caught on as slang to publicly shame this man. As most here know, Savage had his contest to fit a proper insult to the guy. He deserves no sympathy and should realize how rational the hatred and criticisms of him are. The Google results are purely symptomatic. Conservatives in America should realize how viscous people outside of their base are growing to their views outside and stop making excuses.

pebkac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018441)

If people don't know how the internet searching works, it's not Googles job to fix it, this is a pebkac issue.

This is what free speech is for (2)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018503)

Rick Santorum is racist, sexist, and homophobic; he is in favor of teaching religious dogmatism in public schools. He should be exposed and publicly humiliated.

What I find disgusting is that the mainstream media talks about his poll results but never criticizes his political views.

In the unlikely event Santorum wins the nomination (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018531)

I'd expect to see this "problem" go away as a result of Google changing the algorithm just as they did to make "miserable failure" no longer have Bush the Lesser's official White House bio as its top result.

+1s (2)

Fippy Darkpaw (1269608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018543)

SpreadingSantorum.com has nearly 16k +1's. Obviously the site is considered more popular or useful than Rick Santorum's own site. The search algorithm is correct. Nothing to see here. Move along.

its a Santorum problem (5, Funny)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018547)

I dunno, I think the problem is a Rick Santorum's [spreadingsantorum.com] Problem. It's because of Rick Santorum's [spreadingsantorum.com] obsession with gay people and banning gay sex. Maybe Rick Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] should get off his soap box. And since Rick Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] is against gay marriage obviously those people are going to be active against him along with others that fear is rise to power.

Summary has a chronology problem (4, Informative)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018563)

SpreadingSantorum predates It Gets Better, so this doesn't look like a causal link.

I don't think Google should do anything at all. Why should Santorum get special treatment? The already provide SafeSearch, and TFA proposes setting it to "strict" if you don't want to get results like this.

See also: Dan Savage on this [thestranger.com] .

Bottom line... (1)

AttyBobDobalina (2525082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018583)

If someone on the conservative Right had come up with a scatological term for "Kennedy" (say, "the sound that an government benefit check makes when it gets deposited in your mailbox") or "Pelosi" (you know, Pelosi, that thing growing along your gum line that you have to keep fiddling with), then Google long ago would have modified the algorithm or put up a disclaimer. (Not to mention the mainstream media's scathing dissent against said Republican, whereas Savage gets a wink and a free pass...) Because Santorum is such a tool, no one - least of all liberal minded technologists - is going to bend over backwards to help him out. So is Google meant to lead us to an objective trove of information? Savage's outrageousness has put real pressure on the matrix....

Want to see Obama win? (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018593)

Vote for Santorum in the primaries. The Republicans will self destruct, for this one election cycle, under the burden of championing the hate for women and gays that Santorum dresses up as religious freedom. He is unelectable outside his base support group.

Ahh.. sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018601)

This issue has nothing to do with Google, or search. The word santorum has been redefined in a good chunk of the popular to mean what it now means. Rick Santorum is the secondary meaning of the phrase.

Google is accurately reflecting the popular culture and language evolution that has already occurred.

Another Media Controlled Election (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018629)

"There's a reason for this, there's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got... because the owners of this country donâ(TM)t want that. I'm talking about the real owners now... the real owners."

"The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying  lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else."

"But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

"You know what they want? Obedient workers  people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club."

"By the way, itâ(TM)s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good, honest, hard-working people: white collar, blue collar, it doesnâ(TM)t matter what color shirt you have on. Good, honest, hard-working people continue â" these are people of modest means â" continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who donâ(TM)t give a fuck about them. They donâ(TM)t give a fuck about you. They donâ(TM)t give a fuck about you. They donâ(TM)t care about you at all! At all! At all! And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Thatâ(TM)s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick thatâ(TM)s being jammed up their assholes every day, because the owners of this country know the truth. Itâ(TM)s called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it."

"This country is finished." - Carlin

Santorum means WHAT?!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39018641)

After reading the heading, I was poking around the internet, and I'm aghast to find there is a man, a CONGRESSMAN, no less, named after this vile substance!

Eww... GROSS!!! Have these Repulsivecans NO SHAME?!? DISGUSTING!!!

Last name? (1)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018661)

So if I'm a presidential candidate, any search for my last name should go to me? That's fucking ridiculous. The internet is a big place that includes THE WORLD, I could see there being a problem if Rick Santorum was the ONLY Santorum on the planet though this is not the case. Because someone has a last name doesn't mean they are entitled to the top results. That wouldn't even work.

Spreading Santorum (1)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018697)

So, it seems that everyone else has forgotten to link Spreading Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] in the article, so I'll do it here.

It's not that Santorum has a Google problem, it's that Santorum has a bigotry problem, and lots of us are participating in the solution - which is to make it VERY public that he's a homophobic slime.

It's kind of like the "vote for the crook, it's important" publicity in the '91 Louisiana gubernatorial election. At least Duke was a former grand wizard of the KKK, Santorum is CURRENTLY doing everything he can do to harm a minority part of the population - and this frothy mix is running for President!

So I fully support the fact that the word "santorum" now means "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex." Sure, it's distasteful. But it's important.

It's not a Google problem (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018707)

Rick Santorum's problem is not because of Google or any other search engine.

His problem is that he is an odious little tyke who espouses the very worst views of radicalised "Christianity". He is just as great a danger to freedom and decency as the radicalised Muslim clerics, for much the same reasons - indeed, his obscenely misogynistic rhetoric sounds awfully like that of the "Mad Mullahs".

Santorum is like small turd (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018713)

Santorum is like a very small, smelly turd. He probably is a well meaning neo-fascist, without even realizing it.

He probably believes in a god, for real, and thinks that is a good idea that others should follow.

I cannot help but think that Santorum is like a very small, smelly turd.

My apologies for that.

Bing has Spreading Santorum as #3 (2)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018759)

So, it is not number one but well above the fold on Google's main competitor. Even if Google intervenes here, it will remain near the top.

Unfortunately, You Can't Remove It. (4, Interesting)

od05 (915556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39018795)

The only way to derank the results it is to drown it out. It is very unfortunate that they did this to his "name", rather than just news about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb [wikipedia.org]

He can reverse this. I remember when Apple's lack of Flash support was in the news, and Apple successfully drowned out much of the negative press by including dense concentrations of the word "Flash" (referring to the camera) in their press releases. They successfully made searches for "iphone flash" show links to their pages rather than to blogs complaining about the iphone not having Flash.

I personally feel that search engine manipulation is a problem, and while I commend Google's position on their neutrality - I feel some precedence should be given when it involves peoples names. If you have a unique name and somebody blogs bad things about you, you are stuck with those results *for life* every time someone Google's you.

Because of Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act, the material has been found to be defamatory by a court, as evidenced by a court order, limiting such an option to only those in power, or those who can afford a decent lawyer. It's evil.

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