Last week, VICE News reported that a Google search for the California Republican Party listed “Nazism” as one of its ideologies. Since then, Republicans have been ginning up an obscene amount of outrage over what appears to be a case of someone just editing the page on Wikipedia.
Here’s House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, who’s from California:
Google responded quickly to McCarthy, explaining that it was automatically processed from Wikipedia. And anyone can edit any article on Wikipedia that’s not protected, which the California GOP page now is.
That, however, wasn’t enough for the man who’s in line to become the next Republican House leader. “It is disgraceful that the world’s largest search engine has labeled millions of California Republicans as Nazis,” McCarthy told VICE News. “This is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives. These damaging actions must be held to account. The bias has to stop.”
McCarthy isn’t giving it up. “Individuals need to come in [to testify],” McCarthy told Hugh Hewitt on Saturday. “There need to be transparencies because we have to have a clear understanding. If they’re controlling the feed of what people are seeing, that is fundamentally wrong.”
“This is an area Congress needs to look at throughout,” he added.
His fellow California Republican and Trump lackey Devin Nunes, who runs the House Intelligence Committee, agreed. “I would hope we don’t have to go there,” Nunes said on Fox News today. “I would hope that they just don’t get involved in politics and don’t censor conservatives and Republicans, but if they continue to do it then we have to move obviously to hearings on these issues.”
Congressional hearings! Over a Wikipedia edit!
This is dumb as shit. Even if you overlook the very simple explanation for why this happened, it’s clear that Google doesn’t think Republicans are Nazis, or that if they do, they don’t care. In 2016, 55 percent of Google’s PAC’s spending went to Republican candidates. So far this year, 44 percent of the donations have gone to Republicans. One of its biggest recipients in 2016 was McCarthy, who got $10,000 from Google’s PAC. This cycle, they’ve already given $5,000 to McCarthy.
As with the conservative movement’s charges of bias against Facebook, this is all about Republicans creating a fiction where they and their prime demographic are the targets of actual oppression, despite the reality that they run the entire federal government and a majority of states. As my colleague Libby Watson wrote during the Facebook fiasco last month:
The conservative movement has done a remarkable job over the last half century to bellow and bully its way into having its most ridiculous and reality-divorced concerns taken seriously. It lies about and distorts everything: about tax cuts, about Benghazi and her emails, about immigration, about healthcare, about Diamond and Silk. The further Facebook descends down the path of letting that screaming white face of faux outrage dictate how they run their platform, the harder it’s going to be for them to get away from them.
If Google wasn’t a soulless corporation, they would probably feel obligated to go to the mat with congressional Republicans on this, and showcase it as an example of how politicians have weaponized “fake news.” But they are that soulless corporation, and so here we are again, with Republicans creating controversy where there is none. Tech companies have to stop falling for this eventually, right? (No. The answer is no.)
And not for nothing, but a Southern Poverty Law Center report last week found that at least eight white nationalists were running for federal office across the country, including California GOP Senate candidate Patrick Little and Illinois congressional nominee Arthur Jones. Something about shoes and fitting.