Donald Trump thinks that Google is rigged against him because the top results on a web search of “trump news” are all from “left-leaning sources” (read: major news outlets).
First, I’ll ignore the fact that major news outlets (CNN, ABC News, The Washington Post, etc.) are simply more widely disseminated (and clicked), thus their articles show up higher in Google’s search results than those of less widely followed sites like InfoWars and Breitbart (links purposefully not here, because aw HELL no).
Second, I’ll leave to other articles the fact that journalists tend toward being more “liberal” because they are better educated and exposed to more diverse points of view than the average human.
I wrote this back in February 2017:
Is it possible that [journalists] are biased? Yep. Hell, it’s likely, in fact. It takes education to become a journalist. It takes exposure to people and places outside of your provincial little world to write good copy. I can almost guarantee you that “the media” leans left. Education and liberalism are strongly positively correlated.
In other words (yes, I’m now using myself as a source AND paraphrasing myself…I have to make up for my shitty Google ranking), it’s not surprising that the top results on a search of any newsworthy topic would be (a) written by journalists from widely circulated news outlets, and (b) written by journalists who are likely liberal in their personal biases. Does that mean they’re biased in their writing, too? They could be, but that’s what j-school curricula, professional ethics, editors, advertisers, and competitors are there to minimize. It’s a risk, but a small one that’s easily checked.
Third, I’ll walk away from the fact that the Free Market™—brought to you by Amazon—governs Google and all other search engines. If you don’t like what Google is showing you, go to Ask Jeeves. Sorry, just kidding. Jeeves died. You might have noticed we lowered the flag to half-staff in his honor Monday afternoon. Don’t let the White House fool you with this whole “we were shamed into honoring Senator John McCain” shtick. Jeeves’s old company goes by ask.com now. Of course, ask.com likely models its algorithm after Google’s, because it’s way cheaper to copy the best than to do the R&D to come up with something else. But you go ahead and enjoy seeing those same embarrassing results, albeit in a slightly different order and font.
Damn it! You called it, Mr. President! Even the Jeff Bezos-owned Free Market™ is out to get you, Donnie! You should really get Larry Kudlow to ominously (perhaps illegally) “take a look” at that, too.
It’s no surprise that Mr. Trump hates reading negative press about himself. To be honest, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who likes seeing anything negative about themselves. That’s why all bathroom scales and mirrors have been removed from the White House.
Okay, I made that last part up, namely due to the Commander-in-Chief’s assertion that he weighs 239 pounds. Either he’s dyslexic, or that “fact” was completely pulled out of his lumpy ass, devoid of external measurement.
And before you rail against me for making fun of Trump’s rotundity, I say this as a less-than-svelte man, myself: the only way Donnie could come in at 239 pounds is if he gnawed off one of his own legs before the weigh-in (and that he stuck to merely gnawing, and didn’t resort to seasoning his own orange, dimpled thigh with salt and ketchup and eating it). And that’d still be pushing it. Besides, it’s kinder to assume he created a number out of the blue than to believe he looked down, saw a much, much higher number, and told his caddy, “eh, put me down for 239.”
But plenty of people throughout history have been faced with unwanted coverage—positive and negative—of their lives and their work. There are plenty of ways to handle it.
For instance, former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush each avoided reading daily coverage of their own exploits, lest they be unintentionally swayed toward reactionary moves. Alec Baldwin has never seen almost any of his own movies. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius instructed a slave to follow him around whispering, “Remember, you are only a man.”
It’s okay to decide you don’t want a minute-by-minute ego thrashing (or stroking) and take action to live your life free of that steady flow of information. It’s not an exemption from self-reflection; rather, it’s a decision that constant, relentless feedback—or praise—isn’t necessary to ensure good performance.
Still, most of us start with a default assumption: mirrors, scales, and widespread news coverage that all corroborates across platforms are probably an honest, accurate reflection of the truth. I can want to avoid hearing it, but steering clear of information isn’t a reflection of that information’s falsehood. If anything, it’s a recognition that the scale makes me feel bad about myself because it’s accurate, and I don’t like the accurate news it gives me about myself.
[bctt tweet=”Default assumption: mirrors, scales, & widespread news coverage that all corroborates across platforms are probably an honest, accurate reflection of the truth.”]
Of course, there are funhouse mirrors, warped scales, and misreported news.
But overall, if you suck in and peer over your Grimace-gut, look down and see 329 pounds, you probably weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 329 pounds. Sure, you might weigh 325 pounds, or you might weigh 332 pounds. But you probably don’t weigh 239 pounds, even if a drunk Navy doctor you paid to say it tells you so.
If you don’t like the number you see, you could step on a different scale. And if that one says the same basic thing? Try another. And another. And another.
And when ten scales put you at an average of 329 pounds? Chances are astronomically solid that you weigh 329 pounds. Sorry, dude.
Don’t like that answer?
Then do something about it.
No, don’t declare that there’s an international conspiracy among scale-makers to portray you as a fat ass. That’s asinine, Mayor McCheese.
Instead, take responsibility for your life, conservative dude. Accept the reflection of the collection of finely tuned machines as accurate. Mix in a salad. Get one of those standing desks in the Oval Office. Set a good example for the rest of us by deferring to factual reports and seeking to better yourself.
And if the top results for “trump news” are a bunch of negative stories written by widely sourced, even more widely circulated news outlets? Don’t shoot the messenger. Don’t dismiss them all as “fake news.”
Just try not being a fucking asshole for a change, and see if that helps.
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