Google caught some swift backlash from Republicans for associating their party with Nazism in a description blurb.
Apparently, Vice Media brought the issue to light by publishing a screen capture of Google’s “knowledge panel” that included Nazism as one of the ideologies of the California Republican Party.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called out the search engine on Twitter.
The descriptions have been removed; however, Google has also defended itself by blaming online vandalism.
“Sometimes people vandalize public information sources, like Wikipedia, which can impact the information that appears in search,” Google said. “We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally errors get through, and that’s what happened here.”
Wikipedia’s credibility has faced scrutiny because any user can alter information. It seems that this feature has gotten them in trouble yet again as Google named the online encyclopedia in its vandalism defense.
According to Time, Wikipedia’s change log does show that an anonymous user added the term “Nazism” to the California GOP page on May 24. Although the change was reversed a week later, it was edited back in.
Ironically, this situation unfolded just days before the California primary, meaning that until now, voters have been seeing the erroneous description while researching candidates and party information ahead of casting their votes.
"Google owes conservatives answers and assurances that they are putting an end to this,” Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to VICE News. “Evidence is mounting that conservative voices are either being suppressed or, as it appears in this case, being falsely depicted as hateful extremists.”
While this specific incident may have been the result of vandalism, it does shed light on the bigger issue of how the Republican Party at large is being viewed with President Donald Trump at the helm.
His divisive presidential campaign strategy followed by his racist rhetoric and policies have emboldened more neo-Nazis and white nationalists to run for office and mainstream their hateful agendas.
Additionally, Trump is appointing people with ties to hate groups and white supremacists to important positions of power, such as the Islamophobe John Bolton, who Trump has running the National Security Council.
As for the California GOP, specifically, Senate candidate Patrick Little has done them a great disservice by running as a Republican. Little has praised Adolf Hitler and advocated for limiting the representation of Jews in government, among other anti-Semitic views.
While the California GOP has denounced him and distanced themselves from his politics, he would still represent their party if he won the election. We witnessed something very similar happen in 2016 when many Republicans refused to endorse or back Trump until it became clear that he was going to be their primary candidate, forcing nearly all of the so-called anti-Trump republicans to swallow their pride and embrace him as their leader.
If Little wins a seat in the Senate, then it would, technically, be accurate to associate the California GOP with Nazism.
Ultimately, regardless of what any search engine says, the issue points back to the Republicans, themselves, for allowing their party to be inundated by the alt-right.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters