Obama Gets No Respect from Google

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Two hours after announcing the beginning of the end of the war in Afghanistan, President Obama did not even chart in the top ten news stories on Google News. At 10:30 pm eastern time the list included Churchill Downs (where a tornado had just touched down), Ben Bernanke, Ryan Dunn (the deceased Jackass star), Lindsay Lohan, Minot, North Dakota (threatened by flooding), Ai Weiwei (a Chinese dissident), LulzSec (the computer hacker group), Weight gain, Breast implants, and Osama bin Laden. Granted some of the stories grouped under the Osama bin Laden rubric dealt with Mr. Obama’s speech, but the dead terror leader proved that he was the one that had marquee value. Yet by 11pm eastern bin Laden had been bumped off the list by the “Winklevoss twins,” the brothers who had just dropped their multi-million dollar lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. According to Google, Top Stories are “automatically generated by [their] algorithms based on relevance and freshness of the articles” and not chosen by human editors. The war in Afghanistan does not usually generate much attention from readers and consistently ranks in single digits on polls of national priorities. But it says something about the zeitgeist or perhaps Mr. Obama’s diminishing stature when new advances in breast implants are a bigger story than a major presidential address.


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About the Author

James S. Robbins

James S. Robbins, Ph.D., former Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs, was formerly professor of international relations at the National Defense University, associate professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. Dr. Robbins is author of the recently released "This Time ...

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