Google is pushing back against a claim by Donald Trump that the search engine stopped promoting State of the Union livestreams on its homepage after his presidency began. Trumpâ€™s claim came in the from of a tweeted video, which was still pinned to the top of his profile when this post was published at 9:30 PM PST, Aug. 29, 2018, after Google’s refutation and multiple media reports of its inaccuracy.
Hashtagged #stopthebias, the video appears to show that Google did not display links to livestreams of Trumpâ€™s first public speech to a joint session of Congress on February 28, 2017 or his first State of the Union on January 30, 2018, despite promoting Obamaâ€™s State of the Union addresses in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
Google, however, says it did indeed highlight Trumpâ€™s first State of the Union in 2018, but that it usually does not include links on its homepage to a presidentâ€™s first public address to Congress, so neither Obama nor Trumpâ€™s were featured. In a statement sent to BuzzFeed News, the company said â€œOn January 30, 2018, we highlighted the livestream of President Trumpâ€™s State of the Union on the google.com homepage. We have historically not promoted the first address to Congress by a new President, which is technically not a State of the Union address. As a result, we didnâ€™t include a promotion on google.com for this address in either 2009 or 2017.â€�
â€” Jon Passantino (@passantino) August 29, 2018
The video shared by Trump does not make a distinction between a president’s first public speech to a joint session of Congress and his first State of the Union address.
A discrepancy in Googleâ€™s logo also suggests that at least one of the screenshots, which appear to have been taken from the Internet Archiveâ€™s Wayback Machine, was doctored. A Gizmodo commenter notes that one of the screenshots in the video Trump tweeted, from January 12, 2016, shows a version with the previous Google logo, not the sans-serif version introduced in September 2015, which can be seen in a Wayback Archiveâ€™s screen capture from January 10, 2016 and other days from that month when a Google Doodle wasn’t featured.
Furthermore, while a link to Trumpâ€™s State of the Union does not appear on archived versions of Googleâ€™s homepage from January 30, 2018, it does show up on a capture from 1AM on January 31, as Twitter user @WrockBro notes. That may be because the Wayback Machine uses Greenwich Mean Time time stamps.
Not only that, but also this: https://t.co/RfJIKpYGJX
â€” enJPL (@WrockBro) August 30, 2018
Trumpâ€™s tweet is the part of his current onslaught against Google, other tech companies and mainstream media, which he accuses of having a liberal bias and burying news about his administration. It is worth pointing out, however, that Trumpâ€™s 2017 first speech to Congress was widely praised as â€œpresidentialâ€� by journalists across the political spectrum, even liberal publications. In turn, they wereÂ ridiculed by critics for being awed by a president acting presidential.
UPDATE:Â Mark Graham, director of the Wayback Machine, sent TechCrunch a list of more links showing that Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this year was promoted on Google’s homepage. All are shown in Greenwich Mean Time.
Source: Techcrunch Disrupt