Rush has been saying things like:
So this is pure Alinsky on steroids. This guy is incompetent to run the private sector but, boy, does he know how to agitate and community organize. They had no advance knowledge this was happening, but they happened to get hold of Google and they said, "Look, we want to buy the search terms 'Goldman Sachs SEC,' we want you to direct the first hit to our website where we are going to raise campaign funds and awareness of the effort to demonize Wall Street." Meanwhile, the White House continues to deny that there's any link between the timing of the SEC suit and its push for regulatory reform.Okay. Interesting conspiracy theory — collusion between the White House and the SEC. That's something to consider. It was pretty convenient that the SEC moved against Goldman Sachs just as Obama was presenting his finance reform bill. But what kind of evidence is the Google ad?
Back to the colloquy with John Doe:
CALLER: The way it works is that, for instance, with the Goldman Sachs SEC key word, a company or a political campaign can put in a bid on that key word or that phrase so that when someone does a Google search for that phrase an online auction is conducted instantaneously, and the highest bidding organization has its advertisement displayed there. So if you were the Obama campaign, you would bid enough so that the very top result would be the one that you want people to see, namely the anti-Goldman Sachs advertising campaign.... [I]t can cost anywhere from five to ten cents a click or it can cost upwards of two to five or ten dollars a click depending on how popular and how much in demand those key words are. And so, for instance, every time you click on that ad, the campaign is charged anywhere from 25 to 50 cents....I'm editing out the parts where Rush struggles to understand this description. You can read the whole dialogue at the first link in this post. It's possible that Rush pretends to have trouble understanding to help radio listeners keep up with something that might be a little challenging.
Now, the funny thing is that John Doe didn't call in to help us weigh the evidence of collusion. (What would motivate the Obama campaign to bid for the "goldman sachs sec" search term? How likely is that bid to a result of advance knowledge that the SEC was going to charge Goldman Sachs with fraud?) Instead, John Doe has an idea that will waste the Obama campaign's money:
CALLER: [W]hat your audience might be interested to know, sir, is that each time somebody clicks on that link, the campaign is charged anywhere from 25 to 50 cents or greater. And so I don't want to tell anybody what to do, but again, your audience of millions of people might be interested to know that each time they click on that link, the campaign is charged a small fractional amount, but with millions of listeners, sir, that can end up having --Ha. Is Rush pretending not to understand?
RUSH: Snerdley, do you know what he's talking about? I have no idea what he's talking about here?
CALLER: Sir --Oh, too bad! Because 20 million clicks at 50¢ each... talk about pure Alinsky on steroids! But it's still pretty good Alinsky stuff to get people who don't like Obama to go max out the clicks, use up the campaign's allotted money for that sponsored link, and make it go away so it can't reach anyone the campaign was hoping to reach.
RUSH: John Doe from somewhere in the country, uhhh, sometimes I'm pretty thick.... So if the 20 million people in this audience all entered "Goldman Sachs SEC" and then clicked on the first result that came up at the top of the list, the person responsible behind that link -- in this case the campaign -- would be charged 25 to 50 cents.
CALLER: That's correct, sir.
RUSH: That can add up to a lot of money if I'm hearing you right.
CALLER: It can, sir, and in many cases the organization will establish a daily budget of maybe $50 or $100 or $10,000 or $100,000 dollars. But in any case, each time there is a click, there is a charge against that organization, and when they reach their maximum budget for the day, their ad disappears.
RUSH: Oh, is that right?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Oh! Oh! So the White House -- I'm sorry -- the campaign here has agreed to a maximum daily financial exposure, and whenever that limit is reached per day, that link then disappears from any further searches?
After the break, Rush goes into a related riff that is horribly ignorant about Google. Rush either doesn't know or pretends he doesn't know the difference between a sponsored link and a "Google bomb":
RUSH: You remember late in the second term of George W. Bush, if you entered the search term "miserable failure" in the Google search field you would come up with stories on George W. Bush. And Google said, "There's nothing we can do about that, that's just the way it happens." But then when it began to hurt Obama -- 'cause after Obama was elected you put in "miserable failure" or whatever the algorithm was, it defaulted to whoever the president was. That was a way of hiding it being a direct default to George W. Bush. There was a time you could enter "miserable failure" in a Google search field and you would end up with Obama. They found a way to fix it then.But it's incredibly easy to find out that Google fixed the Google bomb problem by January 29, 2007 — before Obama had even announced his candidacy for President. I Googled "Google bomb" and got the Wikipedia article on the subject. It has a section on the "miserable failure" incident, and that got me to the NYT article, dated January 29, 2007, which makes it obvious that Google responded to the problem Bush had:
It has been a bad month for anti-Bush snarkiness....
[A] favored online tactic to mock the president — altering the Google search engine so the words “miserable failure” lead to President Bush’s home page at the White House — has been neutralized.So, note: Google didn't respond to the problem when it affected Kerry. So Rush's they're-all-against-us pose is ridiculous. Yet it's unlikely his millions of listeners will notice. It happened to jump out at me. I think Rush Limbaugh reads my blog, by the way — I have my evidence — so Rush, I'm talking to you.
Google announced on Thursday on its official blog that “by improving our analysis of the link structure of the Web” such mischief would instead “typically return commentary, discussions, and articles” about the tactic itself.
Indeed, a search on Saturday of “miserable failure” on Google leads to a now-outdated BBC News article from 2003 about the “miserable failure” search, rather than the previous first result, President Bush’s portal at whitehouse.gov/president.
Such gamesmanship has been termed “Google bombing,” and is not unique to President Bush, or even politics. John F. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, was linked to the search “waffles,” while other Google bombs have been elaborate jokes or personal vendettas.
Back to Rush's Wednesday show:
"Miserable failure" at Google was linked to the White House page, the official WhiteHouse.gov page. And so when Bush was president, "miserable failure," took you there. But when Obama assumed office it still took you there, and then Google found a way to change it. They said they didn't know how it was happening. So when Obama was elected, it went to him, and Google said, "Oh, no, no, we can't have that," so they changed it. So now "miserable failure" does not take you to the White House website ever since Obama has been immaculated.That's just plain not true. And even if it were true, it wouldn't have anything to do with the suspicions about the sponsored link and the question whether there was collusion between the White House and the SEC.