Climate cleansing: Google to censor skeptics?

Will Google start censoring climate skeptics? Can anyone say Googlegate?

The Yale Forum on Climate Change reports that,

… Google leads people to accurate information about climate change. Fifty-two percent of the 980 sites [returned by a Google search on climate change-related terms] contained clear statements in line with the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science evidence. For example, if you had searched for “climate change myths” in early May, you would have found this Environmental Defense Fund site, which says, “The most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and people are causing it.”

And Google may be willing to fix this problem for the alarmists. The Yale Forum goes on to state:

Meanwhile, can search engines do a better job of pointing the public toward credible sites?

A Google spokeswoman, who insisted on anonymity because she is not a Google executive, said the company is always looking for ways to improve results. “Last year, we made 500 changes to the algorithm to improve search quality,” she said.

Say it ain’t so, Google… don’t be evil!

Below is the text of’s letter to Google CEO Larry Page.

May 20, 2011

Dr. Larry Page
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Dear Dr. Page,

I am writing to request that Google repudiate web search censorship based on point-of-view.

An unidentified Google spokesman has indicated that Google may alter its search algorithms so as to, in effect, censor the views of the so-called climate skeptics.

On May 18, 2011, the Yale Forum on Climate Change bemoaned the fact that only 52 percent of the 980 web sites [returned by a Google search on climate change-related terms] “contained clear statements in line with the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science evidence.” (See

In response to the question, “can search engines do a better job of pointing the public toward credible sites”, a Google spokesman, who insisted on anonymity because she is not a Google executive, said the company is always looking for ways to improve results. “Last year, we made 500 changes to the algorithm to improve search quality,” she said — thus implying that Google might be willing to censor and bias search results concerning climate science.

But climate science is one of the most hotly contested public policy topics of our time. The notion that Google might slant search results to favor one side is repugnant and will damage Google’s brand.

I am requesting that Google publicly repudiate censorship based on point-of-view and commit to policies and practices that do not discriminate between points-of-view.

Steve Milloy

40 thoughts on “Climate cleansing: Google to censor skeptics?”

  1. I have found Google useful in academic searches on topics that are mostly non-politically tinged, as well as on searches that have to do with meaningless pop-culture drivel. However, when I search topics that criticize leftist dogma, I am often steered by the Googlists away from such criticism and to sites that are promoting that very dogma. I began to notice this gradually and it was if some big brother entity did not want me to find conflicting ideas. I switch to Bing and Yahoo more often now for such searches. Google is an amazing company from a technology standpoint, and that unfortunately is what is scary about an entity that can control access to information. Spooky

  2. I use Wikipedia to find info on controversial topics. They’re blatantly biased, worse even than Time or the NY Times, but at least their articles tend to have links to opposing views, making them useful as a starting point for research.

  3. Just Google and Bing “global cooling.”

    3.23 million versus 15.6 million hits; it’s a striking difference.

  4. Don’t use Google. Bing is a good substitute, and now they have “Bing Rewards”. The more you search, the more points you get. Just like frequent flyer programs.

  5. Just disable google as your search engine and uninstall chrome. use fox fire as an alternative to IE

  6. Can anyone propose a good way to test for this? Sounds like an interesting hypothesis.

  7. I have noticed over the past year that I have trouble finding material that used to pop at the top of the page. In some cases, even when exact titles are used, skeptic material is ignored by the engine. I have since started copying everything I find relevant, to files, so that they do not ‘disappear’ on me.

  8. The Junk Science article purposely and wrongly uses the term “censorship.” Google is not a state entity. Therefore, its selection of sources is not censorship. There’s a lot of useless and unscientific climate change denier material that simply wastes time and space on the internet.

  9. I have been suspicious that Google has a bias for some time, and here is why. I read an article in the nineties that described how Stephen Schneider got his MacArthur genius award. It seems that he was one of the lead authors on the first IPCC report in 1990 and was able to insert a paragraph into the report that tilted it in the direction of identifying human influence. They gave both his version and the version it replaced. To me they were equally wishy-washy and I did not understand why that small change earned him the 1992 genius award. Schneider was then in the middle of a bitter divorce which had strained his resources and he said that the award arrived just in time to rescue him financially. When more recently I realized the significance of this I wanted to look at the wording again but could not find the article: Google just would not give it to me. They had nothing about the divorce either – they either gave me divorce lawyers or said he was married to Terry Root. Nothing about it in the CV on the Web either. And absolutely nothing about why he got his 1992 genius award. If someone can locate that article I sure would appreciate it. I cannot believe that Google is incapable of finding it and this is why I became suspicious that it might be hiding facts that could embarrass global warming advocates.

  10. Never trust Google, there are many other search engines that do a better job. I’ve found there’s a lot that Google has embargoed or manage to put their preferred results in the first few pages.

  11. Last year after my Senator told me the Health Care Reform Bill was posted on the Senate web site for viewing I went to download a copy. The URL he gave me was wrong ( or I copied the link incorrectly) and I got the 404 message. So, I searched for the bill using the real name on Google – NO LUCK. It could not be found. Bing was introduced at about that time so I downloaded it and tried it out. The first two pages on the BING search were all related to the health care bill, and I found the site on the first page. After numerous similar events looking for known posted articles on climate change topics and other controversial topics, by title, and not finding them with Google and finding several hits in the first page with BING or Dogpile, I have removed ALL Google related products from my PC.

  12. I have removed Google as my primary search engine based upon your information.

  13. Just today in the WSJ, there was a review of the book, “The Filter Bubble.” It’s written by a liberal who noticed that he wasn’t receiving updates from conservatives he was watching on Facebook. The personalization of the Net was keeping their updates from his file, and he also goes into the Google issue. His fear is that by doing this, we’ll only be getting one side of the story, the one we prefer, and that’s a very serious thing. IF you have some options to change this, that can help but so can deleting your history/cookies on a regular basis.

  14. Searched my name on various engines. Google showed substantially fewer hits for politically-related references than Bing or Lycos! Switched my browser defaults and told all my friends.

  15. In regard to the Google “offer” to block all WUWT, I think this is merely a result of Anthony’s reporting of an instance of an embarrassing excess use of the spelled-out F word by (alarmist) Michael Tobias on a different site, and quoting too much of it!

    Isn’t it the bad language (albeit second hand) that was the target of Google’s warning? Hope so.

  16. Strange, but neither Safari, Firefox, nor Internet Explorer give me that “block all results from xxx” option. It sounds more like some browser plugin that you have, rather than Google. (And, even if it is Google itself offering you that, it sounds more like an option to change your own search preferences, and would have no effect on anyone else.)

  17. The article is a bit misleading, or at least a bit misinformed. Google is not targeting skeptic sites nor any sites directly. It is a search enhancement that allows users to narrow results by eliminating those they find not useful.

    1. Search for anything on google
    2. Click on a site to see it.
    3. Click the back button to go back to the search results
    4. The block option appears on the entry for the site you just visited. You’ll also have the option to manage blocked results and unblock.

  18. Steve,
    OT. Where is the UK gov’t finding money to blitz Libya with? The fund seems without constraint.

    Separately, how much of the (was it) £4 billion allocated to Huhne has been spent on solar and wind energy and carbon capture and storage?

  19. I quit using Google to get information on controversial topics long ago. I use Bing now. I cannot say if it is a good site, but it appears go be more accurate.

  20. Well I hope Google realizes they need us, we don’t need them. What a shame that making something mainstream and acceptable requires the stifling of anything contrary.

  21. Google top brass are in bed with Obomination so to ask the question is to answer it. If one has the time it would be interesting to compare search results from Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

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