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Is Santorum's "Google Problem" a Google Problem? 775

Posted by samzenpus
from the google-juice-nobody-wants dept.
theodp writes "Fortune contributor Dan Mitchell argues that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 'Google problem' isn't Google's problem at all. 'The fact that searching for 'santorum' puts the profane, anti-Rick Santorum site SpreadingSantorum.com (NSFW) at the top of Google's search results,' insists Mitchell, 'is not an example of a "Google bomb," despite the widespread use of that term to describe the result.' In the same camp is Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, who also says that Santorum has a search engine problem, not a Google problem. 'It's just that everyone fixates on Google,' Sullivan adds. Which is perhaps to be expected, since Google is the King of Search and also has ties to SpreadingSantorum creator Dan Savage, having featured the sex-advice columnist in Google's The-web-is-what-you-make-of-it Chrome ad campaign (for Savage's admirable It Gets Better Project, not SpreadingSantorum). So, considering Google's vaunted search quality guidelines, is some kind of change in order? Sullivan, while making it clear he opposes Santorum's views, nonetheless suggests Google is long overdue to implement a disclaimer for the 'Santorum' search results. 'They are going to confuse some people,' he explains, 'who will assume Google's trying to advance a political agenda with its search results.'"
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Is Santorum's "Google Problem" a Google Problem?

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  • Perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by assertation (1255714) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:12AM (#39018409)

    I think to have this issue in proper perspective it helps to Santorum's original words which started his conflict with Savage:

    http://www.rotten.com/library/sex/sodomy/santorum/ [rotten.com]

    You have to ask yourself, how would you feel if someone said such things about your sexuality/how you to relate to those you love.

  • by dr2chase (653338) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:27AM (#39018563) Homepage

    SpreadingSantorum predates It Gets Better, so this doesn't look like a causal link.

    I don't think Google should do anything at all. Why should Santorum get special treatment? The already provide SafeSearch, and TFA proposes setting it to "strict" if you don't want to get results like this.

    See also: Dan Savage on this [thestranger.com].

  • by the_raptor (652941) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:55AM (#39018915)

    And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.

    That is what Santorum said. And I think most of the West these days considers anything consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home to not be the end of the world and not the governments bloody business.

    Also the logical conclusion of Santorum's position is to either "fix" all the gays or to restrain them from being able to have gay sex. I am an Evangelical Christian and I think Santorum is a dangerous man whose basic ideology is antithetical to liberal democracy.

  • by jackbird (721605) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:01AM (#39018979)

    As Dan Savage has repeatedly clarified on his blog, spreadingsantorum.com is NOT about Rick's opposition to gay marriage. It's about his being in favor of criminalization of consensual gay sex (as well as the 'wrong' kind of straight sex). Specifically, it's a reaction to Rick's AP interview in which he made an equivalence between gay sex and "man-on-dog."

    Santorum wants Lawrence v. Texas overturned, and sodomy laws back on the books. He's also in favor of outlawing contraception.

    In other words, he's a significant threat to the liberty of anyone, gay, straight, or otherwise, who has non-procreative sex.

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:01AM (#39018981) Homepage
    Santorum believes that Lawerence v. Texas was wrongly decided, that is to say, Santorum believes gay people should be put in prison if they have sex.

    Morover, Santorum is openly hostile to allowing gay adoption. Given that Dan Savage has an adopted son, that too is a direct threat to Savage's way of life.

    Santorum's intollerant bullshit goes way beyond gay marriage. That's just the level of hate it is socially acceptable to express for the time being
  • by Myopic (18616) * on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:20AM (#39019217)

    I dunno, I think the problem is a Rick Santorum's [spreadingsantorum.com] Problem. It's because of Rick Santorum's [spreadingsantorum.com] obsession with gay people and banning gay sex. Maybe Rick Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] should get off his soap box. And since Rick Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] is against gay marriage obviously those people are going to be active against him along with others that fear is rise to power.

    All you are doing is (ahem) spreading "santorum".

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:36AM (#39019457) Homepage
    Also, that "most people's view" crap is over. Gallup.com - Majority of American's Favor Legal Gay-Marriage [gallup.com]

    Bigotry isn't as popular as it used to be.

    -GiH
  • Re:Cyberbullying (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:46AM (#39019615) Homepage Journal

    don' t resort to immature nonsense

    Santorum started it. Now he's reaping the whirlwind. My generation is through playing nice with bad politicians.

  • Re:Cyberbullying (Score:5, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:50AM (#39019679)

    If you consider Dan Savage's actions bullyish, then how would you categorize Rick Santorum's previous public speakings and insults against homosexuality and same-sex relationships - from his position in the government no less? Rick Santorum is an openly-homophobic right-wing extremist. This is an easily observable fact.

    This is why Dan Savage (a gay pro-gay-rights columnist, best featured in the Savage Love article in the back of the Onion newspaper) created SpreadingSantorum and coined the Santorum phrase. Note also that this happened a LONG time before Santorum was even a gleam in the eye of a misguided presidential race.

    He got what he deserved, and now that he wants to be the president it's not going to suddenly disappear. He created his froth, he can lie in it.

  • Re:Cyberbullying (Score:4, Informative)

    by UCSCTek (806902) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:52AM (#39019707)

    Here the namecalling is just acting as the hook to get people's attention. And it is obviously working.

    Once that's done, there is plenty of real criticism once you click through to the blog.

  • by Skreems (598317) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:53AM (#39019725) Homepage

    Being against what some would perceive as a "right" does not makes someone against all rights.

    This is obtuse to the extreme. Prior to the "civil rights movement", plenty of people were in favor of freedom of speech, the right to vote, own property, etc. for white males, but simultaneously wanted to treat black people and women like property. By your logic, those people were "pro civil rights".

    The government is basically already in the state you described. You can get married in a church, but you enter a marriage contract in the eyes of a state only once you've signed a marriage license and some other forms at the courthouse. The state function is limited to the contractual side of things, but also performs brief ceremonies if you want one (2-3 minutes of a judge talking to you before you enter the contract). All the recent state battles over gay marriage have been over whether they're allowed to participate in this contract. None of them have been about forcing churches to hold gay ceremonies. The government IS already in the contract business, nothing more.

    And comparing Christianity to the Taliban is just stupid.

    It's pretty apt in this case, actually. Sure, not all Christians are like the Taliban, but in Santorum's case, when he's actively promoting the idea that federal law needs to be subservient to Christian religious code, and when he is advocating instituting harsh legal penalties for people who have done nothing wrong except offend his religiously-based sensibilities, I don't see much of a difference.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Monday February 13, 2012 @12:18PM (#39020117) Homepage

    There is nothing preventing gay couples from expressing their love for one another. The government doesn't deal in "love".

    FALSE

    When a loved one is in the hospital, you naturally want to be at the bedside. But what if the staff won't allow it?

    That's what Janice Langbehn, a social worker in Lacey, Wash., says she experienced when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, collapsed with an aneurysm during a Florida vacation and was taken to a Miami trauma center. She died there, at age 39, as Ms. Langbehn tried in vain to persuade hospital officials to let her visit, along with the couple's adopted children.

    "I have this deep sense of failure for not being at Lisa's bedside when she died," Ms. Langbehn said. "How I get over that I donâ(TM)t know, or if I ever do."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/health/19well.html [nytimes.com]

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Informative)

    by M. Baranczak (726671) on Monday February 13, 2012 @12:18PM (#39020123)

    "All you find"? I just googled "santorum". #2 was Rick Santorum's Wikipedia page. #4 was his official website. I could see both of these without scrolling the page. So what's the problem?

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday February 13, 2012 @12:22PM (#39020191)

    The origin of the term 'Santorum'. From Dan Savage's "Savage Love" article May of 2003.

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=14422 [thestranger.com]

    I encourage /.ers to read this, and note that it was created almost *NINE YEARS AGO* before calling out Savage for bashing a presidential candidate or calling Savage the bully.

  • Re:Legal Action (Score:5, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:04PM (#39021653)

    Google banned the first site saying it could be spreading malware, which is proper diligence for a tech company and search engine. The second site it was posted on stayed live and the image continued to be returned in results until the curator of the blog hosting the image removed it himself and posted an apology. It wasn't clear to me if the blogger himself had created/posted the image, or if it was posted by someone from the general public.

    If you read the first linked article, everything I just wrote is there, in clear text, which the parent neglected to share.

    Google at no point removed an offensive image - they just blocked a potentially security-threatening site which happened to contain a contentious image. Google's position has always been to provide accurate results based on site ranking and popularity by visitors. At no point do they (or have they) removed content simply because it was unfavorable. Security concerns are a completely different matter, with separate criteria for removal.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:48PM (#39023407) Homepage Journal

    Because I don't want my 12-year-old daughter to see that definition if she suddenly takes an interest in my disgust at the primary returns.

    Then you shouldn't allow your daughter to use Google with SafeSearch turned off. Set it to strict and lock it if this is your concern. Otherwise, Google will find a lot of other offensive things for her, connected to various other innocuous (and not-so-innocuous) search terms.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:4, Informative)

    by M. Baranczak (726671) on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:49PM (#39023425)

    Curious. I'm in the US. I just tried google.ca, and I got results that are almost the same, but not quite, as google.com. So the ranking depends on the user's location, and on which portal you're using.

    And it looks like our neighbo[u]rs to the North just don't hate Rick as much as we do.

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