Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He promoted a conspiracy theory, threatened to take action on it, and fundraised off it all in the same morning.

Trump was up well before dawn to post angry tweets claiming that Google search results are "RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD." He wondered if this was "illegal?" and promised that it "will be addressed."

The first tweet was posted at 5:34 A.M., Washington time, although they were deleted and reposted later in the morning. Trump may have been kept awake by a segment he'd seen Monday night on Fox Business, which mentioned a "study" that even its author called "not scientific."

In reality, Google does not weight its news results by political leaning--unless Trump meant things like Holocaust denial when he complained about the "Fair Media" being "shut out."

Later in the same morning, Trump's economic advisor Larry Kudlow threatened to slap regulations on Google and other social media sites. (Trump has also recently drawn attention to debunked conspiracy theories claiming that Twitter is hiding the posts of conservatives--by complaining on Twitter.)

By midday, Trump was referencing his threats in fundraising e-mails.

Why should I care about this?

  • It's bad if the president makes baseless attacks on private companies.
  • It's worse if he just does it to shake loose campaign contributions.
  • Trump may actually believe there is no bad news to report on in his administration.