The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 August 2008

Google's Pattern Of Harassment Against Conservative Sites


Internet Monster Turns Against Non-Liberal Websites

*** NEW Developments In Providence Ratings Cheating Scandal- Continuing Coverage Here ***

While Internet behemoth Google's motto has long been "Don't Be Evil", recent actions against dissenting bloggers suggest the company is quick to disregard that principle for the sake of partisan convenience.

Long associated with far- left causes, San Francisco Bay Area- based Google would like the public to believe it uses its immense power fairly, but many right- leaning writers would beg to differ.

That's because in recent months, a growing number of conservative sites have found themselves targeted for shutdown by the company, including The Radio Equalizer.

For some time, Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs has been documenting the problem. See some of her recent posts on the subject here and here.

In a story picked up by the Drudge Report, today's New York Sun examines the allegations:

Anti-Obama Bloggers Say They Were Silenced

Election 2008

By ANNA PHILLIPS, Special to the Sun | August 5, 2008

Web loggers who are campaigning against Senator Obama's presidential run are accusing Google and Obama supporters of silencing them after their Web logs were marked as spam and their accounts temporarily frozen.

On Thursday, hours after publishing a post about an online petition demanding that Mr. Obama publicly produce his birth certificate, an associate professor of business administration at Brooklyn College, Mitchell Langbert, found that he could no longer access his Web log.

Google's Blogger hosting service had suspended "Mitchell Langbert's Blog," which Mr. Langbert describes as "two-thirds academic stuff I'm working on and one-third politics," until it could verify the Web log was not a "spam blog," or a site designed solely to increase the page views of associated Web sites.

A day later Google lifted the block on the account, but the incident and earlier Web log freezes in late June have led Mr. Langbert and other anti-Obama bloggers to accuse the Illinois senator's supporters of intentionally identifying their blog addresses to Google as spam blogs. They also say the company has reflexively suspended the sites.

"These tech-savvy smart alecks have figured out that if you report a blog you don't like, you can do some damage to a person," Mr. Langbert said.

The story also includes Google's response:

A spokesman for Google, Adam Kovacevich, said in a statement that an overzealous antispam filter was responsible for the blocks.

"We believe this was caused by mass spam e-mails mentioning the 'Just Say No Deal' network of blogs, which in turn caused our system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam," he said. "We have restored posting rights to the affected blogs, and it is very important to us that Blogger remain a tool for political debate and free expression."

But how does Google's theory explain last week's shutdown of this site? On Thursday, your Radio Equalizer was also locked out and threatened with permanent site deletion.

While previous posts were still available to public viewing, it was frozen, with no ability to add updates. This came just as yours truly was working on an article to commemorate Rush Limbaugh's twentieth anniversary.

This site has no relationship to those mentioned above, so the firm's official position on the cause of the shutdowns simply can't be accurate. In addition, comments are moderated here, meaning spam is completely absent from The Radio Equalizer.

Is Google simply trying to cover its tracks?

Here's the letter your Radio Equalizer received after being locked out of the site:


Your blog at: has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at

Your blog will be deleted within 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and you'll be unable to publish posts during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.

We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help:

Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.


The Blogger Team

P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, you won't be able to use your blog. Click this link to request the review:

If there isn't any spam present at the site, what exactly would trigger a shutdown by their "automatic spam detection" system?

In addition, where is the evidence that liberal sites have also been affected? If this is really a computer glitch, shouldn't some left-of-center sites also become ensnared?

With only one shutdown to date, this site has been relatively lucky. Others have already faced this headache several times.

When will the company come clean regarding its partisan antics?

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  • Brian, OMW was hit by the same "lock" on Friday. We were restored over the weekend.

    Though we obviously blog about talk radio, OMW isn't a politically-oriented site...and I don't have to do a search to know that we've not mentioned Senator Obama, or Senator McCain, once in the 3-plus years we've been doing OMW.

    By Blogger Ohio Media Watch, at 05 August, 2008 22:22  

  • "When will the company come clean regarding its partisan antics?"

    Nothing to come clean about, Brian.

    Google is a private concern.

    The government is not involved. Your right to free speech and expression have not been impeded upon in any way.

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 06 August, 2008 02:03  

  • Brian, Jimmy Severino III has blog now, but he wont post comments. Hmmm I wonder why ???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 August, 2008 02:07  

  • Time to put on my "Amazing Karnak" turban...

    I see a class action lawsuit against Google in the near future.

    Karnak has spoken!

    hash, just a point...Blogspot (and Google) are effectively violating their own policies and are also violating contracts made with bloggers. As such they are indeed liable and if malice of intent or negligence can be proven, they more than likely would lose in court. Furthermore the bad publicity that they censor dissent would do them badly especially now that they are getting new competition.

    By Blogger Carl, at 06 August, 2008 10:23  

  • My own blog was also locked for three days last week by Google, who claimed it was a "Spam Blog."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 August, 2008 07:30  

  • The tech blogs are starting to report on Google's actions.

    "Obama's campaign people have found how to game the system. Most of the sites were anti-Obama." John C Dvorak's comment

    If the tables were turned and pro-Democrats sites were shut down it would be front page news with the ACLU leading the pack.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 07 August, 2008 08:38  

  • This stuff happens. Deal with it. Happened once to my blog, which has no politics on it -- just personal diary stuff. Not a big conspiracy -- just a glitch.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 August, 2008 09:23  

  • Paranoia the destroyer.

    Take off the tin-foil hat wing nuts, nobody is censoring your brilliant "Obama is a terrorist Muslim Satanist former black panther, with ties to cannibalism against Jews" blogs.

    facts aside, Google should be allowed to censor or block which ever sites from their search engine or as they please. "bu bu bu free market"..... Amazing... if a company blocked say "communist" blogs, the wing nuts would shriek "free market".... yet now magically they are complaining.

    If you do not like Google's policies nothing is stopping you from being a "rugged individualist", "pulling yourself up from your bootstraps" and starting your own right wing version of google.......

    As usual "free market" for the rest of us, special rules for them.

    Just like the way they feel about welfare. Welfare bail-outs for big business, FINE.... welfare benefits for a poor individual... not acceptable.....

    By Anonymous WhiningParanoidWingNutter, at 07 August, 2008 09:54  

  • What a complete moron! Liberals can never compete on a level playing field. How did those bootstraps work out for lib radio?

    By Anonymous JaredJacobsSmokesPole, at 07 August, 2008 12:47  

  • I pay $6/month for a hosting account that has several sites on it, and I have another with the same deal. I pay $10/month at another host for a couple more sites. Anyone who uses blogger is nuts.

    And, I can think of at least four ways a blog could be categorized as spam:
    1. Linking to spammy sites.
    2. Users clicking the 'spam' button at the top of the page.
    3. The blogger sending mass emails to gmail accounts mentioning the site.
    4. *Others* sending mass emails to gmail accounts mentioning the site, not to promote the site but to make it trip a google filter.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 11 August, 2008 18:19  

  • The mention that your blog could be deleted in 20 days has me flabbergasted. I was shut down for a couple days, don't have proof why it happened. I'm not ostensibly about politics but highlight controversial topics. Those who favor totalitarian somnambulism don't like that.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 14 August, 2008 21:51  

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