Once again, cyber-libertarianism shows its ugly side, as

Google News becomes conduit for LaRouche's Big Lie

DEC. 20, 2010--The LaRouche organization's Executive Intelligence Review issued on Dec. 3 a scurrilous attack on Erica Duggan, who seeks a fresh investigation of her son Jeremiah's death while attending a LaRouche event in Germany in 2003; and Molly Kronberg, the widow of northern Virginia printer Kenneth Kronberg. (Mr. Kronberg committed suicide in 2007 after LaRouche suggested that he do so; Ms. Kronberg is suing LaRouche in federal court for cruelly libeling her after her husband's death.)

The Dec. 3 EIR article (read here) is full of egregious misstatements of fact as well as out-and-out lies, all designed to heap scorn and contumely on Ms. Duggan and Ms. Kronberg.

And who's presenting this stuff as legitimate journalism? Once again, Google's news aggregation service is a major culprit. On Dec. 5, I typed in "Lyndon LaRouche" at Google News--and the Dec. 3 EIR propaganda exercise, disguised as "news," popped up as the number one hit (read here). Thus does Google legitimize LaRouche's scurrilous attacks on a mother who lost her son, and a widow who lost her husband, although both deaths stemmed from policies and actions of the LaRouche organization.

I expanded my little experiment on Dec. 12 to include three additional search terms. First, when I typed in "Jeremiah Duggan," the top listing I obtained was a Dec. 2 item from The Jewish Chronicle (a U.K. weekly) that was favorable to the Duggan's family's position. But the second and third place items were EIR attacks on Ms. Duggan and Ms. Kronberg (Google search results here).

Next, I typed in "Erica Duggan"--and what came up first was the scurrilous Dec. 3 EIR piece, with the Jewish Chronicle article in second place (results here).

Finally, I entered "Molly Kronberg" and received only one hit--the Dec. 3 EIR article (results here).

One underlying problem is that the LaRouche organization and the mainstream media have radically different standards as to what constitutes a newsworthy event. Ms. Duggan's battle has received much favorable coverage from mainstream newspapers, but such coverage tends to come only when there's an important new development in the case--and there can be many months between such newsworthy occurrences.

And during the fallow periods, the LaRouchian coverage of the Duggan issue will tend to dominate, since LaRouche and his followers regard the efforts of Ms. Duggan as an urgent matter 24 hours a day/365 days a year--and their publications can focus on the case whenever LaRouche gives the word. Furthermore, since news items disappear from Google News (in contrast to the ordinary Google) fairly quickly, all LaRouche has to do--to maintain his advantage--is to keep feeding EIR propaganda disguised as news into the Google News hopper.

Dominating the Google News results on the Kronberg lawsuit is even easier for LaRouche. Ms. Kronberg's case has received very little mainstream media coverage because the issue is not as dramatic as that in the Duggan battle (libel as opposed to a possible homicide), because the legal issues are complex, and most important--because it has not yet gone to trial.

The media, knowing that a large majority of civil cases never go to trial (being dismissed by the judge or settled out of court), will in most instances regard pretrial maneuverings as being not very newsworthy. Thus Ms. Kronberg's case will not garner much mainstream news coverage unless or until it goes to trial (at that point, the case probably would attract quite heavy coverage given the notoriety of the lead defendant and the truly repulsive nature of his libelous statements about Ms. Kronberg--"witch," "bitch," "perjurer," drove her husband to suicide, etc.).

Ms. Kronberg, Ms. Duggan, and their supporters have tried to set the record straight on the two cases via websites, blogs, and discussion boards, and have done so with considerable success. However, the outlets open to them are not covered by Google's news aggregator--and none of LaRouche's critics have the resources or the time to publish their own newspaper or magazine simply for the benefit of Google News.

We thus have a situation in which the web "news" about two brave opponents of the LaRouche organization is dominated to a large extent by EIR, a propaganda rag written and edited by sociopathic LaRouche followers who have not the slightest regard for factual evidence and who have focussed for decades on smearing their opponents (especially Jews) by any means necessary. (I have been tracking the contents of EIR for over 30 years and believe me, this magazine makes Fox News look like a model of Columbia School of Journalism-style objectivity.)

I am not suggesting that Google stop searching LaRouche websites or publications and presenting the results on its regular (non-news-aggregator) search page. Given the free-wheeling nature of the web, such a demand would be unrealistic unless LaRouche were to ratchet up his hate rhetoric to a George Lincoln Rockwell level (i.e., start expressing bluntly what he really thinks without a smokescreen of euphemisms and elliptical arguments).

My point here is that LaRouche's cynical lies about his opponents have been given an unwarranted currency thanks to Google's policy of including EIR on its news aggregation list. Now it's true that Google News gives all the newspapers it covers an advantage of sorts over personal websites and blogs as well as discussion boards (and there's nothing wrong with that). But I'm describing here a special situation involving a scurrilous rag that has never displayed the slightest regard for factual accuracy and has as much in common with legitimate news as a poisoned Tylenol capsule has with a non-contaminated headache powder.

Google has removed hate group publications from its news aggregation service in the past; it can and should remove EIR as well. For my further thoughts on this, read my blog postings here and here.