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Google provides free message marketing for Obama?

lizpolaris's picture

Does anyone else find this creepy? I hate to call it propaganda, yet. But maybe that's coming.

President Obama answers your questions. Watch the Hangout at 4:50p ET.

This wouldn't be surprising on a Democratic website or but it's right on the Google homepage under the search bar. I noticed it there yesterday also.

Why do I think that the same free advertising would not be available with a Republican in the White House? What's even stranger, what if that were not true - Google is only too happy to promote government events, messages, etc.? What if it's not free - how much of our taxpayer dollars went to support this extreme high visible promotion and why? Companies would kill to get that advertising spot.

This is such a marriage of government and business it makes my skin crawl. Will other companies jump on this bandwagon, giving free services to the government? Letting my imagination run away with me for a minute, I can envision a situation where companies are competing to get the latest 'scoop' from the government to put on their website. Only those most favorable to the government will get the stories first - just like the White House does today with access for the press.

Again, I want to be wrong. This is not a slippery slope, just a helpful little promotion of our leader.

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Submitted by lambert on

If Google were the public utility they should be, no problemo, but it looks like a humongous equal time violation to me. And one also wonders what the quid pro quo might be. I mean, suppose Obama did a live TV interview from an American Airlines plane up in the air. Wouldn't that be a huge ad for that corporation?

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I agree that it's creepy, and the fact that Google is not a public utility like broadcast tv makes this problematic, but I don't necessarily know that it is an equal time violation. Obama's not running for the office of president again(GAWD please don't let him run for governor or senate, let him retire on his Wall St pension), so I don't know that it violates campaign laws. While it's been traditional for the opposing party to respond to the SOTU, has it been the case that every presidential address must have a response from the opposition? Because, Google aside, I really don't see this as much different that an address to the nation.

First time visitor here.
I agree, this is troubling. Google has massive power and influence, whether it wants to exercise it or not, by virtue of its coverage of nearly every nook and cranny of the internet. If it isn't a utility, maybe it should be. But that's a separate issue.

During the 2012 presidential election, it would have been helpful if Google had given equal time (or zero time) to the major candidates, be they Republican, Democrat or any viable alternative parties such as Ron Paul or others. I personally find Ron Paul loathsome on many levels, but more choices don't hurt us, not when the two primary ones haven't been so great for the past decade or so.

As for government being too cozy with business: That can work, and should work, if done fairly. Google and any other U.S. company should be supportive of our government. After all, we the people pay taxes that provide infrastructure and train/ educate workers, both vital for U.S. companies' survival. That's how it was until a decade or two ago. It still works in some other countries.

Unfortunately, once the mutuality (which is NOT a form of Communism sigh...) breaks down, we have problems. Corporations start thinking that they don't need U.S. workers, and stop caring about their local community, their local resources and environment. It is short sighted and foolish of corporations to behave this way. Davos folks think they are "global citizens" and "multi-national" corporations. Maybe Europeans can pull that off, as they are small and have deep historical ties to each other. U.S. companies, and U.S. attendees of Davos need an America with employed, productive people, who have realistic hopes for the future and for their children's future. Corporations do need us. They, and the tiny wealthy elite who control them now, are too deluded to realize this. They will, once they have destroyed everything out of greed or misguided "group think" or both. Then it will be too late for us.

This is so lengthy. I hope you won't think I am one of those rabid ranting types. No capital letters though! And I love your comment system. It is superb.

Here's a final thought about Google, and political elections. Transparency is good. We've had that for awhile though, in the sense of donations and PAC funds being public record. Citizens United, I guess, or maybe just greed, is undermining that. Meanwhile, when I find this sort of thing,

I get very uneasy. I've been a poll worker, and part-time, minimum wage seasonal worker in election bureaus in three major states, intermittently over the past 20 years. Voter registration data was carefully guarded. The secrecy of the ballot is essential to freedom, not just from outside influences, but even within one's own family. Your political party registration is your own business, and your voting history is confidential. I am worried about this data aggregation and targeted voter campaigning that was done in the recent presidential election. It is widely praised, with more in the pipeline. Yet it feels intrusive, dangerously close to manipulation through targeted messages, to me.