The Internet is the main source of news for many people – and a quarter of all news website visits come from search engines. But the search engine that's at the top of the heap is biased.
The stock market tanked on Monday. Many people looking for an explanation will enter something like "Monday stock market" into the Google search engine and click the news tab. An audit by the web analytics firm Parse.ly finds more than 60 percent of the resulting Google links will be to liberal news sites. Google only led searchers to right-leaning news sites 11 percent of the time.
Corrine Weaver of Media Research Center says that's a big win for the liberal sites. "Google is really pushing CNN to the point that almost a quarter of CNN's website traffic is coming from Google," she tells OneNewsNow. "The other ones are The New York Times, The Washington Post, … Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Politico, the Guardian – [all of which] are pretty left-of-center outlets."
The only conservative news site in the top 20 Google referrals is Fox News.
Weaver explains how, in the battle for news website supremacy, Google – which reportedly owns 70 percent of the search market share – can make a big difference.
"CNN is one of the top websites if you look at the different traffic numbers for the different news websites," she shares. "And it competes with Fox News all the time – some months Fox News is ahead, and some months CNN is ahead."
But even more importantly, she says, the bias of the news sites Google pushes is passed down to the consumer.
"Artificial intelligence tends to have the biases of the programmers built into it," Weaver explains. "So the AI that would be curating the news for 'Top Stories' could easily have had some biases programmed into it by whoever built the program."
In her article about how Google's directs users, Weaver finds it "laughable" that the Columbia Journalism Review suggests the higher incidence of left-leaning news links is because "simply more news was produced on the left" than the right.