“Veritas: Google Blocked NewsBusters, Other Conservative Sites from Search - NewsBusters” plus 1 more

“Veritas: Google Blocked NewsBusters, Other Conservative Sites from Search - NewsBusters” plus 1 more

Veritas: Google Blocked NewsBusters, Other Conservative Sites from Search - NewsBusters

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 07:34 AM PDT

Google used a blacklist and a blocklist for search results. And those two lists reportedly blocked  a large amount of conservative content from the app — including NewsBusters. 

A Google whistleblower, Zachary Vorhies, shared several documents with James O'Keefe and Project Veritas that were released August 14. These documents included a document with a Google Now blacklist and Google block list, and hundreds of other pages of material from internal Google memos, emails, and guidelines. This allegedly impacted the app and not all Google searches. 

That block list included NewsBusters, MRCTV, Twitchy, Conservative Tribune, Front Page Mag, RedState, Christian Post, Daily Caller, and Catholic News Agency, among others. 

Google Now was part of Google Search built for Androids and iOS. According to Lifehacker, Google Now put cards, which looked like a smaller version of the discontinued Knowledge Panel, in browsers "to display cards it thinks may be relevant to you at the moment." While the branding for Google Now has been discontinued, the structure is still a part of the Android Google search. 

These blocked sites, according to Google, "had a high user block rate." In addition, Google Now had a blacklist that blocked certain sites completely, regardless of who blocked them or not. These included torrent sites and eBay. Vorhies told Veritas that this was a "blacklist," which listed certain sites because of the "high user block rate." 

However, if a high number of users blocked CNN, would Google add this mainstream liberal site to the block list? 

The list of sites with a high block rate included other places, such as the sites belonging to noted right or right-leaning voices such as Glenn Beck, LTC Allen B. West, USA, (also a senior fellow at MRC), Steven Crowder, the Duggar Family blog, Megyn Kelly, Rush Limbaugh, and Michelle Malkin. 

Google has created blacklists and block lists before, for its sister site YouTube. The whistleblower Vorhies released a statement in June showing the manual changes YouTube staff were making to YouTube's search algorithm to hide pro-life results. A list of blacklisted terms were released to Breitbart as well. These terms included the Irish abortion referendum. 

The Media Research Center has contacted Google for comment but the company had not responded as of publication.


Google search terms inspire David Lang’s new choral work - Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 08:56 AM PDT

Throughout his long and varied career, conductor Robert Geary has led hundreds of works, from early music to world premieres. But he says David Lang's latest piece is something fairly new.

The composer's "teach your children," which Geary will conduct as part of this weekend's San Francisco Choral Society concert, sets texts Lang arranged using computer searches finished by auto-complete.  A reflection on the bonds between parents and children, the work was commissioned by Geary and the Choral Society. It makes its world premiere in performances Aug. 17 and 18 in Davies Symphony Hall on a program that also includes Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana." Presented as part of the Choral Society's  30th anniversary season, "teach your children" is the organization's sixth commissioned work in 12 years.

Geary's a big fan of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lang, whose works span operas, chamber works and film scores. Among the composer's recent scores is the opera "prisoner of the state," which premiered earlier this year in performances by the New York Philharmonic. It was directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, whose production of "The Threepenny Opera" opened West Edge Opera's season earlier this month in Oakland.

"Lang's an A-list composer, one of the top composers working in the U.S. today," says Geary, who led the Choral Society in the West Coast premiere of Lang's "Battle Hymns" two years ago. "I had seen its premiere in Philadelphia, and it was just a mind-blowing experience," notes the conductor. "He works at deep humanitarian levels, and this new piece is no exception."

Lang's "teach your children" began when he was thinking about what lessons parents impart — and what children learn from them. He started a series of internet searches, beginning with phrases such as "We must teach our children to…" Then he flipped the search with the phrase "When I was young, I learned to…"

From the auto-completed phrases, he crafted a text to be sung — one that Geary says is astonishingly powerful.

The world premiere, which also features the California Chamber Symphony, the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir, and soprano Marnie Breckenridge, tenor J. Raymond Meyers and bass-baritone Eugene Brancoveanu as vocal soloists, assigns the teaching texts to the older singers and the learning texts to the younger ones.

"It's an interesting way to create text," says Geary, adding that Lang gives the orchestra a substantial role in the piece as well. "When I told him he would have the 'Carmina Burana' orchestra at his disposal, he put it to good use, in a style that's very recognizable for David Lang."

A longtime Bay Area resident, Geary has been a significant leader on the region's music scene for the past four decades. He's prepared choirs for some of the world's top conductors, including Robert Shaw, Herbert Blomstedt and Kent Nagano. He's the San Francisco Choral Society's artistic director as well as the founder of the choral ensemble Volti and the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choirs. He recently stepped down as director from the latter organization, although he will continue to serve as conductor for one of its groups. On the day we talked, he had just returned from an overseas tour, leading young singers at international choral festivals in Estonia and Finland.

Last season, he directed Volti in the world premiere of "Dreamers." Presented by Cal Performances and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the large-scale oratorio by composer Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz, which also featured soprano Ana María Martínez and the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, was lauded for its choral sound. "It was kind of a thrill to prepare a choir for Esa-Pekka Salonen," Geary says.

Whatever he's conducting, from Bach to new works, Geary says he always strives for humanity in music. "I suppose I'm always seeking relevance," he said. "When I think of where choral music was just a few decades ago, when it was basically either classical poetry or religious text, the world has changed a lot in terms of where composers are seeking their inspiration and their material."

Lang's piece is special, he adds — not just in its use of text, but in what it says. "I think it's going to be beautiful," he said.

Details: San Francisco Choral Society presents the world premiere of David Lang's "teach your children," along with Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," conducted by Robert Geary; 8 p.m. Aug. 16 and 17, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco; $30 to $36; 415-392-4400, www.sfchoral.org


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