Google News gets its sights crossed

Google News gets its sights crossed
By Sam Varghese
December 3, 2004 - 11:41AM

Google News announces Bush's arrest

A satirical article about Canada arresting US President George W. Bush in Ottawa and charging him with war crimes appeared as the top story on Google News without the editor's note that identified it as satire.

The article was up on Google's US news page on November 30, according to, a website that tracks web defacements.

The story, from a site called Axis of Logic, had a heading "Political Satire" plus this disclaimer: "Yes folks, this story is political satire, not fact."

It was apparently inspired by a Reuters story that a group called Center for Constitutional Rights filing war crimes charges against Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenant and others in the Bush administration.

Google News appears to have missed the disclaimer while parsing the site.

Google News says "The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program" at the bottom of its main news page.

senior Unix developer in Melbourne, who preferred anonymity, said: "When the production of news is entrusted to faceless automatons, you end up with George Bush being arrested in Canada. What if a story 'Russia launches pre-emptive strike on...', had been (mis)reported?"

He pointed out that during the cold war era, there were protocols in place to prevent false-start Armageddons. "Today, these protocols should be updated to include the possibility that Google got it wrong," he commented.

Comment has been sought from Google.

Update: The "Bush arrested" story apparently originated on Information Clearing House and was written by Paul K.J.

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I have always considered the Allies war criminals for dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WW2. Also, for the firebombing of Dresden. But the winners write the histories,and everybody thinks these were justifiable acts.
Rick van Opbergen
Well first I thought it was quite humorous, but I agree that such articles can have serious consequences. And true missile, history is written by the winners, not the losers.

Comment has been sought from Google.

An automatic response is currently being generated.
I hope they generate the right automatic response.
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