Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

What do you do while watching the presidential debates?

Besides yelling at Carly Fiorina every time she opens her mouth, roll your eyes at Donald Trump, or cheer on Megyn Kelly, you’ll have the opportunity to do more than check Twitter while you chug away your beer. Google announced a partnership with Fox News that enables users to find more about candidates.

In what they bill as an “experimental feature,” when users search for “Fox News Debate,” photos, videos and statements from each of the candidates, in real time, will appear, including answers to questions they may not have been asked to answer on stage. Candidates’ campaigns can also add extended responses and clarifications to what they said during the evening.

Google Trends, Google’s arm that surfaces trending content based on searches, will also surface questions, catchphrases, and other useful content.

According to Google, searches related to politics rise 440 percent during the debates. So instead of furiously Googling what Carly Fiorina’s thoughts are on abortion or Jeb Bush’s record in Florida, Google is making it easier to find what you’re looking for, directly from the candidates.

The information isn’t meant as a fact-checking enterprise, as some early reports might have led you to believe. Google is positioning it as a way for voters to stay informed; it’s certainly a boon to those who won’t be watching, though Fox News will be live-streaming the debate, available even to those without a cable subscription, on their website.

The feature is available starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in time for the Republican debate. A spokesperson from Google was unable to return phone calls seeking clarification as of press time.

Photo: This is a mockup of what you can expect to find from Google’s new feature. Credit: Google

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


s3.amazonaws.com


Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.