Searching me besmirches me
Is there no end to the unfair treatment of Donald Trump? Not, according to the president, in the most prominent of the 933,000,000 results that come up when you search for "Trump news" on Google. (Unless you try the "I'm feeling lucky" button.)
Likely set off by a Fox Business Network show featuring complaints by pro-Trump YouTube performers Diamond & Silk of social media bias against them, along with admittedly "not scientific" statistics on Google promoted by PJ Media, a right-wing news site, Trump tweeted "96% of ... results on “Trump News' are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous."
"In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD," Trump tweeted. He charged "Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!"
Google disputed the claims, saying its search function "is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology." Among the factors its does weigh: authoritativeness, expertise and trustworthiness. Also, the algorithms consider personal search history and try to determine what readers will consider most useful, because what Google wants most of all is for them to keep coming back.
You'd better watch your apps
Speaking to reporters later in the day, Trump expanded his online hit list, saying Google, Twitter and Facebook "better be careful" because "you can't do that to people." It was left unclear what he might do about it. Government intervention to referee how a private company handles political content would likely run up against a constitutional wall.
“You should read the First Amendment,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted to Trump. “Google has the right to, for example, prioritize cute cat videos over weird Alex Jones rants."
But if nothing else, Trump has a new chapter for his epic narrative of people, places and things that have been rigged against him. They included the 2016 election (until he won), the 2016 popular vote (evidence-free claims that millions of fraudulent ballots were cast against him), the head counts of his inauguration crowd, a "Mexican" judge in the Trump University case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Senate rules, the Robert Mueller "witch hunt," the failure to charge Hillary Clinton, his own attorney general, coverage of his rallies, polls, Democrats, dissident Republicans such as the late Sen. John McCain and, of course, "Fake News."
For more on Trump vs. Google, see Newsday's story by Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
He gets results
Even if his threats were empty, Trump's tirade against Google produced one accomplishment: It dominated the Google News search results for "Trump" Tuesday morning and afternoon.
Pushed lower in the results was the previous day's news about how he had to cave to pressure and extend symbols of the nation's respect to McCain.
Janison: No blockbuster on trade
The automobile trade deal Trump announced with Mexico on Monday has all the markings of another celebration well in advance of results, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.
Central to Trump's past complaints was the shift of auto jobs outside the U.S. But the proposed new "rules of origin" requirements from 62.5% to 75% for North American-made parts would seem to affect only three out of dozens of models of Mexico-assembled cars, Bloomberg News reports.
The deal also suggests some Mexican autoworkers would get paid more to reduce the labor-cost advantage over U.S. workers, but its impact also is unclear.
Wages lag economic gains
But wages have remained stagnant and aren't keeping up with inflation, Bloomberg News reports.
Inflation-adjusted hourly wages dropped 0.2% in July from a year earlier, their worst reading since 2012, according to the Labor Department, amid faster price gains. They’ve grown at an average 0.3% annual pace under Trump overall, compared with 1.1% during President Barack Obama’s second term.
Sessions' Senate standing sinking
Key GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have signaled in recent days they'd be open to replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterm elections, a move that would thrill Trump, who blames him for the continuing Russia investigation. The erosion of Sessions' support stems in part from Session's hard-line resistance to some senators on issues such as sentencing reform and legalizing marijuana.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of those starting to nudge Sessions toward the exit, said any new attorney general would have to pledge to allow special counsel Mueller to "finish his job without political interference.”
Sessions still has the support of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said, "I have total confidence in the attorney general. I think he ought to stay exactly where he is."
Everything to fear
Speaking Monday night to a closed-door meeting of evangelical leaders, Trump portrayed the stakes of the Republicans' midterm election struggle to hold onto Congress in apocalyptic terms.
"You're one election away from losing everything that you've got," Trump said, according to excerpts obtained by NBC News. If the GOP loses, its opponents will "will overturn everything that we've done and they'll do it quickly and violently."
Trump falsely repeated a claim that he had gotten "rid of" a law forbidding churches and charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates. The law is still on the books after efforts to kill it in Congress last year failed.
What else is happening:
- The next trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been delayed a week, to Sept. 24, after his lawyers asked for more time to prepare. Manafort faces charges of conspiracy and money laundering brought by Mueller.
- One of Manafort's primary bankers had his briefcase, iPad and sneakers stolen during a mysterious overnight break-in at his Manhattan penthouse, WNBC-TV reported.
- A Manhattan federal judge presiding over a drug trial last week shot down a defense lawyer who tried to undercut the prosecution case in his summation by bringing up Trump’s criticism of cooperating witnesses who “flip," reports Newsday's John Riley. “I should note the tweet is that it ‘almost ought to be illegal,’ but as we all know, and as I am going to instruct the jury, it is not illegal,” Judge Gregory Woods said.
- Defense Secretary James Mattis, who will be a pallbearer for McCain, opened a briefing with a salute to the late senator and war hero. McCain "represented all of the ideals America stands for," Mattis said. " . . . Our nation has lost a great patriot and our military lost one of our most ardent supporters."
- Stormy Daniels — the porn star whose story of a Trump tryst and hush money set off a legal landslide — gets the Vogue treatment in the fashion magazine's new issue.
- It's not part of the emerging trade deal, but Trump insisted Tuesday that the border wall he wants to build will "ultimately be paid for by Mexico." Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso tweeted in response that his country has been "absolutely clear" that Mexico "will NEVER pay for a wall."