News Corp./Yahoo: A Potential Conservative Web?

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With the rumor confirmed that News Corp. is looking into acquiring a sizable stake in Yahoo! in exchange for MySpace, I can’t help but wonder if such a deal would bring about a kind of “conservative web”, in contrast to today’s largely liberal variety.
News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch is well known for his conservative leanings and for bringing about the rise of outlets such as Fox News. With his recent bid for Dow Jones, many people were worried that his presence would influence editorial content – something he gave assurances would not happen. But can such assurances be given to Yahoo?
Yes, News Corp. owns MySpace and so far their presence hasn’t seemed to influence the site in the political arena. But MySpace and Yahoo are two completely different animals. If News Corp were to gain a share of the 2nd largest search engine and largest overall site on the Internet, would it be too tempting a tool for Murdoch to resist utilizing to try and reverse what at times seems to be an almost uniformly liberal arena? Well what could he do with only a 25% share you might say? Make no mistake, News Corp’s end goal in such a deal would be to eventually gain control of the entire company.
If that happened would Fox News stories start being front and center on the most widely used homepage? Would Yahoo Video, realizing they cannot compete with YouTube with the same content, slant conservative? Would Conservapedia show up in Yahoo searches just as much as Wikipedia does in the Google variety?
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I, for one, think that having both sides of anything represented is important. Any kind of seemingly uniform bias – even a liberal one – if unchecked, can be a dangerous thing. That said, when the company behind Fox News (a channel that seems to take bias to an entirely new level at times) is the one that could potentially be providing the alternative perspective, this could be an even more dangerous thing.
Search results are gathered by extremely complex algorithms – so much so that they are difficult to explain. If Murdoch were to start tipping Yahoo’s results toward conservative sites, would anyone even be able to prove it? If they handled such a change subtly enough, most users would never realize anything was going on behind the scenes, but the flow of large chunks of traffic on the Internet would essentially be getting gamed. Then again, who’s to say Google isn’t doing that now? Perhaps their results are intentionally perpetuating the liberal bias. It’s simply too hard to tell.
With billions of people now using the Internet, you’d think conservatives would have been making a harder push to get in the door and have their opinions heard. Perhaps that is exactly what Rupert Murdoch is planning on doing by rather quietly trying to slip in the door at Yahoo.

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