News Corp./Yahoo: A Potential Conservative Web?

SMS Text

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?
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.

Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • junger

    So the company that brought you The Simpsons, Family Guy and Temptation Island is going to turn the Web into a Republican haven?
    Come on. This is ridiculous.
    For News Corp., it’s all about the almighty dollar.
    This is like saying that Google is to blame for the first results when you search for “Jew.”

  • MG Siegler

    As I said, News Corp. has been fairly hands off with MySpace and obviously has other avenues as you mentioned where it is all about the dollars – I’m simply wondering if Murdoch would be able to have a tool as powerful as Yahoo and not attempt to use it to cover an area that isn’t well-represented on the Internet. It worked (for a while at least) as Fox News went to ratings gold.
    Fair point though on the last part.

  • aaron brazell

    Come on, Neil. Now you’re just making things up! ūüôā
    I’m known to be a conservative (which I realize is far from a commodity in our industry), but you have to be realistic. Yahoo would no more be slanted conservative under newscorp as it is slanted left under presumably lefty leadership now. The reality is that in THIS business, it makes no difference what the political leanings of one man is (even if he is the CEO) as the organization MUST be relevant to stay relevant. You give Murdoch way too much credit.
    That said, I do expect a favor toward Fox News content at Yahoo! if there really were a merger.

    • Sherry

      It is amazing to me that a red flag about Yahoo’s heavy- handed Conservationism appears to have basically escaped the masses. Are we mindless chickens? Almost everything Yahoo ranks at the top five of or entries or pages skews what the people really think and what is fact. Yahoo surely does this to make the Liberals and Obama look pretty darn awful. There is really no other honest explanation. No, really. Just try to look for complementary pieces on anything “pro” this Presidency and you will be amazed at the defamation of character you get, instead. So, actually the slippery-slope has been gone for some time. Yahoo is as nasty and deceitful as Sarah Palin is divisive, bigoted and manipulative. What does any further compromise of the airways promise America? Just MORE obvious lies, selfish tea party beliefs, hateful interpretation of the importance of a real government. . .and even more plain old greed, Baby, greed. Wake up and smell the coffee. This should be really old news.

  • HMTKSteve

    You are off your rocker on this one. News is business. Fox News only looks conservative to you because the other options are so far to the left of center.
    On the whole Fox News is balanced in that they *try* to have people on their opinion shows from both sides of the political aisle. By that I do not mean republican/democrat but liberal/conservative. Yes, there is a difference and if you can’t see it then you need to step back and look again.

  • Cormac

    Any attempt to serve searchers with anything other than what they want will result in them switching to more accurate search engines. This is why most early commercial engines failed when faced with upstart Google.
    The liberal bias of the internet reflects the opinions of its users. I note that in today’s story about Pentagon email being hacked, Robert Gates declared he was personally safe – because he doesn’t use email.
    If one wants to spend money creating an online bias, the most effective technique would be to spend on SEO, and perhaps advertising on the opposition’s blogs and news sites.

  • Nathania

    It’s clear you don’t actually watch Fox News b/c they go to great lengths to have both liberal and conservative viewpoints on their various programs.
    The reason liberals such as yourself feel threatened by it is because you’re used to CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, and every other major media outlet offering primarily liberal content.
    Google is very liberal, but where are your comments about how they might dominate the conversation?
    No, you’re only threatened by viewpoints that are different than your own. That’s a bit close-minded, don’t you think?

  • MG Siegler

    @Nathania – it’s clear you don’t actually read the article on which you are commenting.
    You say: “Google is very liberal, but where are your comments about how they might dominate the conversation?”
    2nd to last paragraph: “then again, who’s to say Google isn’t doing that now? Perhaps their results are intentionally perpetuating the liberal bias.”

  • MG Siegler

    To those who think I’m way off base here – fair enough, it’s entirely possible that I am. My intention was simply to throw an idea out there that I didn’t think was completely out of the blue as clearly there has been a lot said about Murdoch’s intentions for The Wall Street Journal with his Dow Jones bid.
    Believe me, I have no love for the very liberal bias – I’d much prefer no bias whatsoever – but that is probably an unrealistic dream. Fox News may have guests on their shows from both sides, but to say there is no bias there is, in my opinion, a ridiculous and *biased* perspective.
    Still, I appreciate everyone’s comments and welcome the criticism to stir debate. I think discussion about such topics – even if only hypothetical – is important.

  • HMTKSteve

    Fair point, but to cry out that Fox News is biased and stay silent on the other networks is in and of itself a biased statement. You are showing your bias by selectivly choosing who to call biased when all parties involved are biased.

  • MG Siegler

    I agree that all are biased to some extent HMTK, but in fairness Fox News is central here because they are run by News Corp., the company at the center of this post.

  • eat me

    “On the whole Fox News is balanced in that they try to have people on their opinion shows from both sides of the political aisle. By that I do not mean republican/democrat but liberal/conservative. Yes, there is a difference and if you can’t see it then you need to step back and look again”

  • Ciaran

    Murdoch is obviously right of centre, but he is also a very clever man. If he feels that a product’s audience wants left-wing info, that is what the product will provide. Just look at the way that The Sun (his tabloid over here in the UK) backed Tony Blair when it was clear that the country was turning against the Conservatives. You don’t get as rich as he is by being stupid.
    Interesting post though…

  • Darnell Clayton

    Wow, that was a funky conspiracy theory (if I’ve ever heard of one).
    At least it was entertaining. ūüėČ
    Note to Fox Fans and CNN Groupies: If you are conscious and alive, you are biased. This goes for robots too. ūüėČ

  • MG Siegler

    @ Ciaran & Darnell – thanks for not taking my post too seriously – I personally don’t think Yahoo will end up doing such a deal – but it was just something interesting to throw out there to think about.

  • tongkat ali

    How much longer did News Corp dangle this deal? I wonder if they considered it up until the Microsoft offers came in.

  • Conservative

    Retaking the original thread about Yahoo being a conservative search engine I thought I would do a bit of research myself. I logged in into and once there I searched for political news in Spanish. My rationale was that since the government of Spain is socialist the news would be even sided. To my surprise they are skewed anti-governement although there is a smittering of neutral news for balance, I guess.
    Thus the original premise is correct. Yahoo is a conservative avantgard engine which skews the search results in favor of producing either pro-conservative search results, in a politics news search, or neutral-negative progressive results.