There’s some good knewz for people who don’t mind really dumb names and do believe that big tech has an anti-conservative bias — News Corp has been building an alternative to Google News, tentatively called Knewz.com.
The Wall Street Journal reported that its parent company is planning on releasing the news-aggregation platform later this year, but could potentially decide not to launch it.
The new platform would aggregate hundreds of top national news outlets like Washington Post, New York Times, NBC News, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as local newspapers. But, according to WSJ, it would also feature conservative-leaning outlets like the Daily Caller, the Daily Wire, Washington Examiner, and the Washington Free Beacon.
AS WSJ states, “the project aims to give exposure to smaller outlets that News Corp executives believe are often demoted in Google’s search results and Facebook social feed.”
Research on Google’s practices has found no definitive evidence proving the company deliberately censors conservative publications. However, Google has made an effort to promote trusted news sources that have a clear editorial process and content standards.
Gizmodo asked News Corp to confirm if Knewz would aim to promote conservative outlets, and company spokesperson James Kennedy referred us to his comment to WSJ.
“We are exploring this with the goal of recognising and rewarding the provenance of journalism, and to drive traffic and data to publishers — including subscription sites—so their original work is respected,” Kennedy told WSJ. “We want people to see a wide spectrum of news and views, from local, niche and national sources, without bent or bias.”
According to WSJ, Knewz would send readers directly to the news publications’ sites, and would not take a percentage of advertising revenue those outlets make. However, if the service is a success, it would allow the Rupert Murdoch-owned conservative news company to have more influence over how people get their news, wrestling some of the control away from Google and Facebook.
The folks at News Corp are not exactly known for being new media geniuses and their properties like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal tend to target older audiences. The company’s best-known foray into digital media was its spectacular failure to do anything with MySpace after it purchased the fledgling social network in 2005 for $US580 ($858) million. But as older demographics have adopted the online life, Murdoch’s properties have shown tremendous growth with Fox News’s website regularly beating the New York Times and Washington Post in user traffic numbers.
Murdoch has made no secret about his belief that Google is a malign force that is, if not harming the world, at least harming his bottom line. In March, he publicly called for Google to be broken up in a lengthy regulatory submission to the Australian government.
He wrote that “Google’s market power across the ad tech services supply chain is overwhelming,” and is killing publishers across all ideological spectrums. That’s true, and also something to keep in mind when one of Murdoch’s mouthpieces tries to claim the real complaint is that Google is censoring conservatives.