Aug 28, 2010 2:38 pmA curious thing has been happening on Google Maps -- the Lincoln Memorial is being misplaced in favor of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial [see screen capture from early today and compare it to the now correct map on Google] which is a good half a mile south of the more famous memorial.
According to the Geographic Travels blog, this "misplacement" has been happening for about two days now. Typing "Lincoln Memorial" into the regular Google search bar brings up a number of listings related to the Lincoln Memorial, yet shows a map of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.
Is this a Google Maps glitch, or could this have anything to do with the fact that conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck is holding a controversial "non-political" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday?
Beck's rally, which is called the "Restoring Honor" rally, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
I saw this wrong map for myself several times, as late as about dawn EDT on Saturday.
This is part of a growing scandal of Google abusing its near monopoly power for (currently) petty political purposes. Google maintains plausible deniability by making minor "mistakes" (sending Glenn Beck's followers to the wrong place, turning Pat Buchanan into a unperson in the Prompts for awhile, and so forth). Misplacing the Lincoln Memorial is, of course, not a mistake, it's, at best, a prank. I don't know whether these dirty tricks are caused merely by individuals at Google abusing their authority, or whether Google, normally a most methodical company, is testing what it can get away with politically.
If it's the former, has anyone at Google ever been punished for these political dirty tricks? I've never heard any follow up to the Pat Buchanan unpersonization, no apology, no press release, nobody reprimanded. So, it may well go down in company annals as a successful little experiment in what Google can get away with by picking on the unfashionable. We'll see if they get away with misplacing the Lincoln Memorial.
Similarly, a lot of my VDARE.com articles tend to come and go from Google intermittently. For example, a few months ago, I needed to look up the long stream of closely reasoned abuse I've directed at Bill Gates' educational philanthropic efforts over the years. Funny, I couldn't find it through Google. So, I went to Microsoft's Bing search engine and, bingo, there were all my attacks on Bill Gates, right at the top of Microsoft Bing's list.
My personal guess is that Google will be able to get away with manipulating its data for political purposes as long as its masks its manipulations as mistakes that can be "fixed" instantly when the heat gets too intense. Google is too powerful and too scary for most media figures to question publicly. My strategy is the opposite: to speak out about Google's political scandals. We'll see...