Radio talk-show host games Google Trends

Alex Jones asked his listeners to search for specific terms in order to promote an article he wrote implying President Obama will let a terrorist attack occur.

Listeners of The Alex Jones Show Wednesday were directed to search for specific phrases in order to rank as highly within Google Trends as possible to promote an article written by the host suggesting President Obama wants a terrorist attack to happen.
Listeners of 'The Alex Jones Show' today were directed to search for specific phrases in order to rank as highly within Google Trends as possible to promote an article written by the host suggesting President Obama wants a terrorist attack to happen to boost his political prospects. Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

A radio talk-show host urged his listeners Wednesday to search the Internet for two specific phrases in order to get those terms into Google's closely watched Google Trends list and promote a blog post implying President Obama will invite a terrorist attack on the U.S. to boost his popularity.

Alex Jones, who hosts The Alex Jones Show weekdays on around 60 radio stations, asked his listeners to conduct Internet searches with two specific queries: "save his presidency" and "Obama terror attack." They responded, driving those two terms briefly to the top of Google Trends with the goal of driving traffic to an article headlined "Will Obama Force America To 'Absorb A Terror Attack' To Save His Presidency?"

The article Jones wanted to promote riffs on a quote President Obama reportedly gave to Bob Woodward in a new book on his presidency, saying, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever...we absorbed it and we are stronger," as reported by The Washington Post.

In the article, authors Jones and Paul Joseph Watson wrote "President Obama's ominous claim that America can 'absorb' a terror attack will have many fearing that staging some kind of false flag event will be the only way the government can overturn the massive resistance to big government that has grown exponentially since Obama took office." Later, they suggested that "only by exploiting a domestic terror attack which can be blamed on right-wing radicals, or by rallying the country round another war in the middle east, can Obama hope to reverse the tide of anti-incumbency candidates that threaten to drastically dilute the power monopoly of establishment candidates from both major political parties in Washington."

The two topics fell down the list toward the end of the day, ranking as the third and fifth hottest searches of the day as of late afternoon Pacific today, trailing only those searching for information on disgruntled San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson's contract dispute and news about a recall of the Similac infant formula after occupying the top spots for a period of time earlier.

While the article itself may not get as much traction as Jones and Watson had hoped, the fact that the topic made its way onto Google Trends--which is often used as an assignment editor for news desks, bloggers, and content mills across the country--almost guarantees that news coverage of the topic will emerge. By making it appear that there was genuine demand for the term "Obama terror attack" among searchers, the tactic is sure to generate articles featuring those terms in the headline and the need to find a critic to quote as filler for the story.

One of Google's biggest challenges going forward will be to ramp up its defenses against those who can so easily manipulate its algorithms and informational sites to drive news coverage of topics they wish to promote, rather than insisting Google Trends is an accurate depiction of the zeitgeist. Jones also successfully used this tactic in July to promote a movie called "The Obama Deception," which claims "the Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery," according to a promotional Web site for the film.

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