The Drudge Report and Fox News both recently seized on discredited allegations that Google may have given a "special deal" to the Obama campaign in giving the campaign select access to a new advertising product. In fact, both Google and the Obama campaign denied the report; moreover, a Google spokesman pointed out that the ad that sparked the controversy was not a Google ad at all.
Loading the player ...
Right-Wing Media Hype Alleged "Special Deal" Between Google And Obama Campaign
Drudge Report: "Obama Campaign Strikes Special Deal With GOOGLE Advertising." On June 16, the Drudge Report posted two links alleging a "special deal" between the Obama campaign and Google, as well as another linking to a December 2008 Gawker article about Google giving funds to Obama's inaugural committee:
The top two headlines both linked to a June 15 Politico article about the alleged "special deal." [Drudge Report Archives, 6/16/11]
Fox's Johnson: "Did Google Search Engine Help Power The Obama Campaign Machine?" On the June 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host and Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. reported on the story and began by asking if the "Google search engine help[ed] power the Obama campaign machine." From the show:
JOHNSON: Did Google search engine help power the Obama campaign machine? Republicans advising -- accusing Google of giving the campaign access to a new advertising program that covertly collects email addresses. Republicans feared Democrats may have gotten a special invitation -- the GOP only invited after questioning the Obama campaign's involvement. Both the White House and Google insist there's no foul play involved. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/16/11]
Report: Google Says It Has Not Sold Cost-Per-Lead Advertising To "Any Political Candidates Or Committees"
Politico: Google And Obama Campaign Both Denied That "Obama Campaign Had Been Granted Special Access To The [Ad] Pilot Program." From the June 15 Politico article to which Drudge linked:
Google denied Wednesday that it gave President Barack Obama's re-election campaign special access to a new advertising program, something a sales representative from the search and advertising giant had claimed in an email to customers.
The new ad program would charge clients for every email address (or other piece of user data) they collect. The program is attractive to campaigns eager for that information, so when a staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee saw what appeared to be an Obama ad built on this technology on the RealClearPolitics website last month, she emailed a Google sales rep to ask about creating a similar ad campaign for Republicans.
The saleswoman, Sirene Abou-Chakra, replied by suggesting that Obama had a special deal.
"This is a pre-alpha product that is being released to a select few clients," she wrote in an email, referring to the first stage of a product's roll-out. "I'd be happy to get you into the beta if you're interested."
But Google spokesman Jake Parrilo denied strenuously that the Obama campaign had been granted special access to the pilot program, and chalked the email up to inaccurate "puffery" by the sales representative.
"This is an experiment and while we generally do not comment on those experiments we can tell you that we have not sold a single CPL [cost-per-lead] ad unit to any political candidates or committees," said Parrillo.
And Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt seconded the company's account that the campaign had not purchased any ads or enrolled in the Google pilot program. [Politico, 6/15/11]
Politico: Google Spokesman Says "The Ad That Appeared On RealClearPolitics ... Was Not A Google Ad At All." The Politico article also stated: "Google spokesman Jake Parrilo denied strenuously that the Obama campaign had been granted special access to the pilot program ... The ad that appeared on RealClearPolitics, he said, was not a Google ad at all." [Politico, 6/15/11]