- The manager of Trump's 2020 campaign spoke out against Google after a video an internal meeting was leaked.
- The manager, Brad Parscale, claimed the video showed that Google believes it can "make you have their values."
- The video does not appear to back up Parscale's claims.
- The leaking of a video breaks one of Google's most sacred rules and underscores the growing politicization within its employee ranks.
Brad Parscale, Donald Trump's campaign manager for the 2020 election, wants Congress to investigate Google following the leak of a video that showed the internet company's top managers lamenting Trump's election victory in 2016.
The video was recorded during one of Google's weekly all hands meetings, known as TGIF meetings, and was leaked to the right-wing Breitbart news site on Wednesday.
"Let's face it, most people here are pretty upset and pretty sad because of the election...myself, as a immigrant and refugee I certainly find this election deeply offensive and I know many of you do too," Google cofounder Sergey Brin is seen saying in the video.
The comments do not appear very different from other critical comments Brin and other Google executives have made following the election, particularly with regards to Trump's inflammatory campaign rhetoric about immigration and other issues.
"There is a lot of fear within Google," CEO Sundar Pichai says in the video. "Many groups, women, blacks, people who are afraid based on religion, people who are afraid because they are not sure of their status, the LGBT community, and i could go on."
But it's no secret that many people on Google's management team, and among the company's workforce as well as many of those living in Northern California where Google is based, possess left-leaning politics. And the leaked video was quickly seized upon by associates of Trump, who have been leading a drumbeat of accusations about anti-conservative bias within the tech industry.
"Google needs to explain why this isn't a threat to the republic," tweeted Parscale, the manager of Trump's 2020 election campaign.
.@google needs to explain why this isn’t a threat to the Republic. Watch the video. Google believes they can shape your search results and videos to make you “have their values”. Open borders. Socialism. Medicare 4 all. Congressional hearings! Investigatehttps://t.co/jlbSgMMrLT— Brad Parscale (@parscale) September 12, 2018
Google spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.
A conservative chorus alleging bias
Parscale's tweet comes amid a full-scale attack by Trump and his allies on Google in the run up to the US mid-term elections. The President took to Twitter two weeks ago and accused Google of rigging search results as part of an effort to silence the voices of people with politically conservative views and to make him look bad.
Trump also alleged that Google had not promoted his state of the union addresses on its famous front door the same way the company had done for former US President Barack Obama. Google refuted the claim and provided evidence that it promoted Trump's speeches before Congress in the same way as Obama's.
And as with that claim, there does not appear to be any smoking gun evidence in the video of Google's internal to back up claims of an anti-conservative bias.
Nowhere on the video does anyone appear to suggest that they can tweak search results so that they can influence people into adopting Google's values. What most of the managers make clear is that they believe in the democratic system and in the rule of law.
"I've been a long-time Hillary (Clinton) supporter," Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Google-parent company Alphabet, told Google's staff during the meeting. "But as Kent (Walker, senior vice president of Global Affairs) said, the most important thing is that I very much respect the outcome of the democratic process and who any one of us voted for is really not the point, because the values held dear at this company transcends politics."
Google CEO Pichai told his staff that the election reaffirmed his faith in the democratic process.
"It's important to remember we are in a democratic system," Pichai said. "It's heartening to see the proper transition of power... (democracy) tends to make it through ok, and it seems to be better than any other system out there."
The leaked video violates a Google taboo and is a sign of the turmoil within the company
The fact that a video of the weekly TGIF meeting was leaked underscores the increasingly tumultuous and politicized nature of various factions within the company. The TGIF meetings, in which senior management respond to questions from the staff, is one of Google's most longstanding and sacrosanct traditions - disclosing what is said in these meetings has long been considered taboo.
Conservative employees at Google rallied around James Damore last year, after he questioned the company's diversity policies. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, a number of Google insiders have protested the company's involvement with the military.
As part of a program called Project Maven, Google supplied the US Department of Defense with artificial-intelligence technology that helped analyze drone video footage. That caused an internal revolt that resulted in multiple news leaks, including at least one regarding comments made by managers at all-hands meeting.
Previously, employees who opposed Googles relationship with the military presumably held liberal political views. This time, it appears that those who supplied the video to Breitbart are much more politically conservative.