A Voice for Men has a little Google Challenge for its readers, and I’m going to invite you to take part in it as well. In the midst of yet another post trying to gin up outrage over Facebook’s banning of violent rape memes and other such repugnant shit, new AVFM contributor and “former feminist” Jason Gregory sets forth this challenge, which he originally posted on his blog several weeks ago:
As we walk the grounds of moral turpitude for a moment, try typing into a search engine the phrase “violence against men.” You will get scores of pages linking to articles and information regarding violence against women. That’s right. Searching for violence against men leads to information about violence against women. Try it.
I did. We’ll get to the results in a second, but let’s just let Mr. Gregory explain what he sees as the enormous significance of his little experiment:
Even though the overwhelming amount of violence in this world is violence against men, feminists have monopolized the narrative of violence as violence against women. The normalization of violence against men permeates society. We don’t even notice it. However, violence against women receives special status and notice. So much so, that search engines don’t even link to violence against men.
That would be quite a damning charge, except for one little thing: it’s not true.
When I typed “violence against men” into Google– both in quotes and without — I got page after page of links to articles about and other resources related to, well, violence against men, most of them dealing specifically with domestic violence.
There were a few links referring to violence against women mixed into the results, but the vast, overwhelming majority of the results were in fact directly relevant to the topic of violence against men. As you might expect.
I did this while logged into Google, and while logged out. Similar if not identical results. I tried the same thing with Bing, with similar results.
I know that search engine results are personalized — I’m not sure if this is true for those who, say, sign out of Google first, as I did — but it looks like everyone else who’s tried the experiment has come to a similar conclusion, including various commenters in the Men’s Rights subreddit, and even a couple of commenters on AVFM.
On AVFM, one of the Googlers suggested gingerly that
The result I got was a bit different from yours though. The top results seem to be pages actually about domestic violence perpetrated against men. …
I know the point you’re trying to make. Just want to make sure your statement is actually accurate, and not an exaggeration.
In a comment responding to this, Mr. Gregory seemed to attribute his error to a combination of 1) the passage of time and 2) feminists.
So we’re expected to believe that several weeks ago, when Mr. Gregory tried the same query, there were literally no results about violence against men — that does seem to be what he was claiming when he wrote that “search engines don’t even link to violence against men.” We’re supposed to think that somehow Google wouldn’t even link to, say, the Wikipedia entry on Domestic violence against men — which was the very first link when I Googled the phrase.
And that then, somehow, over the past few weeks — presto chango! — all these dozens or hundreds of links to sites about violence against women magically transformed into links to sites about violence against men?
Somehow I suspect the real culprit here is what you might call MRA Bombast Syndrome, a disease that runs rampant at AVFM, where gross exaggerations seem to become “facts” in the minds of writers and readers both — like the way in which a small group of feminists John Hembling once had an argument with became a mob of twenty to thirty brandishing knives.
Perhaps a handful of “violence against women” links in the search results metastasized in Mr. Gregory’s mind into all the results. It’s hard to know, because he provides no evidence — say, a screenshot — to back his claims up, and no one else has been able to replicate his alleged results. (None of the commenters on his blog bothered to try his challenge when he first posted it several weeks ago.)
Even if Mr. Gregory’s unbelievable claims were true, that doesn’t let him or AVFM off the hook. I’m not sure what sort of citizen journalism AVFM practices, but it is generally considered a journalistic “best practice” for writers and editors to check if things in articles are true before they are published. If there is a delay in publishing something, they are expected to check if these things are still true.
In addition to “founder and publisher” Paul Elam, AVFM has both an “editor in chief” and a “managing editor” listed on its masthead, along with five other people listed as editors of some sort. Apparently none of the editors charged with seeing Mr. Gregory’s article through to publication thought to take a few seconds to take his little Google challenge before presenting it to the world.
I have yet to see evidence that even a single person on AVFM’s “staff” has any understanding whatsoever as to how journalism — or, really, anything — is supposed to work.