“As consumers and as citizens, I think it would be a wise move for us to try to understand better how Google works, what it does and what it hides,” author Siva Vaidhyanathan explained to CNN contributor Howard Kurtz on Sunday. “It’s a lens that chooses some things and hides other things without censoring.”

He added that America Online’s news site Huffington Post have created a model by which they can “game” Google with keywords and link farms. While it’s quite effective for them, it ultimately has the effect of drawing attention away from advertisers in the local and regional publications that essentially make up much of their content.

“The Huffington Post is a much stronger threat to local journalism and independent journalism organizations than Google is,” he said. “Google actually does nothing but help [journalists], as far as I can see.”

This video is from CNN, broadcast Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.