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Santorum claims his ‘filthy’ Google results ‘have an impact on the country’

By Kase Wickman
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 16:06 EDT
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum no doubt dislikes that he isn’t topping any recent polls of the 2012 field, but he may dislike the thing that tops search results of his name even more. And now, he’s asking search giant Google to do something about it.

Sex columnist Dan Savage famously campaigned to redefine the then-senator’s name in 2003. Nearly a decade later, the effects of Savage’s prank remain: the top Google result for “santorum” is spreadingsantorum.com, which defines “santorum” as “the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. 2. Senator Rick Santorum.”

In a Tuesday interview with Politico, Santorum revealed that he had asked Google to fix the persistent Google bomb, and theorized that the company harbored an agenda against him.

“I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they’d get rid of it,” Santorum said. “If you’re a responsible business, you don’t let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country.”

“To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can’t handle but I suspect that’s not true.”

However, Danny Sullivan, editor of search engine news site SearchEngineLand, told Talking Points Memo that there was nothing Google could do about the search result. Because Savage and his cohorts actually created a new definition for “santorum” and put it into use, as opposed to merely tricking an algorithm to confuse search results, Savage’s prank counts as a true result.

“At his point there’s nobody who could not argue [Savage’s definition of santorum] is not a definition in a lot of quarters,” Sullivan said. “So for him to say Google could get rid of it would be like him saying, ‘I don’t like the word unicorn and I think that that definition should go away.’”

“They’d have to go in and de-rank [the Savage] website, which would be saying that website is not relevant — which of course it is.”

In July, Savage threatened to also redefine Santorum’s first name, Rick, if he used his presidential campaign to again promote discrimination against gay people.

In a June interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Santorum said that things like the Google bomb “come with the territory.”

He didn’t mention contacting Google prior to today.

“There are foul people out there who do horrible things,” Santorum said. “It’s unfortunate some people thought it would be a big joke to make fun of my name. But that comes with the territory.”

[Edited after publication to add information.]

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
 
 
 
 
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