Politics

Conservative Consumer Group Blasts Google for Netroots Sponsorship

Search engine sponsors left wing confab but not conservative equivalents

Google / AP

Google is coming under fire from the conservative shopping app "2nd Vote" for co-sponsoring the left-leaning Netroots Nation conference this week.

2nd Vote, a conservative app that rates companies based on their political activities to help guide users’ purchases, blasted the search engine giant for "funding unabashed liberal activities" and failing to show "ideological balance" in its political activities.

Google is a sponsor of the Netroots Nation conference along with Facebook, Ready for Hillary, and a host of left-leaning advocacy groups. The conference opened on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

The annual progressive gathering is featuring top Democratic officials, as well as far-left activists and anti-Israel speakers who have accused Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) of dual-loyalty and described Israelis as "murderers" who engage in "Apartheid."

Panels at the event include "Climate Justice Against Koch's Tar Sands From Detroit To New York" and "Headline Risk And Social Cost: Hitting The 1% Where It Hurts."

"Netroots is basically like a left wing family reunion," said 2nd Vote executive director Chris Walker. "But there isn’t that same consistency [in Google’s funding] when it comes to [conservative] groups like Heritage or CPAC."

While Facebook also cosponsored this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Google did not.

The search engine did partner with CPAC in 2012, prompting progressive activists to launch an online petition against the company. The petition demanded that Google repudiate the views of controversial speakers and "publicly pledge to donate $20,000 to causes that promote tolerance and equality."

Google has not cosponsored CPAC since 2012.

2nd Vote said conservatives could also object to Google’s political activities by choosing to use competitor search engines that receive higher ratings for ideological balance from the app.

"Yahoo is not sponsoring Netroots, so it’s an easy switch to find another search engine real fast, and say ‘I don’t appreciate when I’m spending money at Google or click-throughs on ads, and then it goes and get used on Netroots," said Walker.

"If you’re a search engine company, be a search engine company. Why engage in ideological activities too? Conservatives are a large part of their users."

Google did not respond to request for comment.

The search engine is not the only Netroots Nation cosponsor under scrutiny this week. Ready for Hillary, a pro-Hillary Clinton PAC, also partnered with the conference, although the former secretary of state and likely 2016 Democratic frontrunner will not attend.

Despite Ready for Hillary’s high-profile presence, reports indicated that Netroots attendees were more interested in another prospective presidential candidate—progressive firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.).

Warren’s speech at the conference was greeted with chants of "run Liz, run!" according to reports, and a new group called "Ready for Warren" debuted with a music video promoting the Massachusetts senator.

Vice President Joe Biden, another rumored 2016 candidate, also spoke at the event on Thursday.

Clinton has not attended a Netroots conference since 2007, when attendees booed her.