What do a phony Ranger and Google have in common?

So I'm sitting on my couch tonight doing some light political reading. I mosey on over to Little Green Footballs and find an article about a young man named Jessie Macbeth, who apparently served as an Army Ranger for 16 months in Afghanistan/Iraq. Ok, no biggie there. But people are saying the 20 minute video he posted of himself basically admitting to war crimes (sound familiar?) is full of questionable things and REAL military people aren't buying his story.

Ok, so I read some commentary and other blogs talking about this apparent phony. I decide to do a little research myself. So I do a google for this exact search: "jessie macbeth" iraq

Immediately I get literally dozens of sites, mostly from left leaning blogs who at one point posted a link to the YouTube entry for this video and/or the main website hosting it (peacefilms.org), which is what I expected. So I notice from some other commentary sites that many of the sites hosting this video are starting to pull the video. Not uncommon in political snafus like this, nobody wants to be caught supporting a phony.

So I decide to start a little list of the biggest blogs that did a post on this guy, and I quickly realize that I don't have the Google Notebook plugin installed on my laptop because I recently re-installed the OS. So, I install the plugin for Firefox, close down the browser completely, then restart it. I go back and run the SAME search: "jessie macbeth" iraq. Only now, the results of that search look like this:

Google search

That's right, one stinking link to a french site that needs translating.  Now I know this wasn't what was returned just a few minutes ago.  For dyingwarriors_blogspot_com_screenshot.png socialalternative_org_screenshot.pngone, I had already gone to the posts of SocialistAlternative.org and DyningWarriors.blogspot.com.  Secondarily, I just remember looking at the results thinking "wow, a lot of people bought into this", which also prompted me to want to use the Google Notebook feature to keep track of links as I went through and grabbed screenshots of each.

Anyway, I'm no conspiracy theorist….but for the life of me I cannot figure out where all the results of that search went? I would say that the search metrics in Google's algorithm were changed (as it was around midnight central time when the "odd behavior" occurred), however I just don't see how searching on two items, one an exact phrase could be changed so much in just a few minutes.


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