Santorum has asked Google to filter offensive results from searches on his name. But according to a Google spokesperson, "Google’s search results are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Web. Users who want content removed from the Internet should contact the webmaster of the page directly.”
Pro-family activist Peter LaBarbera on Thursday appealed to Mr. Savage to take down the site. The columnist responded via the Politico.com website using his iPhone: "Just gonna keep doing what we've been doing since 2003.”
Paul Levinson, Fordham University professor and author of “New New Media,” says he is no apologist for the Republican presidential candidate, but he is concerned about the public trust in the functioning of the Internet.
“Satire is an important poltical tool, but this goes way beyond that because a play or a cartoon is something that people choose to view,” he says. Directing users to a website under false pretenses, however, is another thing, he notes. “I can just imagine a fourth-grader searching for Santorum for his homework and coming on this site," he says. "It is not appropriate for that search to yield material like this.”
Santorum's Google problem does bring up some serious ethical issues, says Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. “Abusing the search privilege is a form of Internet fraud and compromises the integrity of the Internet as a whole. As such, it is a potentially serious problem for all users of the Internet.”