After an ad seeking new recruits for the Los Angeles Police Department showed up on controversial right-wing website Breitbart News last weekend, police and city officials scrambled for answers as to how they came to advertise on a platform that’s long been criticized for its inflammatory content. Now, LAPD Chief Michael Moore says they’ve got one—Google did it.
On Tuesday, Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners that the ad was part of a $3,000 Google ad buy by the city’s Department of Personnel, and that the LAPD was suspending all Google ads because the company’s filters failed to stop the posting from landing on a site not authorized by the LAPD, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Of course, companies can choose their own keywords and phrases to help steer their ads toward their intended audiences, and they can also disqualify sites where they do not want their ads appearing, but it seems Moore may not have the tightest grasp on this technology.
When Moore initially tried to explain how the ad—featuring a woman in an LAPD uniform overlaid with the words, “Choose Your Future. LAPD is Hiring!”—ended up on Breitbart in the first place Saturday, it seemed he was unclear on the facts of the situation.
“Senior leadership at LA City Personnel Department also relayed they did not authorize or pay for this ad either,” he tweeted. “Both Depts investigating whether spoof/other effort to discredit LAPD”
No. LAPD did NOT purchase or otherwise acquire ad space on that website.
Senior leadership at LA City Personnel Department also relayed they did not authorize or pay for this ad either.
Both Depts s investigating whether spoof/other effort to discredit LAPD https://t.co/FJfMyx19DT
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) September 28, 2019
Moore said Tuesday that his department, “Recognizes and shares the public’s concerns,” adding, “Those ads were directed to sites that were not selected by the LAPD or the Personnel Department. The lack of tight controls created the issue at hand.”
Breitbart posted an article today saying the LAPD had “smeared” the site and that department officials refused to speak on the record with its writers, adding, “Breitbart maintains a newsroom staff that is more diverse than many mainstream media outlets. Women and minorities serve in key editorial roles at Breitbart.”
As for Moore’s explanation, not everyone at Tuesday’s meeting was impressed.
Cue Jn-Marie, pastor of the Church Without Walls on skid row, told the Times, “We know that Breitbart is not just about a site. We know algorithms determine where they target based on philosophies.”
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