D'Souza Skeptical of Google's Pledge to Fix Search Engine Issues

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Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 01:05 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza says he is still waiting for Google to fix technical issues that were hiding results for his documentary Dinesh D'Souza's "America: Imagine a World Without Her," more than two weeks after the movie was released nationwide.

"I certainly hope this is not intentional. But how long does it take a technical company to fix a technical problem?" he told Fox News.

"We're trying to be patient, but this is making it harder for people to get accurate information about the film," he said.

At issue is technical problems encountered by people searching for the movie's show locations and times. While accurate times normally would appear after a simple search of the movie title, in the case of "America" that does not occur.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, lawyers representing D'Souza sent a letter to Google on July 7 asserting that the company was "misdirecting many users who mistakenly believed the film was not playing in theaters."

The movie takes on the issue of American exceptionalism and rebuts some negative portrayals of the nation by those on the left wing of American politics. In 2012, D'Souza produced "2016: Obama's America," a documentary that earned $33.4 million in ticket sales.

D'Souza also released a book of the similar name in June. D'Souza is also the author of the books "Obama's America" and "The Roots of Obama's Rage."

"America," which was released in theaters nationwide on July 1, enjoyed relative success in Houston and Atlanta — two of the cities selected for early release. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film grossed $39,000 over the weekend of June 27.

The letter noted the issue was "brought to your attention for correction five days ago, yet the problem persists" and requested Google provide "statistics on searches from the time the misdirection began."

A representative from Google told the trade magazine that their systems had "unfortunately confused the title of the movie America because it's a common term and appears in many movie titles," and added that they had "updated the Knowledge Graph, our database that stores this type of information, but it will take some time to display showtimes.

The Google glitch is not the only problem D'Souza has encountered with access to his book.

In a July 8 appearance on Fox News, D'Souza said the retail giant Costco was demonstrating "very bizarre behavior" when it decided to pull the book from its shelves citing poor sales.

Costco, however, quickly put the book back on the shelves and senior executives met with the author to discuss its decision and the controversy surrounding it.

D'Souza told Fox News' Megyn Kelly that he had an "eye-opening" meeting on Tuesday with Costco CEO W. Craig Jelinek and others to discuss the controversy surrounding their decision. D'Souza said that after he informed them he was not seeking anything from the company, Jelinek asserted the controversy was making Costco "look bad" and that he spent much of the last week responding personally to thousands of emails from people complaining the book was yanked.

However, he did say he believed Costco was trying to address the problem and had ordered more copies of his book.

"This is clearly a political decision that they made," because of their relationship with the Obama administration, he told Sean Hannity shortly after America disappeared from Costco shelves.

The cozy relationship between Costco and the Obama administration has not gone unnoticed.

In January, President Obama held a campaign-style event at Costco to push his proposal for an increase in the minimum wage, an appearance which Washington Post reporter Jaime Fuller was an indication of the "administration's romance with the second-largest retailer in America is stronger than ever — and might just be the most successful union of a politician and a supermarket in American history."

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