Sam Sewell, on his blog The Steady Drip, publishes his letter to the Editor at Pravda Online in an article titled: Pravda Eligibility Articles – Google now has their site listed as an attack site. Sewell wrote:
Bad news. Google now has your site listed as an attack site. My guess is that Obots falsely reported malware attacks coming from your site and Google took action….
I use the Firefox browser, which has a direct interface with Google that displays warning messages whenever I attempt to visit a site on Google’s malware list. I never saw any warnings during my several visits to anti-Obama eligibility articles while writing my story Berg thanks Pravda. Of course Sewell provides no screen shots, hyperlinks or evidence of any kind by which the skeptical reader could follow up the claim.
We follow up claims here, and it appears that this story one of those Farah-like sleight of hand ones where the reader is expected to come away thinking something the article didn’t really say. Sewell’s article never says that all of Pravda.ru was listed as malicious by Google, nor does he say that his article resulted in Google warning messages. However, since his letter to the editor is full of text about Obama’s eligibility, the reader just might infer that his article was the target of Obot attacks. He never claims that Pravda.ru was listed as an attack site because of Obot complaints, he only “guesses” so. A moments consideration shows Google couldn’t work that way, since anyone could be “taken off the air” by malcontents.
It is true that Google has listed parts of Pravda.ru as hosting malware over the last 90 days (although not currently). According to Google, this was because scans of the site (not user complaints) found specific malware that infected a test machine, triggering the warning. For a report of what Google found, refer to the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for http://english.pravda.ru.
The parts of the Pravda.ru site where the article, the putative writing of Sam Sewell himself, appear were never listed. That article is: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/feedback/17-09-2010/114965-obama_birth_certificate-0/. The Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/feedback shows that it has not been listed in the past 90 days. Some historical Obama eligibility articles were in the Pravda.ru section infected with malware and briefly listed by Google (as best I can tell only on September 19th and 20th because I didn’t see alerts when I wrote my article on the 18th, and Google says the site tested clean on the 20th). By the time Sam Sewell published his article (September 21) Google had already found that Pravda.ru tested clean.
Note: Sam Sewell’s blog, The Steady Drip, is hosted by Google.
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