News websites are some of the most powerful online presences, due to the fact that Google respects their promise to vet correct information and present it in a way that informs the public about current events. Once a web presence has been approved as a "news source" by Google, the individual content pieces on that site are presented in searches for associated phrases and terms contained within the article. Additionally, the rankings of these particular articles for associated search phrases are generally higher than pieces from content sources that are not considered "news" by Google. The danger of this situation is the ability for these "news sources" to create content that ranks very highly for phrases that are being searched, without necessarily having any actual facts behind the story that was presented. If the news outlet does not consistently create fiction and thus lose their credibility with Google, then everything that is presented under the url of the website is considered "news" and will rank on the search engine. This can be especially problematic when dealing with sources from outside of the United States or Europe, where the presentation of "news" may be being controlled and influenced by the government, paid reporters or "less than reputable" sources. Google presents the results of searches worldwide, and without an individual vetting the news source themselves, the headlines of opinions, conjecture and falsehoods that are presented on these sources can easily be misconstrued as truth simply by the assumption that the story ranks on the first page of Google, and the url looks like a genuine news source.
Take the example of Channel5Belize.com, a seemingly reputable source of news in the country of Belize. The website is an aggregation of stories that are presented on Channel 5 News in Belize, and the website itself has been online since 1997 being run by a production group named Great Belize Productions. The website itself is quite deep, presenting thousands of news stories over the years that inform the people of Belize about current events. If a person searching for something specific associated with the country of Belize was to find an article from this source in the results, there is a great chance they would believe the information as credible.
On July 26, 2013 Channel5Belize.com posted a story in it's "People and Places" section called "A scam with accompanying articles and videos about Belize" in which a company named Handels Securities Ltd. (which is operated by an international businessman named Lord Neil B Gibson) is called into question as far as legitimacy through the use of quite negative terms and conjecture. From the article, "Have you heard of Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson? News Five has never heard of him either until today. But according to his website lordneilbgibson.com, he is one of the largest investors of projects in Belize. He’s taking part in housing schemes, building renewable energy facilities, in fact he’s practically taking over all our energy needs. The only problem is that Lord Gibson is a fraud."
This is obviously not "news" and would fall squarely into the "opinion" section within any western news source, however the presentation standards within the country of Belize obviously lacking as they present these types of stories without noting that it is "simply opinion" in any form. The articles are actually written without authorship credits or biographies as to the source of the information as well. Intelligent people reading the story would understand quickly that there have been no facts presented and the piece is obviously simple slander directed towards Lord Neil Gibson by someone who doesn't like him and wants to do damage. The problem is that most people would read nothing more than the headline on Google News as assume the article to be true.
When researched, the truth behind the actual dealings within the country of Belize and Lord Neil Gibson are easy to verify. For example, on Feb 16 of this year Lord Neil B Gibson and Handels Securities Ltd. were listed as Platinum Sponsors at "A Gala To Benefit The Children Of Belize" in Washington D.C., the event itself being put on by the First Lady Of Belize Kim Simplis Barrow and her foundation "The Inspiration Center." Neil Gibson and his wife Tammy, as well as Handels Securities Limited were clearly listed as sponsors of this event, as well as providing a substantial contribution gift toward the auction that accompanied the proceedings. The documentation regarding this information can be found at http://lordneilbenjamingibson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BELIZE-EVENT.pdf and http://lordneilbenjamingibson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BELIZE-10-K-DONATION0001.pdf
There are many other online sources of content that further substantiate the proof that Lord Neil Gibson was dealing closely with the Belize government and it's officials in order to create development projects in the area. There are many sources that provide legitimate online news, and who can be trusted as actual sources of facts. It is disturbing that a single reporter can do so much damage to the reputation of a person by simply presenting obvious untruths within a source that has earned a reputation by Google as credible.
The final lesson to be learned from examples like this one are to not believe everything that is presented on the internet, as there are those who understand how to appear as legitimate through manipulation of Google, and not through actual facts. Channel 5 has never heard of Neil Gibson? That is very interesting because the Prime Minister of Belize has, and so has his wife.