The first sign of trouble at the Kentucky Post Pioneer (postpioneer.com), a recent addition to Google News, is the notation found at the bottom of each article. It reads:
Our editors found this article on the site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.
What they really mean – using just one Easter weekend example – is: Our algorithm copied the entire contents of a 2014 Telluride Film Festival review of the documentary Seymour: An Introduction by Variety chief film critic Justin Chang, changed barely a word, and re-posted it as our own.
How does a robo-thief like this get added to Google News? Who knows. But trying to figure out the perpetrator(s) sent us down a rabbit hole.
The physical contact address listed – 251 Broadway, New York – is basically the entrance to City Hall Park. Strange HQ for a “breaking daily Kentucky news” site. The main menu navigation tab Writers brings up the header Our Journalists and lots of blank white space, while About Us briefly displayed just two words: sayfasi bulunamadi. A clue that this Keyser Söze of Web journalism may have come to pollute Google News by way of the Balkans.
The Kentucky Post Pioneer is one, big, ugly mess, with some evil spawn further to the east. That one is called the Connecticut Bulletin Standard Daily Gazette.