I have a hard time buying into a lot of the conspiracy theories involving online media (I do believe traditional media is engaging in a practice of deliberately skewed reporting of current events, but that's another rant for another day). Having said that, Google et. al. have stepped out on that slippery slope in agreeing to censure online speech as the ante for doing business in China. If Google is willing to censor speech in China, one has to at least consider the proposition that Google agreed to censor speech about China anywhere as part of the deal and they just aren't telling anyone.
Typically, large companies can never really pull off these nefarious activities because it takes too many people to actually execute on them. But in the case of Google I could believe that a small inner circle could effect these changes in their search engine and cache without it leaking out that they are doing it, but a reasonable person would argue that the risk to the company as a whole would be enormous if there was truth to the conspiracy theory and Google got caught. Not only would their public image get shredded, they would most certainly invite all sorts of unwanted regulatory attention. That said, while there may be anecdotal evidence that Google is engaged in some kind of censoring activity I find it hard to believe that any of the company executives would risk the company by agreeing to do it.
Groupthink :: Google Purges The People's Cube Worldwide At some point, quite recently, our popular site "The People's Cube" (ThePeoplesCube.com) was purged from Google search results. MSN , Yahoo and other search engines still have it – but Google has erased/blocked any link to the site in its database.
Link via LGF
UPDATE: corrected a spelling error thanks to a attentive reader. I have been using this really cool spell checking app (hold the wisecracks, I know it's a long overdue move on my part) and it apparently throught it cool to replace "censor" with "censure", at least that's my story and I am sticking with it.