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December 12, 2018

Shocker: Google Funding "Conservatives" Who Then Write Articles Defending Google, Which Are Then Cited by Google as Arguments Not to Regulate Google or Treat It as a Monopoly

Muh Private Googles Monopoly.

All your suspicions are true.

At Wired:


In February, The New York Times Magazine published a cover story urging regulators to break up Google because the company abuses its dominance in search to crush promising competitors. The next day, representatives from two conservative think tanks published blog posts defending Google and attacking the article's call for antitrust enforcement. Both think tanks have received funding from Google. Both blog posts referenced studies by a professor who has received funding from Google. In one post, the study referenced was published in a quarterly journal owned by third think tank, which has also received funding from Google.

In a company-wide meeting a couple of weeks later, on March 1, Google's public policy team described the blog posts as the fruit of Google's efforts to build deeper relationships with conservatives, according to an audio recording of the meeting reviewed by WIRED. The recording of a contentious hour-long meeting offers a window into how Google thinks about its relationships in Washington, DC, its sensitivity to claims of political bias, and how executives explain to employees actions that some view as at odds with Google's values.

The meeting was led by Google's US director of public policy, Adam Kovacevich, who explained that the company had to adjust its government-relations strategy after Donald Trump was elected, particularly since Republicans also control the House and Senate. "I think one of the directives we've gotten very clearly from Sundar [Pichai, Google's CEO], his leadership is to build deeper relationships with conservatives," Kovacevich said. "I think we've recognized that the company is generally seen as liberal by policymakers."


The company wide-meeting, portions of which were previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, occurred shortly after Google was among the sponsors of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where speakers included white nationalists and conspiracy theorists. At the conference, Google held an invite-only reception, which Kovacevich said "built a lot of good will" among conservatives, and "tangible outcome[s]" like the two blog posts defending Google.

"Just to give you an example, last weekend The New York Times Magazine cover story was all about breaking up Google," Kovacevich said. “Among the people who wrote op-eds and blog posts rebutting that Times piece were two conservative think-tank officials who we work with closely--one from the American Enterprise Institute and one from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who both attended [the reception]."

He explained that the "crush phase" of the public's attitude towards Monster Tech was over, and that people might start talking about enforcing the actual law that is on the books regarding monopolies, which is what Google undeniably is -- in case you didn't know, antitrust law does not apply only to true monopolies, where there is literally not a single competitor, but to near-monopolies, where the company has 85% or more dominance.

Google's market share of the search industry? 90%.

If "conservatives" want to change antitrust law, then they should change antitrust law.

But they must not be permitted to pretend it doesn't exist and simply argue for nonenforcement of the law, as Obama did with DACA.

Are we a nation of laws or a nation of corporate interests who pay "conservatives" a lot of money to see those interests advanced, largely behind the scenes?

Funny how these TruCons are so very selective about what Eternal Conservative Principles they are actually willing to defend.

James Pethokoukis, author of the AEI post, told WIRED he hasn't been at CPAC in years and denied being influenced by anyone at AEI about what to write. CEI says it "consistently" opposes enforcement of on-the-books antitrust law.

AEI itself did not respond, nor did the scholar whose "studies" Google quoted in support of itself.

Maybe we can ask Jonah Goldberg to give them a ring-a-ding. He sits in AEI's "Asnet Chair for the Promotion of Conservative Conservation Concerns" or whatever. Maybe the Asnet Chair for Freedom, Eagles, Liberty and Freedom.

Kovacevich also spoke about Google's efforts to "water down" two bills Google opposed which would make Tech Monsters liable for lawsuit in sex-trafficking and child porn cases in which their services had been used to conduct the business, SESTA and FOSTA.

He spoke very highly of Representative Bob Goodlatte:

He said negotiations over the bill showed how Google sometimes works with people who do not "align 100 percent with our views." He pointed to Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), whom he called "one of our most helpful champions" on protecting internet companies.

Aw, Monster Tech really needs your help being protected from lawsuits that no one else in the country is protected from, Bobby.

Thank you for your service. Whoever it is you actually serve.

More on this subject later today.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 04:42 PM

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