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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2007-10-16 13:43
Moveon.org and Google appear to be to back-pedaling from their conspiracy of last week to block the political free speech of a U.S. Senator up for reelection.
- Moveon.org/Google continue to show how connected they are at the hip, by choosing an obviously-coordinated PR damage-control move to explain their point of view to a friendly media outlet -- Wired -- "Moveon.org reverses, allows critical ads on Google."
- The Wired article title belies their close political ties -- Moveon.org "allows" critical ads on Google -- implying that Google has delegated its editorial function to Moveon.org.
Moveon.org claims that "When we became aware of all the controversy around it, we opted out."
- Why did Moveon.org proactively do it in the first place and why did it take a week to come clean?
- Why did it take public controversy for Moveon.org to stop conspiring with Google to block free speech?
- Why not issue a press release so that Moveon.org's reversal would be widely and forthrightly known?
- Why not include a real apology to Senator Collins, an admission of error, a pledge not to do it again and make policy changes so it won't happen again?
Most interesting is Moveon.org's outrageously hypocritical defense of its actions in the Wired article:
- "...we don't want anyone using our name or logo in a way that would harm our members or our mission."
- Remember recently Moveon.org clearly had no compunction misusing the name and logo of U.S. General Patraeus when it ran an a New York Times full page ad saying: "General Betray-us"?
- Did Moveon.org give any thought to how their actions might "harm" the members of the military or their "mission"?
As for Google, the Wired article also quotes Pablo Chavez, Google's public policy Counsel, as saying that the allegation that Google makes "decisions about advertising content based on the political viewpoint of the advertiser of the ad... This is simply not true."
- If this latest assertion by Google was true, why does the Wired article assert that Google's advertising policy "far exceeds the requirements of trademark law"?
- Moreover, why is the Washington Examiner running another editorial which "questioned why Google would suppress an ad at the apparent request of Moveon.org, yet allow ads critical of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, WalMart and Microsoft"?
It is clear that Google needs to make a clear public statement available to all the press:
- explaining the apparent contradictions in its application of its policies concerning free speech censorship;
- explaining why it took a week and counting to for Google to acknowledge the problem and to actually fix it;
- (Google claims to have stopped blocking the anti-Moveon.org ads, but since the ads are already in the Google system, and Google says they are now allowing them, why are they not back up now? -- I just checked and they are not available as of this posting.)
- offering an apology, an explanation how the error occurred, a pledge not to repeat it and a commitment that policies and procedures have been corrected so this type of free speech censorship does not occur again.
Bottom line:If Moveon.org and Google are sincere about protecting free speech why don't they independently stand up and do the honest and right thing? Be open. Take responsibility. Be accountable. Act in a manner worthy of trust.
- Isn't the coverup often worse than the original offense?