One of the things I’ve come to dislike about the blogosphere — not that we don’t do this outside of blogs all the time as well — is that there’s an assumption that any content that sounds like it might go against one’s political opinions isn’t just wrong in and of itself, the act of saying it at all is wrong.
In one of the latest examples, a writer for Google’s Health Advertising Blog wrote that the healthcare industry could counter Michael Moore’s Sicko, an indictment of healthcare practices in the U.S., by buying search-related ads to get their side of the argument out.
Immediate pandemonium. How dare Google take a position that seems like it might be against this great new film? Is Google evil? (Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t Be Evil,” thereby subjecting us all to a lot of bad puns and headlines over the years.)
Google clarified that they didn’t have an official position, and that it was just one of their employees writing in a blog. That’s a fairly disingenuous statement, since it’s a corporate blog, but whatever. They’re bowing to pressure.
My question is, why the turmoil? I read about this story in a lot of blogs over the past week, and the only thing I could think is that it must have been a really slow day. Google is attempting to sell ads? Ads associated with an industry we don’t agree with? Oh my gosh, it’s like they were a corporation or something!
I saw a lot of pontificating about the idea that Google should be neutral, but let’s face it…In our world “Neutral” means “Tacitly Agrees.” And that’s only going to get worse. You think there isn’t going to be any controversy as 2008 approaches over election-related search results and ads?
“Don’t Be Evil” is a cool motto, but maybe they need to nail their own 95 theses to their search results pages to let everyone know what they consider evil? 😐
Oh, by the way, I haven’t seen Sicko online yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. My mom’s worked in it for years at the low level, and I’ve had my own interesting experiences with large-scale managed care, so it should be interesting. Do I expect equal time for everyone in the system? No. Am I likely to agree with Michael Moore on everything? Hasn’t happened yet. Does that make him evil? No. Just kind of loud and enthusiastic. 🙂