Congress Asked To Investigate Google/New America Story

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Cites Times story that scholar was canned after criticizing major donor

 

The Content Creators Coalition has called on Congress to investigate Google in the wake of a New York Times story that the New America Foundation—Google is a big donor—canned a scholar and his Open Markets initiative after he praised a European Union penalty levied against Google. New America, a think tank whose funders include major computer companies, said the story just isn’t true.

In the wake of the story, New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter, who the story said had told scholar Barry Lynn that he was out, tweeted this strong denial:

In that statement, which was later tweeted from New America, Slaughter said that spinning off the program had been in the works for a couple of months and that that and firing Lynn were based on Lynn’s “repeated refusal to adhere to New America’s standards of openness and institutional collegiality.”

But the Content Creators Coalition, which has long argued that Google wields untoward power over what content gets noticed, called the story a “bombshell,” and said Congress needed to step in.

“Google’s efforts to monopolize civil society in support of the company’s balance-sheet-driven agenda is as dangerous as it is wrong,” the group said. “The American public deserve to know the depths of Google’s efforts to secretly distort policy debates, which is why Congress should open investigations into this matter and the anti-trust subcommittees need to schedule hearings to demand answers.”

“News today that the New America Foundation shut down its Open Markets unit after the group expressed support of European antitrust enforcement action against Internet giant Google shows how Washington think tanks live in fear of incurring Google’s ire and losing their funding,” Consumer Watchdog said of the New York Times story.

Consumer Watchdog said it has experience with running up against the ire of Google, which signaled to a funding group that giving a grant to Consumer Watchdog might not be the best use of its money, according to an e-mail chain supplied by the group.

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