So says the SF Chronicle, ie the world’s best newspaper. But of course they have to be “balanced,” so right up top they punch in two opposing quotes. First there’s the “yes they’re evil” quote from Rob “I don’t always work for Microsoft, just most of the time” Enderle, and then the “no they’re not, nah nah” quote from Jeff “I don’t make all of my money off Google, just most of it” Jarvis. Then, once they’ve dispensed with the need to pretend not to be biased, they lay out the laundry list: Google Books; not disclosing conflicts of interest; privacy issues; censorship in China; dominating online advertising; hurting old media companies.
Deep breath: Okay, the story sucks. For one thing, it’s many years late — I mean you are just now waking up to the fact that Google is evil? Um, okay.
But moreover, the story is yet another example of why people are dumping newspapers faster than Tiger Woods can zip up his pants and run out of your sister’s apartment. Because here’s what happened. Some hack had an idea and went to his editor with it: Hey, you know, Google says “Don’t be evil,” but you know what? They really are kind of the new evil empire, aren’t they?
Editor says, Okay, let’s do it, but whatever you do, don’t just fucking say that! Jesus! You’ll get us all killed!
Hack says, So what do we do? Editor says, Let’s find other person who will say Google is evil, and we’ll quote him. See? But then make sure you find other people who say that the first guy is full of shit. So that way when someone reads the article they won’t know what the fuck to think. Is Google evil? Yes, absolutely. But no, not at all. This, my son, is how you stay relevant in the fast-moving world of information — by publishing
pointless stories that don’t reach any conclusion er, deep insightful analysis that lets people make sense of the world around them. Let those noisy blogs dig for dirt and revel in gossip and sling their slanted “news” — meanwhile, we’ll be here, giving people quality journalism they can trust. Also: the blogs are just stealing from us, and what will they do when we go out of business? Where will they get their information.
Well done, SF Chronicle. I smell a Pulitzer. They’ll have it waiting for you at the funeral home.