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Zephyr Teachout: Google Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism

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By    |   Thursday, 31 Aug 2017 12:55 PM

Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, is blasting Google, calling it a "thin-skinned tyrant."

Teachout, who once ran for New York governor, made her comments in a column for The Washington Post on Wednesday.

"And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power," she said. "It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent."

Teachout noted she had been part of the Open Markets team, a group of researchers and journalists, at the New America think tank.

"When the European Union fined Google for preferring its own subsidiary companies to its rival companies in search results, it was natural that Open Markets, a group dedicated to studying and exposing distortions in markets, including monopoly power, would comment," she said.

Teachout said researchers put out a statement praising the E.U.'s actions.

"They wrote, 'By requiring that Google give equal treatment to rival services instead of privileging its own, (the E.U.) is protecting the free flow of information and commerce upon which all democracies depend,'" she said.

But Teachout said Google had been funding New America for years.

And within 24 hours of the release of the statement, she said Google representatives called New America's top officials to express displeasure.

She claimed two planned hires for the Open Markets team suddenly were canceled and the head of the Open Markets team, "the accomplished journalist Barry C. Lynn, received a letter from the head of the think tank, demanding that the entire team leave New America."

"The reason? The statement praising the E.U.'s decision against Google was, according to New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter, "imperiling the institution."

But it is noted in her column that Slaughter has denounced the story as false and maintained that Lynn was dismissed for failures of "openness" and "collegiality."

Teachout said Google had committed itself to the motto: "Don't be evil" when it was founded in 1998.

"It appears that Google may have lost sight of what being evil means, in the way that most monarchs do: Once you reach a pinnacle of power, you start to believe that any threats to your authority are themselves villainous and that you are entitled to shut down dissent," she said.

And, she added: "Google is "monopolist in search, video, maps and browser, and a thin-skinned tyrant when it comes to ideas."

"Google's actions forced the Open Markets team to leave New America," she said. "But, thankfully, it did not succeed in silencing them entirely. Open Markets will continue on as a separate organization, which I will chair.

"Their work exposing corporate monopolies and advocating for regulation is more important than ever. Google shows us why."

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Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, is blasting Google, calling it a "thin-skinned tyrant."
google, journalism, academia
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2017-55-31
Thursday, 31 Aug 2017 12:55 PM
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