It’s Not Just New America. Right-Leaning Think Tanks Shill For Google Too.
A New York Times report has raised eyebrows about Google’s influence on think tanks like the New America Foundation.
The truth is that Google-flexing is not limited to the New America Foundation. Right-leaning think tanks appear just as eager to shill on Google’s behalf.
The three biggest conservative think tanks, AEI, Cato, and Heritage, all receive funding from Google. AEI and CATO have “Google Policy Fellows” (Source: https://www.google.com/publicpolicy/transparency.html )
All three have recently defended Google against antitrust enforcement.
- Cato Institute: August 7 = There Is No Justification for Regulating Online Giants as If They Were Public Utilities. This post attacks Steve Bannon’s public utility idea, denies that Google is a natural monopoly, and attacks EU’s antitrust judgment against Google.
- AEI: August 3 , Are tech firms too big to let live? This post argues that attacks on Google are really “Attacks on their consumers.” Note the disclosure at bottom, that author was a past consultant for Google.
- Heritage: June 28, The European Commission Just Fined Google $2.7 Billion. Such Foreign Antitrust Attacks Threaten US Innovation and Prosperity. The title speaks for itself.
This is par for the course. Here are additional examples:
- CATO: Google’s Search “Monopoly” — Google Isn’t Evil
- AEI: Google: An example of success in a free market — Google Didn’t Kowtow and Neither Should You
- Heritage: Google It: Privacy Advocates Wrong About Gmail — Google v. Microsoft: Trustbusters Not Needed
Other right-leaning think tanks that have received Google funding also push Google’s agenda on antitrust. These include:
- Competitive Enterprise Institute: CEI Calls European Union Ruling and Fine in Antitrust Case Against Google “Flawed”
- Mercatus: FTC Will Have Difficulty Proving Google is a Harm
- R Street Institute: Time for a reset breath on tech antitrust
Also of note, CATO is also more or less defending Google and Big Tech on James Damore and censorship.
- Aug 19: So, Just How Guaranteed Is Your Freedom of Speech Online?, Aug 19 (“PayPal and Google are private corporations, not the government. Moreover, in our nation businesses usually have no obligation to serve others if they do not wish to do so. That too is part of the free market.”)
- Aug 9: Legal Background Might Have Shaped Incentives for Google In Memo Case — “don’t assume Google acted unusually. Under current legal incentives, what just happened counts as normal.” This is a semi-legitimate point about anti-discrimination laws, but let’s google 100% off the hook for Damore. Also under the most draconian Hostile Environment law, failure to fire Damore would not make Google liable.
All of this points to the pay-to-play corruption of the DC think tank world. It also points to Google’s growing ambition in shaping American political discourse, particularly in the wake of Google firing James Damore and soft-censoring rightwing YouTube videos. The company is likely to face a backlash. Demands for regulating Google are already on the rise.