Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media
Google CEO Eric Schmidt informed everyone on the line -- all us media types -- that virtually none of what we had written and said about Verizon and Google's "closed-door negotiations" and potential business deal last week was accurate. (See Free Press Fears Verizon/Google and FCC Mutes Closed-Door Net Neutrality Talks.)
"We love sophisticated criticism, by the way," snided Schmidt, "We'd like it to be on what we actually announced today, versus what you read last week, which was erroneous."
Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg got even more personal. In response to a question from a New York Times reporter seeking an example of a new specialized service that would be delivered separately from the public Internet, Seidenberg prefaced his example by saying he was quite certain anything he would suggest would immediately be "trivialized" by the press.
Clearly, one of the things fueling this love fest between Verizon and Google is a mutual loathing for coverage of their efforts to find what they consider a middle ground on net neutrality.
It's true some coverage of the issues around the idea of "protecting" the Internet from evil Internet service providers who would dare to create express lanes for those who want to deliver their content faster have been, in Seidenberg's words, trivialized or reduced to overly simple terms.
As if Verizon and Google are evil industry giants threatening to kidnap the Internet, kill innovation, and tie any would-be entrepreneurs to the railroad track as a speeding train approaches.
OK, that's way too dated a reference for this topic, but you get the picture.
The problem I have is that, while they are trying to diffuse the over-heated arguments that too often derail rational discussion of the issues behind net neutrality, Seidenberg and Schmidt are being so defensive as to trigger a new round of coverage that only fuels paranoia among the already rabid Nethead community.
This is hardly sophisticated criticism, but I thought it needed to be said.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading