Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

3:55 PM -- PM It was only minutes into today's Verizon-Google press conference on net neutrality that the battle lines were drawn. (See Verizon & Google Define an 'Open Internet'.)

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

yarn 12/5/2012 | 4:27:34 PM
re: Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

The thing is that the whole NN debate has already grown past the point of rational reason for quite awhile. No matter how good or sensible the policies proposed by Verizon and Google, they will be rejected by the likes of Freepress simply because they were not involved and because this agreement renders them obsolete in one masterstroke. But prior to rejection by default, it's perhaps wise to take some time to properly review and discuss the proposal on the table and see what other network providers and other Internet ACPs think about it.

Duh! 12/5/2012 | 4:27:33 PM
re: Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

they are right to be peeved.  The New York Times story would have been an embarrassment to Fox, with its poor research, insinuations of sinister conspiracies,  and anonymous sources.   Even the question asked by this reporter smacks of 'gotcha'.  And this on a subject where the fine subtleties of the technology, law, regulation and economics determine most of the substance of public benefit or harm.   The Times' Public Editor really ought to slap this reporter upside the head.

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 4:27:33 PM
re: Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

Irrational over-reaction by the media to today's announcement? You mean something like this?



joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:27:31 PM
re: Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

That was one spiky call.

Duh! 12/5/2012 | 4:27:19 PM
re: Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

The problem is that informed and reasonable voices can't be heard over the screaming. That is the job of the press, and they're doing an awful job of it.

theschnack 12/5/2012 | 4:24:55 PM
re: Eric & Ivan Tackle the Media

Re: the kneejerkery in response to anything other than black/white "Huzzah Net Neutrality" positions....  Looks like threats to 1st Amendment (freedom of association, etc.) go beyond Net Neutrality opponents.

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