Congress Asked to Investigate Google/New America Story

The Content Creators Coalition has called on Congress to investigate Google in the wake of a New York Times story that the New America Foundation—Google is a big donor—canned a scholar and his Open Markets initiative after he praised a European Union penalty levied against Google. New America, a think tank whose funders include major computer companies, said the story just isn't true.

In the wake of the story, New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter, who the story said had told scholar Barry Lynn that he was out, tweeted this strong denial:

This story is false. @Newamerica will issue statement shortly. We are proud of Open Markets work.

— Anne-Marie Slaughter (@SlaughterAM) August 30, 2017

In that statement, which was later tweeted from New America, Slaughter said that spinning off the program had been in the works for a couple of months and that that and firing Lynn were based on Lynn's "repeated refusal to adhere to New America's standards of openness and institutional collegiality."

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But the Content Creators Coalition, which has long argued that Google wields untoward power over what content gets noticed, called the story a "bombshell," and said Congress needed to step in.

"Google’s efforts to monopolize civil society in support of the company’s balance-sheet-driven agenda is as dangerous as it is wrong," the group said. "The American public deserve to know the depths of Google’s efforts to secretly distort policy debates, which is why Congress should open investigations into this matter and the anti-trust subcommittees need to schedule hearings to demand answers."

"News today that the New America Foundation shut down its Open Markets unit after the group expressed support of European antitrust enforcement action against Internet giant Google shows how Washington think tanks live in fear of incurring Google’s ire and losing their funding," Consumer Watchdog said of the New York Times story.

Consumer Watchdog said it has experience with running up against the ire of Google, which signaled to a funding group that giving a grant to Consumer Watchdog might not be the best use of its money, according to an e-mail chain supplied by the group.

Slaughter's full tweeted statement is below:

New America's Response to the New York Times:

— New America (@NewAmerica) August 30, 2017

Jessika is content engagement director of Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV. She has been with the brands in various roles since 2013. In her current role, she works primarily behind the screen, keeping an eye on the website and fixing any site bugs. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects for NextTV, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.