Google Responds to Wall Street Journal Allegations, About their White House Visits

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In a blog post on Google’s Public Policy Blog, Rachel Whetstone who is Google’s Senior Vice-President of Communications and Policy, took a chance to fight back against the Wall Street Journal for allegations raised by the publication concerning a Federal Trade Commission investigation. Whetstone stated that they wanted to  give their side of the story to clear the many inaccuracies published in the Journal.

Earlier in the week, The Wall Street Journal accused Google of making frequent trips to the White House during the time of an anti-trust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The Journal stated that members of Google had visited the White House some 230 times during President Obama’s tenure as President of the United States. Google says that those numbers are not true and are in fact misleading. They cite that 33 of those visits were by people who, at the time, were not even employed yet by Google, or who were former employees. In any case, they were not there to represent Google in any capacity. They then credit 5 of those visits as a Google engineer who was there to fix issues with the Healthcare.gov website noting that the employee has been very vocal as to the reason for their visit. Google has also stated that there have been several visits to make the YouTube interviews after the State of the Union address, as well as other projects for public viewing. They also noted that Microsoft, who was one of the complainants in the Federal Trade Commission investigation, has been to the White House 270 times and noted that Comcast had been there 150 times. The Journal had stated that Comcast has only visited just 20. Google made sure to note that none of these meetings involved discussion concerning the allegations against them, but rather to talk about various other topics such as internet technology, policy, security, and other innovations.

Google also took a chance to point out several mistakes in the Wall Street Journal report, noting that the Journal had left out a few facts in its reporting. One such mistake as pointed out by Google was that the Journal reported that the Bureau of Competition had drawn conclusions that were in contrast to the FTC commissioners conclusion, but that rather they were in “accord” with the unanimous decision by the Commission as well as the Bureau of Economics and the Office of General Counsel. This was a fact that according to Google’s blog was not mentioned by the Journal.

This feud has been going on for some time now. The two have shared blows before over European anti-trust issues. Google’s response this time, as before was very tongue-in-cheek, and complete with animated gifs. So things may be heating up again between the two. We will have to wait and see if the Wall Street Journal replies to Google’s poignant, yet off-the-wall comments.