Google gets scholar who praised EU penalty fired
Think Tank funded by the tech giant toes the line
New America, a Washington-based policy think tank, which has received more than US$21 million from Google, has caved to the hand that feeds it, firing a scholar who has been critical of telecom and tech giants’ monopolistic practices.
Barry Lynn, head of a (formerly) New America initiative called Open Markets, lauded the European Union’s action to levy a record 2.42 billion euro antitrust fine on Google last June:
The Open Markets Team congratulates European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager and the European competition authority for this important decision. Google’s market power is one of the most critical challenges for competition policymakers in the world today. By requiring that Google give equal treatment to rival services instead of privileging its own, Vestager is protecting the free flow of information and commerce upon which all democracies depend. We call upon U.S. enforcers, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and states attorneys general, to build upon this important precedent, both in respect to Google and to other dominant platform monopolists including Amazon.
The New York Times reports that it didn’t take long for Lynn to pay for his disloyalty to New America’s corporate friend:
Those worries seemed to be substantiated a couple of days later, when Ms. Slaughter summoned the scholar who wrote the critical statement, Barry Lynn, to her office. He ran a New America initiative called Open Markets that has led a growing chorus of liberal criticism of the market dominance of telecom and tech giants, including Google, which is now part of a larger corporate entity known as Alphabet, for which Mr. Schmidt serves as executive chairman.
Ms. Slaughter told Mr. Lynn that “the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways,” according to an email from Ms. Slaughter to Mr. Lynn. The email suggested that the entire Open Markets team — nearly 10 full-time employees and unpaid fellows — would be exiled from New America.
The Open Markets post about the EU decision was reportedly taken down briefly before being reposted without explanation.