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Now Google Says The FCC Doesn’t Suck

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Andrew McLaughlin, senior policy counsel with everyone’s favorite search advertising company, claims he was horribly misquoted by a Light Reading reporter who gave lots of writers a great headline.

Yep, you can include WebProNews in that group of publications gleefully recounting the passage from McLaughlin. But Light Reading’s editorial update to the article indicates the publication is standing by Sullivan’s report:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original headline of this story was changed because it didn’t reflect the full context of the remark made by Google’s representative. The story itself, however, has not been changed.


Here are the two paragraphs that we quoted from that report on March 14th:

But even with that looming, Google general counsel Andrew McLaughlin says many in Washington would rather not get the FCC involved in the Internet at all. “The FCC sucks,” Mclaughlin says. “Why would you want the FCC to get involved in anything? Its track record is pretty bad when it comes to processes and outcomes.”

After his statements, Mclaughlin made it clear he was expressing the views of others in Washington who are not convinced there is a need for regulating the Internet.


Now McLaughlin claims he was misquoted. Did this revelation come the next day, with extensive follow-up by Google’s PR team contacting writers who picked up on the quote?

Nope. Unless one reads the blog of Business 2.0 senior writer Om Malik, the whole misquote kerfuffle will have been missed.

McLaughlin posted a response to Malik’s initial post about the delightful quote, and in the interest of fairness we’ll reproduce it here:

Hi, this is Andrew McLaughlin. I know you’re going to find this shocking – journalists always report things accurately, after all – but I didn’t say that the FCC sucks. Rather, the opposite. What I did at the VON panel was list the 5 top arguments of libertarian opponents of Net Neutrality. Number 5 on that list: The FCC sucks, and can’t be trusted to regulate in a lighthanded way. Note: Not my argument. Rather, that’s the other side’s argument, and the one that has to be addressed by proponents of Net Neutrality (like me!). I even later joked about the inevitability of being misquoted. And yes, sure enough.

Someone who saw the panel compared this bit of journalism to the story about the guy who is getting beat up by the goon squad for being a Communist. He says, “But I’m not a Communist, I’m an Anti-Communist.” The head goon says, “I don’t care what kind of Communist you are,” as they continue the beating.


See, McLaughlin didn’t give the FCC the verbal backhand across the kisser after all. He was horribly misquoted!

Wasn’t he? Read the two paragraphs written by Sullivan again. He specifically said “McLaughlin made it clear he was expressing the views of others in Washington.”

Sullivan did get McLaughlin’s title wrong though, calling him “general counsel” instead of “senior policy counsel.” Oh no! What’s going to happen next?

A libel suit?
A call for a special prosecutor and 12 weeks in jail for Sullivan?
Crossed swords at dawn near the tennis court situated near the stables of the Luxembourg?
A complete overhaul of Google’s PR efforts culminating in their being outsourced to Waggener Edstrom a la Microsoft?

We may never know. Maybe we should find out if Sullivan is any good with the rapier.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Now Google Says The FCC Doesn’t Suck
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