Ken Auletta’s Googled"/>
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The Perennial Gale:
Ken Auletta’s Googled

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Ken Auletta
Googled: The End of the World As We Know It
New York: Penguin Press, 2009

Capitalism is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary. . . . It must be seen in its role in the perennial gale of creative destruction . . . In capitalist reality as distinguished from its textbook picture, it is not [price] competition which counts, but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization—competition which commands a decisive price or quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.

–Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942)

Most readers probably do not think of Google, Inc. as a media company—but it is one, as journalist Ken Auletta’s book makes abundantly clear. Indeed, it is one of the world’s largest corporations, generating revenue of $23.7 billion and profit of $6.5 billion in 2009.

Google ranks 355th on the 2010 Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies by revenue. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has expressed to Auletta his aspiration that Google will one day become the first $100 billion media corporation.

Auletta, the Brooklyn-born son of a Jewish mother and an Italian American father, is media columnist for The New Yorker. Originally known for Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman (1986), he has since turned to chronicling the seismic shifts shaking the mass media in numerous books and articles, including Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way (1991), about the disruptive rise of cable television.

The Internet revolution is the most wrenching of all such contemporary changes, driving literally everyone—TV and radio broadcasters, the music industry, Hollywood moviemakers, newspaper, magazine, and book publishers, and traditional ad agencies—pell-mell into a brave new world. Auletta chronicles this disruptive change in fascinating detail.

In part, Googled is the story of Google, Inc., a latecomer to the Internet revolution founded in 1998 by two Jewish Stanford University students, now multibillionaires, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. But it is also—indeed equally—the story of the old mass media caught in the midst of Schumpeter’s gale.

The Founders

Sergey Brin was born in the Soviet Union to privileged graduates of Moscow State University. (Auletta unconvincingly describes the family as “quite poor,” and victims of “anti-Semitism.”) Father Michael was an economist and mother Eugenia a civil engineer in “the renowned research lab” of the Soviet Oil and Gas Institute. Unlike Russians, when the couple wanted to leave the country, they picked up and left. The couple moved quickly into privileged positions in the United States: the father as a mathematician at the University of Maryland specializing in Riemannian geometry, the mother as a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Center.

Sergey Brin married Anne Wojciki, the half-Jewish co-founder of genetics research company 23andMe, under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) in the Bahamas in 2007. (Brin can be “very emotional” about “anti-Semitism.”) Google has invested millions of dollars in privately-held 23andMe, which accesses the most private data human beings can divulge—their DNA.

Larry Page’s mother, a computer scientist, is a practicing Jew. It is unclear whether his father, the late professor Carl V. Page, was also Jewish. At any rate, Carl “chose not to embrace a religion,” according to Auletta. Larry Page married a white woman, Lucinda Southworth, the sister of actress and model Carrie Southworth.

Page and Brin were both educated at Montessori schools.

In Auletta’s portrayal, Page comes off as somewhat strange, though possibly the smarter of the two. Yet, according to the author, the men maintain a remarkably harmonious relationship.

The End of the World? It Depends Upon Your Point of View

The displacement of old media by the new—of which Google is the symbolic and most powerful representative—is Auletta’s central theme, as indicated by his subtitle, “The End of the World as We Know It.” The author, a privileged child of the old media, is deeply disturbed by what is happening—despite his recognition that things have changed irrevocably.

However, none of it is really that new. Schumpeter’s 1942 summary describes capitalism as it has always been practiced.

For example, the advent of television had an equally disruptive effect upon “the golden age of radio” and the movie industry. But the same ethnic core—indeed, many of the same individuals—remained in charge, and nothing fundamentally changed. As with movies and radio, Gentiles were unable to establish a foothold in the new medium. The DuMont network,[1] the only non-Jewish television service, remained tiny and marginal until it went out of business.

Jews understand the importance of maintaining the choke-hold over mass communications they have had for a century, and which has been instrumental in placing global power, as well as billions of dollars, into their hands.

For whites, the economic and cultural transformations described by Auletta, wrenching as they may be for existing companies and tycoons, therefore do not represent “the end of the world as we know it.”  Due to the lopsided distribution of ethnic/ideological power and wealth, it instead represents a transition from one form of controlled media to another, or, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Google as Villain

Still, it is entertaining, cathartic even, to observe the fierce jockeying for position between new and old Jewish billionaires and their Gentile hangers-on.

As Google expanded, antagonism toward it grew. In the seething minds of the powerful, it is now almost a mild version of Microsoft. (Mild because Google is, after all, a Jewish company.)

Google began to slowly worry about a potential threat far more powerful than any [direct business] competitor: government. Google was alienating media companies, and when these companies speak, Washington listens. These companies are a major source of campaign funds and jobs; they provide the stage and microphone for elected officials. By 2005, broadcasters and telephone companies and others were raising questions about Google. Google may have been a multibillion dollar company, but it was unprepared to fight back. It had no political action committee; for a long time its only Washington presence was a one-man office located in suburban Maryland.

Google has since established a massive, well-financed lobby in the nation’s capital, and the executive troika of Page, Brin, and Schmidt (who is almost certainly white) maintain a warm personal relationship with former Vice President Al Gore, who serves as a “virtual board member” and senior adviser to the company.

Censorship

There is discussion of the company’s ludicrous motto, “Don’t be evil.” Oddly enough, in hiring a contracts attorney, the test Sergey Brin set the woman was to draft, in 30 minutes, a contract “for me [Brin] to sell my soul to the devil”—which she later described as a “surreal oddity.”

There is also hypocritical hand-wringing over censorship by the company in Communist China. “Perhaps for the first time,” Auletta writes, “Google executives were feeling defensive, troubled that folks thought that they had violated their ‘Don’t be evil’ pledge.”

Why is Chinese censorship so important to Auletta, Google, and to elites generally? Because Jews are determined to make cultural and propaganda inroads in China, and for that they need influence over the mass media.

In contrast, thoroughgoing censorship by the company of “hate speech” in Germany and elsewhere presents no equivalent “moral” dilemma for Google’s founders or Auletta. Google’s PATRIOT Act monitoring of the populace is (essentially) ignored, and its secret censorship pact with the ADL is not even mentioned.

Free speech on the Internet, even on the tiniest scale, has been systematically extirpated—never mind mass speech, the only kind that really counts. This is the reality everywhere, not just in disreputable “hate speech” countries lacking the corpse of a First Amendment.

Anyone who wants to blog or write or post online must utilize the services of mega-corporations, all of which censor commentary in lockstep with guidelines formulated and enforced by Jewish organizations such as the ADL. Worldwide, speech by whites has effectively been quarantined on a handful of servers situated in the United States. On the receiver’s end it is further blocked by “filtering” software.

The moralistic posturing about censorship is obviously selective and insincere. It is grounded in ethnic self-interest, not principle.

Privacy

According to Auletta, Google invests $3 billion annually in computers, servers, and data centers:

Google has dozens of data centers all over the world (the exact number is a state secret at Google), and in these data centers are housed what may be the world’s most massive computer system, millions of PCs that have no keyboards or screens and are arranged in stacks and have been repurposed as servers to process searches. By geographically spreading these data centers all over the world, Google became more efficient. When we log on to Google, it instantly identifies our approximate geographical location from the Internet Protocol address on the browser that connects us to the Internet. Thus the query is dispatched to the closest data center, which produces a speedier result.

Auletta likewise informs us that cable TV companies, which double as Internet Service Providers, not only possess search data and cookies, but also, according to the CEO of Time Warner, know “everything you do on your cable broadband connection, they’ve got everything you’ve signed on and saw. And they have everything you watched on television. And they’ve got their customer’s name and credit card information.”

Opiate of the Masses

Initially, and to a limited extent still, the Internet differed from other media. In the memorable words of Steve Jobs: “You watch television to turn your brain off and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.”

However, the Internet is growing more and more homogeneous and controlled.

Mass communications exert a curiously addictive effect upon, and control over, the human subconscious, a phenomenon which has never been scrutinized for obvious reasons.

Auletta observes that poor families now spend an average of $180 a month on media services that didn’t exist a generation ago—”mobile, broadband, digital TV, satellite TV, iTunes,” etc.

This parallels Erik Barnouw’s observation that old time radio listeners developed “a loyalty that seemed almost irrational. According to social workers, destitute families that had to give up an icebox or furniture or bedding still clung to the radio as to a last link with humanity.”[2]

Similarly, Brooks and Marsh wrote of broadcast television that “Over the years, America’s love affair with television has matured from initial infatuation to an accepted, and pervasive, part of everyday life. It happened very fast. The percentage of U.S. homes with one or more TV sets leaped from 1 percent to 50 percent in five short years (1948-1953), and passed 90 percent in the early 1960s. Today 97 percent of U.S. homes have TV—it is everywhere. And the average home has its set on six and a half hours a day, every day.”[3]

Auletta cites many parallel facts about today’s media environment. Though far more fragmented in terms of the devices, or avenues, by which it is accessed, the total time consumed ingesting bits and pieces of the media monologue remains massive.

Googled is a remarkably good book—much better than I anticipated, and a valuable, highly readable guide for anyone desiring an overview of the ongoing transformation of the mass media.

Notes

[1] See also Clarke Ingram’s Dumont Television Network Historical Website.

[2] Erik Barnouw, A History of Broadcasting in the United States, Vol. 2: The Golden Web (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), 6.

[3] Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, 1946Present (1979).

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