Google's PR machine has this week been trumpeting its wind and sun energy ventures.
But you'll have to go elsewhere to hear about its support for Senator James Inhofe, described by a San Francisco Chronicle columnist as "the delusional or dishonest Oklahoma Republican" who has called global warming the "greatest hoax."
The "Green" giant is helping to raise lots of green for his re-election by hosting a lunch at its Washington office on July 11, costing as much as $2,500 per plate. Google has a large data center in Oklahoma, the senator's home state.
James Temple, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, called it a "shameful act of corporate hypocrisy."
He pointed out that the senator has tried McCarthy-like tactics in accusations against 17 top climate scientists of violating the Federal False Statements Act, which could result in five years in prison over their global warming claims.
Mr Temple wrote,"This is the type of person whom reasonable, thoughtful people — people who supposedly cherish science, data, and reason — call out as dangerous and unfit for public office."
Vice's Brian Merchant, writing on Motherboard, pointed out thatGoogle was the largest donor to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's recent fundraising dinner, writing a check of $50,000 to the anti-science conservative think tank.
Forecast the Facts is collecting signatures for a petition asking CEO Larry Page to cancel the lunch.
A Google representative told the Guardian newspaper that throwing fund raisers for politicians doesn't mean the company supports their views. I'm pretty sure it does. Money talks and money is Washington's favored "like" button, it counts. To claim otherwise is absurd.
What type of "green" is Google committed to? Dollars or planet? Its cynical hypocrisy over a lunch party will derail the many carefully planted PR stories of a caring corporation.
Google never refers to its "Do no evil" mantra anymore. A smart move but what has replaced it? "It's complicated" is a more realistic company slogan.
The biggest risk Google faces is internal
Google's thousands of engineers won't be pleased -- they are young and want to be part of an organization that is unique and working to "do things that matter" as Google says in its recruitment drives. They are also mostly male and mostly interested in meeting females -- and hypocrisy is not sexy.
If it fails to retain top talent or is unable to recruit it, the cost to Google will far outweigh any short-term tit-tat-back-scratch gains it hopes to win from its two-faced lobbying.
Yahoo suffered greatly for its compromises with the Chinese government that led to ten-years of hard labor for one of its email users a journalist. Reporters without Borders named Yahoo as Chinese informant, founder Jerry Yang was summoned to Congress and had to face the weeping mother of the imprisoned young man.
Yahoo insiders told me the rank and file were deeply unhappy with the amoral, and immoral behavior of their company.
Google risks alienating its most important constituency – not shareholders or users, but its own people. They notice things and they are motivated by a chance to make big changes. They can see that global warming is changing the world but Google isn't.
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