Reports that Google and Microsoft will not attend hearings into censorship by U.S. companies operating in China only make the companies look worse.

There is a report on CNN that Google will not send an executive to upcoming an Congressional hearings caucus on the censorship of Chinese search results. The company will, however, send a written statement. Cuffed

I imagine it is going to be something like: "Dear Congress: Sorry about the censorship, but we don't talk about it with governments that invite us politely to a public discussion hearing. We only talk about it with the totalitarian regimes that threaten us. Thanks for all the freedoms you provide us as a U.S.-based company." 

Look Sergey, Larry and, you too, Bill G, you guys talked with the Chinese government enough to come up with a "compromise" on freedom of access to information and freedom of expression. You even came up with an "evil scale" which I'd very much like to see if only for the shock value. For example, where does kiddie porn fall on the scale relative to birth control information and political dissent? Does the same evil curve apply in all countries or is your morality totally relative?

Talk with our government, too. We—your customers—would like to hear the debate somewhere outside the World Economic Forum, which isn't famous for its tough questions.

UPDATE: Google, Microsoft send regrets to Congress confirmed. They will send some representatives to a hearing on Feb. 15, but there's no indication who will represent the companies.