Jim Goldman Is An Idiot Part 2 (So Are His Buddies Facebook and John Mercurio)

Just when I thought Jim Goldman couldn’t be any more of an idiot… he went ahead and did this. Top public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller tried to spread a rumor that Google was invading the privacy of it’s users. Burson even made an offer to an influential blogger to write an op-ed that bashes on Google and said they could spread it on The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and Politico.

The blogger refused to work with Burson and posted the e-mails that was sent to him. It turns out that Facebook hired Burson to spread the vicious rumors against Google. Facebook hired Burson because they believe that Google is doing things that causes privacy concerns. And Facebook also does not like Google using Facebook data for their own social network.

The Google software that Burson was targeting is called Social Circle. Supposedly Social Circle allows people with Gmail accounts see information about friends and their “secondary connection” friends. Burson made a pitch to journalists that Social Circle was “designed to scrape private data and build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users—in a direct and flagrant violation of [Google’s] agreement with the FTC.”

“The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloging and broadcasting every minute of every day—without their permission,” said Burson.

Blogger Chris Soghoian offered to help write an op-ed and asked Burson which company would pay an agency to spread this information around. Burson refused to give up that information so Soghoian published their e-mail exchange on his website. Then the story gained even more publicity when it was revealed that former CNBC tech reporter Jim Goldman and former political reporter John Mercurio were the two working for Burson that was pushing USA Today to write negative things about Google.

“After Goldman’s pitch proved largely untrue, he subsequently declined USA Today’s requests for comments,” said USA Today after they looked into Social Circle. Facebook, Goldman, and Mercurio should be embarrassed.

In 2009, Shan wrote an article about how Jim Goldman put together phony numbers in a slide called “True Cost of Owning A PC” while reporting on CNBC. Goldman said that it would cost you $1,500 to get a $699 PC to perform like a Mac. The numbers Goldman used broke down like this:

Norton Anti-Virus: $50/year
Multimedia Software: $80-$104
Photoshop: $104
Video Editing: $100
Music Software: $100
Geek Squad Visit: $129

When I owned a PC, I never visited the Geek Squad. Photoshop is not that cheap unless you buy an old version on eBay. AVG anti-virus is free so you don’t exactly need Norton. Windows has free video editing software built in to their operating system. Music software is free. This now makes Goldman an unethical journalist and an idiot when it comes breaking down the numbers around owning a computer.

[The Daily Beast]

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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