Two big pieces of news:
Conan and Google.
Hats off to both of them.
- Conan. As always, I like to stay out of the taste argument. Whether you prefer Jay or Conan is inconsequential. Conan’s letter is done classily, making a firm point without lashing out. Obviously, he hasn’t gotten to where he has without knowing how to handle a crowd. And the citizens of the internet seem to be firmly in his camp.
It’s a gamble, telling NBC that he won’t get in line to make up for their failed roll of the dice (putting Jay at 10). But Conan’s risk is an educated one. FOX doesn’t have a proper late-night show and they’ve wanted one for a while, with many failed attempts. Nothing has stuck since The Arsenio Hall Show (which wasn’t officially part of the network, but aired on many FOX affiliates). In the end, my money’s on Conan going to FOX. It seems like a good fit, anyway. Either way, Jay or Conan is leaving NBC in this most recent late-night pissing contest.
2. Google. “Don’t be evil.” – Google corporate motto
The Google story is a bit more frightening, when you read their account of what has transpired. A subdued headline of “A new approach to China” shadows the fact that two very serious things have happened.
- There were cyber attacks on “large [American] companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors”
- There was an attempt to hack the e-mails of Chinese human rights activists, which was a primary goal of the attacks.
This is such a complicated issue that I’m honestly not even sure how to approach it beyond the point of my headline: I am assuming that Google could have chosen to continue operations in China as per usual, with censorship and the like, but have decided to make an offer (unrestricted searches) that will ultimately be rejected. Google will have to leave a significant market. And it seems like at least part of that decision is being done on principle.