If Disney built a miniature version of one of its theme parks in the middle of Washington D.C. and populated it with lobbyists and government affairs specialists, people would go berserk. And rightly so. But will there be any public reaction be to the new 54,000 square-foot fun zone Google,Inc. officially opened on July 15 with a grand party attended by lawmakers? That’s not a typo. It’s fifty-four thousand square feet for 110 employees. I’d like to say that each employee needs 489 square feet for his/her Google-scale ego, but that would be unfair. In fact, according to this article in Bloomberg, all that space is a giant advertisement for Google products and for Google’s role in the continuum of technological and scientific information. And there’s nothing wrong with that message. That’s what lobbyists are supposed to do, and at least part of the time, they speak the truth. But as Google is now the fifth largest lobbying corporation in the nation, it should at least be noted that when it comes to dangling shiny objects in front of lawmakers, they’ve got ample game. As such, I hope we can now dispense with the whole “Washington is in Hollywood’s pocket” gibberish and attempt to look at conflicting issues on their own terms.
© 2014, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.