The Spectacle Blog

I Thought Only Bain Did That

By on 8.13.12 | 10:04PM

Google, the omnipresent web search and advertising company, purchased Motorola Mobility (the cell phone division of that venerable electronics company), in May of this year for about $12.5 billion. (The deal was originally announced in August, 2011, but it took the next nine months to receive the various necessary regulatory and international approvals.)

In a filing with the SEC on Monday, Google announced that it would lay off 4,000 Motorola Mobility employees (of whom about a third would be in the United States, and half of those in Chicago) and "close or consolidate about one-third of its 90 facilities."

But if one of these unfortunate engineers or other Motorola employees has a spouse who loses health coverage, gets sick, and dies, don't expect to ever hear a word from the media or anyone else about Google having any responsibility. (And Republicans, even those running PACs, won't swim in the gutter slime which Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter, David Axelrod, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are so at home in.)

More importantly, don't expect to hear a word from the mainstream media about the fact that creating efficiencies in business sometimes requires firing people.

After all, it's supposed to only be the heartless, cancer-causing Bain Capital which would ever lay off a worker.

As for predicting the media reaction, all you need to know is that Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, is a huge donor to the Democratic Party and affiliated organizations. (To be fair, he has also donated to the GOP and a few Republicans, as any good crony capitalist must, but his heart and his biggest checks are all in for Barack Obama.) Similarly, Google co-founder Sergei Brin has donated more than $75,000 to the DNC and the Obama campaign just in the past 10 months.

A search at OpenSecrets.org of Google employees who have donated to Barack Obama in this election cycle turns up 349 records totaling about half a million dollars. Donations to the Romney campaign? Eight, for a total of $5,500. A search for contributions to the DNC turns up 41 records… totaling over $393,000. Indeed, of the 20 Google employee political contributions of $10,000 or more, the only three that went to the Republican Party were matched, by those same donors, with contributions to Democratic organizations. And all 12 contributions of $30,800 by Google employees went to Democratic Party organizations.

This means that coverage of Google's firing of 4,000 people, including well over 1,000 Americans, will get the most gentle treatment, where it is discussed at all. Exhibit A: The New York Times' story on the layoffs is entitled "Motorola Set for Big Cuts as Google Reinvents It." Any bets on when later smears of layoffs at companies owned by Bain Capital will be described as "reinventing"?

H/T My friend who goes by the name "Airbus"

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