by WorldTribune Staff, September 13, 2018
A leaked video of Google’s internal “all hands meeting” following the 2016 presidential election shows the tech giant’s leadership mourning the outcome, inviting hugs of comfort all around, and vowing efforts correct misinformation on the Internet that could have contributed to the success of Donald Trump and the rising populist movement worldwide.
The video features Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, VPs Kent Walker and Eileen Naughton, CFO Ruth Porat, and CEO Sundar Pichai. Google has confirmed the video, revealed by Breitbart.com, was from “a regularly scheduled all hands meeting.”
In his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh suggested that all listeners should make time available to watch the hour-long video.
The video’s release followed widespread speculation and conservatives’ outrage over the failure Google co-founder Larry Page to appear at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari noted that, in the video, “These individuals, who preside over a company with unrivaled influence over the flow of information, can be seen disparaging the motivations of Trump voters and plotting ways to use their vast resources to thwart the Trump agenda.
Bokhari added that “Brin can be heard comparing Trump supporters to fascists and extremists. The Google co-founder then asks his company to consider what it can do to ensure a ‘better quality of governance and decision-making.’ ”
Walker, Google’s vice president for global affairs, argues that supporters of populist causes like the Trump campaign are motivated by “fear, xenophobia, hatred, and a desire for answers that may or may not be there.”
Brad Parscale, President Trump’s 2016 digital campaign manager and 2020 re-election campaign manager, tweeted on Sept. 12: “.@google needs to explain why this isn’t a threat to the Republic. Watch the video. Google believes they can shape your search results and videos to make you “have their values”. Open borders. Socialism. Medicare 4 all. Congressional hearings! Investigate https://t.co/jlbSgMMrLT”
Breitbart noted key moments from the video can be found at the following timestamps:
- (00:01:12) Brin says he is “deeply offen[ded]” by the election of Trump, and that the election “conflicts with many of [Google’s] values.”
- (00:09:35) Walker describes the Trump phenomenon as a sign of “tribalism that’s self-destructive [in] the long-term.”
- (00:13:10) CFO Ruth Porat appears to break down in tears when discussing the election result.
- (00:15:20) Porat promises that Google will “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values.”
- (00:20:24) Eileen Naughton, VP of People Operations, promises that Google’s policy team in D.C. is “all over” the immigration issue and that the company will “keep a close watch on it.”
- (00:23:12) Naughton acknowledges “diversity of opinion and political persuasion” and notes that she has heard from conservative Google employees who say they “haven’t felt entirely comfortable revealing who [they] are.” and urged “tolerance.” (Several months later, the company would fire James Damore allegedly for disagreeing with progressive narratives.)
- (00:27:30) Brin praises an audience member’s suggestion of increasing matched Google employee donations to progressive groups.
- (00:34:40) Brin compares Trump voters to “extremists,” arguing for a correlation between the economic background of Trump supporters and the kinds of voters who back extremist movements. Brin says that “voting is not a rational act” and that not all of Trump’s support can be attributed to “income disparity.” He suggests that Trump voters might have been motivated by boredom rather than legitimate concerns.
- (00:54:33) An employee asks what Google is going to do about “misinformation” and “fake news” shared by “low-information voters.” Pichai responds by stating that “investments in machine learning and AI” are a “big opportunity” to fix the problem.
- (00:56:12) Responding to an audience member, Walker says Google must ensure the rise of populism doesn’t turn into “a world war or something catastrophic … and instead is a blip, a hiccup.”
- (01:01:15) A Google employee states: “speaking to white men, there’s an opportunity for you right now to understand your privilege” and urges employees to “go through the bias-busting training, read about privilege, read about the real history of oppression in our country.” He urges employees to “discuss the issues you are passionate about during Thanksgiving dinner and don’t back down and laugh it off when you hear the voice of oppression speak through metaphors.” Every executive on stage – the CEO, CFO, two VPs and the two Co-founders – applaud the employee.
Earlier this month, Google was a no-show at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing featuring Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The committee had requested Page, chief executive of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, or Pichai testify. Sen. Marco Rubio called Google’s absence “arrogant.”
Columnists Austin Carr and Mark Bergen, writing for Bloomberg, noted: “In Page’s absence at the Senate hearing, louder voices filled the void, from senators criticizing Google for its dealings with China to pundits decrying Page as unpatriotic. McNamee, the early investor who’s since advocated for the company’s breakup, says Page and Pichai shirked their civic duty by skipping the hearing. ‘This is Corporate Governance 101,’ he says. ‘You’ve been invited to speak in front of a Senate hearing to protect our democracy, and your response is, ‘We’re too important to go’? The whole world is looking at them: ‘What the hell is wrong with you people? Who are you?’ ”
In 2014, the columnists noted, Page was responding to the Silicon Valley spying revelations by Edward Snowden and spoke of how the public needs to re-evaluate government powers in the digital age. “We haven’t had that conversation,” he said. “We need to have a debate about that, or we can’t have a functioning democracy.”
A Google spokesperson replied to Breitbart’s request for comment with the following statement:
“At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season. For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings. Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint.”