Google had a tough Leap Year week: GOOG stock price nosedived, $15 billion in value evaporated and the Melissa Mayer San Fran mag headline wiped off the Web and replaced by the “Adventures of Marissa.”
The gist of the story? The Power and The Glam not The Glory.
Then this weekend, CNET News whacked Google CEO Eric Schmidt in public.
CNET News reporter Elinor Mills apparently felt scorned. After flying cross-country to see Eric Schmidt’s Google Health presentation and scheduling a 1:1 interview, Mills found him unwilling to answer questions – questions, that is, unrelated to Google Health (i.e. Microsoft-Yahoo merger, comScore report, Microsoft Health Vault).
So Mills vented her fury in public.
On her blog she wrote: “Give and take with the press is part of being in a position of responsibility at a highly visible public company. (Schmidt) saying everything but the topic at hand is off limits is, well, lame.”
Google CEO Eric Schmidt lame? Judge for yourself in Frank Watson’s post, “No Brokeback with Google Health” where he embedded Eric Schmidt’s Google Health launch video.
Mills had tried a self-described “last-ditch, I-gotta-get-something-good-or-my-editor-is-going-to-kill-me question.” She noted that she squeezed in a question about Microsoft’s HealthVault and how it differs from Google Health. She reported Schmidt got up from his chair, and said, “That’s it.”
Mills’s editor also called into question Google stonewalling CNET News:
“He certainly has the right to refuse to take questions, but it’s unclear what led him to stonewall. Schmidt doesn’t seem like a CEO who is afraid to go toe to toe with the press. Perhaps he wanted to make sure the message got out on Google Health, but Elinor had already heard all the details at the Orlando presentation and press conference.”
To date her editor has not (as the scorned Mills feared) killed her.
The wisdom of the crowd? Journalist, heal thyself.