Google Criticized Over 'Sicko' Dustup

Google is being criticized for attempting to monetize health care industry backlash to the Michael Moore movie Sicko, after a post by a Google employee invited the industry to use its ad network to spread its own message.

Google Health account planner Lauren Turner initially made the suggestion that health care providers could use the company's advertising network to fight back against Moore's move and the likely fallout that would result.

"Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message," she wrote. "We help you connect your company's assets while helping users find the information they seek."

While not specifically taking issue with the movie, Turner cautions those going to it to "go easy on that buttered popcorn." Regardless, her post has some up in arms after it was promoted by Slashdot.

"I wonder what Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin think about the U.S. healthcare system, Michael Moore's film and actively helping the healthcare industry beat back negative press," ZDNet's Dan Farber opined.

Turner, however, has seemed to rethink her initial post, as a clarification was soon posted to her blog following the controversy. She said that the opinion was of her own and was not the opinion of her employer.

"Advertising is an effective medium for handling challenges that a company or industry might have," Turner wrote. "That's the real point I was trying to make, which was less clear because I offered my personal criticism of the movie."

Google product marketing manager Missy Krasner publicly responded to the dustup on the company's main blog, stating that, "Our internal review of the piece before publication failed to recognize that readers would -- properly, but incorrectly -- impute the criticisms as reflecting Google's official position. We blew it."

Krasner added that, "Google does share many of the concerns that Mr. Moore expresses about the cost and availability of health care in America. Indeed, we think these issues are sufficiently important that we invited our employees to attend his film."

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