Chinese excuses

Terry Semel keeps digging his hole deeper and deeper… pretty soon, he’ll reach China.

At the haughty D conference, he was questioned about Yahoo and China. This from the blog:

“I continue to be pissed off, outraged, and feel very very bad about it,” Mr. Semel said.

Well, I’m sure that makes the poor sap stuck in a Chinese prison for 10 years because he used Yahoo mail feel much, much better.

“But you have to follow the laws of the country you’re in.”

Enough with that company line. Would you have done business in South Africa under apartheid and run no pictures of black people? Would you have handed in Jews in Nazi Germany? Oh, but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Someone asked that incredibly obvious question and he had an incredible answer.

One attendee asked Mr. Semel if Yahoo would have cooperated with Nazi Germany the same way it has with China. His response: “Yahoo has a basic obligation not to have a point of view on basic content, and to present content … and aggregate things and to allow people to make their own choices. I don’t know how I would have felt then.”

Good God, man! You don’t know how you would have felt? Who gives a damn about your feelings? This is about human rights. It’s about ethics. It’s about morality. It’s not about content. But now that you’ve brought it up, that’s ridiculous, too. Of course, you have a point of view on content: You buy some and not others. Dig, dig, dig. The next spadeful:

He added, “I don’t feel good about what’s happening in China today. I don’t feel good about some of the things that happen in our own country.”

So in one breath, he has managed to equate America with Communist China and Nazi Germany. Oh, I’m sure some flack will say he was taken out of context. The best way to fight that is to take yourself out of the context of trying to justify supporting dictators.

Semel also said:

Mr. Semel went on: “I don’t think any one company is going to change a country, and I dont think any one industry is going to change a country. “…

See Amnesty International’s call on companies as well as countries to support the cause of freedom.

Still, Mr. Semel said progress is being made, noting that the Chinese know more about American culture than ever before, thanks in no small part to the Internet. “To me, it’s about keeping the information flowing. Little by little, we start to bring about change.”

The Neville Chamberlain of the internet.