Friday, February 16, 2007

REASONS TO APPLAUD THE DECLINE OF YAHOO: TODAY'S MISLEADING HEADLINE

YAHOO--"Some 2008 hopefuls skip Iraq resolution vote" reads the headline for an AP article appearing on Yahoo's homepage, but look inside the link and the story is completely different. The only one to skip the vote--possibly one of the most-important in our history as a nation--was John McCain, who has abandoned our troops for reasons of campaigning. Literally all the other 2008 hopefuls for the White House made last-minute changes to their campaigning schedules to be in Washington for the vote:

On the Republican side, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas had planned to be in Florida to attend the National Religious Broadcasters' convention but is cutting short his visit — even though he doesn't plan to side with Reid. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama will be able to fit the vote into his campaign schedule. (AP, 02.16.2007)

So why the misleading headline? Yahoo and some of their nefarious advertisers know that many of us don't have time to hit that link and read the entire article. Sometimes, we're just too-busy. It's not uncommon for them to do this, either, though they are hardly alone. Huffington Post also does this, though that's another story. What it illustrates is that all media-outlets have their loyalties and their own particular bias. The headline is essentially a lie, since McCain is literally the only 2008 hopeful to continue his campaigning, a risible fact.

But this isn't why Yahoo is tanking. Google has her issues, but she never allowed the government to look at the search records without a warrant--Yahoo did, and they're paying-the-price for it. Of course, there are other noteworthy reasons that are purely business-related, and Yahoo has done little to dispel the notion that they lack vision. But it appears after a really bad year in 2006, the fourth quarter improved...well, sort-of:

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said it earned $268.7 million, or 19 cents per share, during the final three months of 2006, traditionally the peak season for Web sites such as Yahoo that depend on advertising for most of their revenue. The profit declined 61 percent from net income of $683.2 million, or 46 cents per share, at the same time in 2005, but the two quarters didn't provide an even comparison. That's because a one-time gain of $310 million boosted the 2005 results while the 2006 figures included stock-option expenses that weren't recorded on Yahoo's books in the previous year. (Seattle Post Intelligencer, 01.24.2007)

So, it was a marginal crawl upwards, based on what is normally a "peak season" anyway. Of course, there are many reasons why people don't choose Yahoo, and Google is a mighty competitor, granted. But Google is also an innovator, and sometimes in an emancipatory sense. Say what you will.

Indeed, say what you want about Google--they are hardly perfect--but at least they aren't the shills for the political and economic establishment (nor act as Chinese Police informants) as Yahoo are, and more a force-unto-themselves. It's true that Google blocks most Chinese users from sites and searches deemed illegal by the Beijing regime. But they don't appear to be turning-in dissidents in China as Yahoo has:

A co-founder [Ed.-JERRY YANG, who is Chinese-American.] and senior executive of Yahoo Inc., the global Internet giant, confirmed Saturday that his company gave Chinese authorities information later used to convict a Chinese journalist now imprisoned for leaking state secrets. The journalist, Shi Tao, was sentenced last spring to 10 years in prison for sending foreign-based Web sites a copy of a message from Chinese authorities warning domestic journalists about reporting on sensitive issues, according to a translation of the verdict disseminated by the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders. (Washington Post, 09.10.2005)

That's a far-cry from banning people from viewing sites, far-worse. For Yahoo, it's "strictly business", just as it is for American businesses who contract all the other slave-labor (aka "Marxist-Leninist forced production") in China. "Don't rock-the-boat" if it endangers profit, a well-worn adage transposed from the equally-efficient constellations of concentrations camps in occupied Europe. But besides all this, certainly Google also "sweetens" their headlines, I'm not disputing this. But the interesting thing about this Yahoo-headlined article is that it has two headlines. The aforementioned on the Yahoo homepage, and the real one: "2008 hopefuls shift plans for Iraq vote," to "Some 2008 hopefuls skip Iraq resolution vote." It's like night-and-day. But what do you expect from a company that's so cozy with tyrants, both foreign and domestic?


The Original Irritant: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070216/ap_on_el_pr/iraq2008

Seattle Post Intelligencer on Yahoo's Stocks-value: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/300911_techearns24.html

09.10.2005 Washington Post Piece on Shi Tao: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/10/AR2005091001222.html