Google exec apologizes for 'Sicko' post


NEW YORK -- A post on a Google-owned corporate blog criticizing Michael Moore's "Sicko" set off a firestorm of protest around the blogosphere, forcing the executive to issue a retraction Sunday.

Google account planner Lauren Turner filed a post on Google's Health Advertising blog encouraging health care marketers to buy targeted ads that will show up when users search the Web portal for information on Moore or his newly released Weinstein Co. documentary, which is highly critical of the American health care industry.

Blogs and other Internet sources lambasted Turner and Google for the post, saying that the portal should not be editorializing on a company blog. Google has always taken pains to emphasize its neutrality as a conduit for information.

"At first, I thought the post was a hoax, especially given the blog has only two posts and is not well put together," Dan Farber wrote on ZDNet's blog Saturday. "Why would Google want to take sides with the U.S. health care industry, which is ruled by a profit motive."

By Sunday morning, Turner had apologized for her post, saying that the views she expressed on the documentary were her own and not the company's.

Turner wrote: "Not so good is that some readers thought the opinion I expressed about the movie 'Sicko' was actually Google's opinion. It's easy to understand why it might have seemed that way, because after all, this is a corporate blog."

This isn't the first issue the Weinsteins and Moore have had with Google over "Sicko." Last month, the entire film leaked on to Google Video and YouTube, which the company also owns, two weeks before the June 29 opening. The video-sharing site later removed the clips.