One of the Burson-Marsteller PR reps in the center of the Facebook-Google controversy has a history of, shall we say, questionable tactics.
Jim Goldman, a former tech reporter for CNBC, and John Mercurio, an ex-political reporter, were behind the ugly smear campaign in which Facebook targeted Google over alleged privacy issues.
When Goldman was at CNBC, he stirred up plenty of controversy when it came to covering Apple. In 2009, Fast Company
took Goldman to task over being completely wrong about Steve Jobs’ health status.
Perhaps more interesting, Dan Lyons, the reporter who outed Facebook
as the company behind the B-M campaign, had taken Goldman to task before, during that same back-and-forth over Goldman’s reporting acumen.
Lyons said on CNBC to Goldman
“There are two kinds of reporters who cover Apple. The kind who realize they're getting snowed and they're getting bullied and they're getting blocked out, and realize that a lot of what they're being told is not true. And the other kind who suck up to get access and end up getting played and punked, like your Valley bureau chief has been played and punked by Apple.”
But criticism of Goldman’s coverage went back even further. A 2008 article called a Goldman story on Steve Jobs
at Macworld a “schoolgirl crush piece.”
Granted, taking flak for your reporting doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be a flawed PR pro. However, Goldman’s severe lack of ethics in the Facebook-Google case certainly doesn’t speak well of his judgment.
For the record, Goldman majored in political journalism ethics
at Brown University.