Google vs. NYT: Close Reading

The Times wrote:

Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.


The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users.

Note that the Times didn’t write “could allow Verizon to speed Google content…” or “the charges would be paid by YouTube.” They used YouTube as a hypothetical example.

Google tweeted:

@NYTimes is wrong. We’ve not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.

Consider that “an open internet” can mean just about anything, and that the Times never suggested that Google had worked out a deal to pay Verizon for carriage of “their” traffic. 

Consider also that none of this wording, on either side, is arbitrary or unconsidered.

So far, the Times' spokesperson is correct in claiming that “Google’s comment about The New York Times story refutes something The Times story didn’t say.”