Wise head at Time Warner

I didn’t think I’d ever write the title above. Even when it was just Time Life – before Time Warner, before AOL Time Warner, before the reincarnation as Time Warner – I always viewed the company as the General Motors of media: big, of course, but boring and not innovative.

But Rebecca MacKinnon reports that there is at least one wise head at the top of the corporation. She quotes a Bloomberg report that CEO Richard Parsons decided to pull AOL out of a business opportunity in China becase he didn’t want the company involved in Internet censorship.

From the Bloomberg item:

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” was the government’s insistence that it had the right to monitor all traffic on the service, Richard Parsons, chief executive of Time Warner Inc., said at the media forum.

“You’re given lists of words that you have to block through your service, like democracy,” he said. “We bailed out.”

Time Warner thought about “what we would look like here in the U.S. if we agreed to a governmentally imposed regime where words like democracy had to be blocked,” Parsons said. “We made a judgment that it wasn’t a market that we wanted to enter in this way at this time.”

As MacKinnon writes, “Companies do have a choice.”

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