According to the web:

"... then you have Gawker, which has been, to put it charitably, inconsistent in the way it defines what is and isn’t newsworthy... "abuses of power and hypocrisy" - Founding Editor of Gawker

"...Some of them are lazy and it’s always easier as a journalist to write the glowing lightweight story, where no one’s going to press you to nail down the facts and you won’t get any blowback from sources or subjects...." - Founding Editor of Gawker


  • So if someone like Hogan can't afford to fight back against Gawkers egregious and un-journalistic behavior they should just suck it up in the name of "freedom of the press"? Gawker has broken laws and acted in a despicable and capricious manner for years, that they are finally being held accountable in part thanks to someone whom they have harmed in the past with their complete and utter lack of journalistic ethics should be celebrated not critiqued. These morally bankrupt cowards have hidden behind the 1st Amendment to peddle their crap and inflict harm on real people to line their pockets, not out of any sense of journalistic desire. While individual Gawker staff members may be genuinely interested in journalism, its clear to anyone paying attention that the organization itself is not. Abuses like the ones Gawker properties routinely make do harm to genuine journalism and if they fold because of this or other lawsuits the world is better for it.

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    Thiel could had thrown trillions at that lawsuit and it still wouldn't have changed anything on its own. The court decided, based on the evidence and the arguments presented, that Gawker broke the law.

    Thiel didn't bribe the judge and the jury, he funded legal fees for the victim. The court could have just as easily made that investment null and void by ruling that Gawker had committed no crime.

    This was a case where financial costs and lawyerly skill were taken out of the equation, leaving behind only the truth. And, according to the judge and jury, that truth was worth $140 million in damages.

    Also, I wouldn't worry as an entrepreneur, because getting outed as gay in an elite environment can easily cause substantial financial losses. People still don't realize how bigoted people at the top can be, even with Trump running for President.

    This was no "slight misunderstanding," it was character assassination. I think most people should feel pretty safe doing business with him; I bet some of them are even eager to, given he helped take down a company that peddled sh*t-dripping garbage half the time.

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    I realize blogs are supposed to be discursive stream-of-thought ramblings, but there are some real problems here, most notably that this has anything to do with Thiel wanting revenge because of scars left from being outed.

    Everyone comes out at his or her timetable. Thiel came of age when the Valley was even far more dominated by a "revenge of the nerds" frat-boys-gone-wild culture. While he wouldn't have become a pariah if he were out at that time, as with many situations gay men find themselves in, he believed he would have felt uncomfortable, an outsider.

    I have little doubt he would have had a "soft" self-outing (a la Cook) within a few years. His wealth, situation and liberal environment made his forced outing probably no more wrenching than anyone would who had a personal secret publicly revealed.

    What the incident did do was set his laser-like sites on Gawker on (in his opinion) Gawker's inherent malevolence. In the last several years, it has become the most bottom-feeding of trash tabloids and TMZ-type sites. Whatever the well-reported or well-written stories (I never saw them), the editors became more and smug and cynical.

    Funny you didn't mention their testimony, because it probably was what most influenced the jury's decision. People in St. Pete don't take kindly to sharpy New Yorkers making fun of sex with 4-year-old girls.

    Whatever one thinks about Theil's bankrolling Hogan's case or his secretiveness in doing so (from anything I've ever read about this guy, that's his entire modus operandi in doing anything), his ultimate vindication came from the jury, which not only found for Hogan, but was so disgusted by Gawker that it exponentially increased the recommended penalty.

    Of course it will be reduced on appeal, but one appeal has already been rejected. After that disgusting "outing" of a married Conde Nast CFO parent who may have hired a male escort once, Denton was forced to make a very public mea culpa and do some serious window dressing after advertisers fled — the only thing, ultimately, he cares about.

    When Gawker goes down, like Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, it won't be because a billionaire was involved. It's because the site finally reached the point where the public, advertisers and the law said ¡Basta!

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    All the hand-wringing over this case is hilarious.

    All the money in the world would not have harmed Gawker in this case if they hadn't violated someone's rights. They were appropriately found responsible for their tortious conduct and were rightly punished proportionately for the damage done in a court of law, with rules of evidence and an open process.

    Let's not pretend that Gawker is a real news organization. Let's also not pretend that the other digital journos freaking out about "this threat to an open press" have any interest in balanced reporting or confronting truly tough issues. On both those counts, they consistently fail miserably.

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      So to summarize, if a particular person has political viewpoints that you disagree with, he arbitrarily loses his privacy rights and deserves to have his life actively destroyed through illegal activities.

      He or she should have no legal recourse, and should not be able to protect his own or other's privacy rights through American jurisprudence, but should instead be subject to the arbitrary and capricious invasion of their privacy because they oppose The Party.

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    ES: The bias in your article is overwhelming, it's insulting to suggest that your bias is limited with such lines as: "But this new situation disturbs me even without my connection to Gawker." You seem to be ok with compromising journalistic integrity as a "necessary" part of building a valuable news brand. That's appalling nonsense, a slippery slope and represents click-bait integrity; that's not journalism.

    You've set out to downplay the damages Gawker Media made to Thiel and Bollea. However we can plainly see that the court found that significant damage had been done. This is not for you to speculate upon, a jury of your peers found the damage significant.

    There is a valuable lesson here in understanding the allowances of "freedom", (such as freedom of press, freedom of speech and the like) these are not all access cards to malicious behaviour. Such lapses in editorial judgement are not part of being a journalist - you should know better and you should do better. (Especially for a self-titled "expert".)

    Now might be the time to review your professional associations and look within to understand the difference it means to be a journalist, or a click-bait sewer pipe.

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        Indeed the side I'm on appears to be the side of the law, the side of the jury and indeed the side of a moral character who can distinguish the difference between "news" and trash designed to get web-clicks.

        To me it seems that you fall on the side of "everything is news if it gets a click", yet too scared to actually state that - meanwhile there are actual journalists who will enter war zones to report *actual* news.

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    Tell you what Elizabeth: try and live with the specter of potentially having "journalists" camped outside your home shooting inside while you are engaged in intimate acts IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HOME...then tell us if you still find the behavior of Hogan and Thiel to be "unreasonable". Everything you have stated above is tenuous on the grounds that you would expect some degree of privacy once you step across the threshold into your sanctuary...or are you going to argue that journalists have free reign to your privacy and to think otherwise is censorship?

      • It's a money issue, Ms. Spiers.

        To make more money, Gawker broke rules of journalistic integrity. To protect itself from being held accountable, it hired numerous lawyers to both: (1) ensure that the cost of suing Gawker would be in the tens of millions, and (2) ensure that losing a lawsuit against Gawker would cost further millions of dollars, by legally arguing that the lawsuit loser should pay Gawker's legal fees. 
        My favorite saying is, "Never try to convince someone of something when their salary requires them to not understand it."

        But I believe you'll understand that Gawker's *POSSESSION* of all that money made it believe it could get away with horrible behavior. Thiel and Hulk Hogan just used their money, to remove Gawker's money. And I hope other media outlets will realize that a similar fate could happen to them.

        The American public is smart enough to know the difference between "free media speech" coupled with good behavior, honesty, and a desire for truth and "free media speech" coupled with lies, manipulation, and the advancement of a pro-liberal agenda.

        We accept the former, reject the latter - and classify Gawker as the latter.

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    Peter Thiel is absolutely NOT "abusing" the legal system. He funded a very legitimate lawsuit by an aggrieved party, who may not have had the money to fund it themselves. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that, regardless of his personal enjoyment. You have a claim if and when Thiel (or someone else) funds obviously frivolous suits against a media outlet that they don't like. This isn't one of those instances.