Nick Denton, Gawker’s co-founder, struck back against billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, penning a cutting open letter reviewing many of Gawker’s recent tech enemies (including Thiel), speculating upon the motives people like Thiel use to fund his company’s demise. Here are two key takeaways from Gawker, vis-a-vis Denton’s perspective on Thiel’s campaign:
Gawker envisions itself as a small media company fighting the real big bully.
In Denton’s assessment, Thiel is recoiling against the “harsh words of the writers of a small New York media company.” To Denton’s credit, Gawker doesn’t have a stake in Facebook, so it’s not a stretch to call out the billionaire class of Silicon Valley tech executives as the next link up the food chain. But Gawker, for all its strengths, has long struggled to follow the adage “pick on somebody your own size”. For every “fight the power” moment against Hulk Hogan, there’s the college-aged woman begging an editor to take the revealing, stolen video down, an example of Gawker making the powerless into collateral in their assault of the powerful. Remember that horrible sex-tape joke AJ Daulerio made under-oath about underage people in sex tapes? Fight the power!
And so, regardless of the motive behind Thiel’s funding of the Hogan suit, perhaps this small media company danced around the lines of journalistic ethics long enough to produce some predictable criticism and legal issues. Live by the gawk, die by the gawk.
Maybe the best thing would be to talk it out
Denton’s suggestion to the libertarian Thiel: more speech, not less. From Thiel’s letter:
We each claim to respect independent journalism, and liberty. We each have criticisms of the other’s methods and objectives. Now you have revealed yourself, let us have an open and public debate.
The court cases will proceed as long as you fund them. And I am sure the war of headlines will continue. But, even if we put down weapons just for a brief truce, let us have a more constructive exchange.
We can hold the discussion in person with a moderator of your choosing, in front of an audience, under the auspices of the Committee to Protect Journalists, or in a written discussion on some neutral platform such as Medium. Just tell me where and when.
Sharp questioning could benefit everyone involved. Echoing Denton, learning about the extent Thiel would recommend billionaires exhaust the resources of a media company to handle a lawsuit would shine a needed light on the role our courts play in protecting a responsible and independent media. Alternatively, his answer might also examine if pumping enough money into burdensome lawsuits can, in practice, sway precedent-shaping decisions in favor of who has the most money.
Meanwhile, readers need an understanding of what Denton’s edict to make Gawker 20 percent nicer (a number he later reduced to 10-to-15 percent) actually means, and how a nebulous term like “nice” governs sound ethical reporting on controversial subjects.
Read the full letter here.
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.
If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.
This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.