"Closing the book", Gawker releases data on traffic and posting statistics

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/22/closing-the-book-gawker-r.html

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I have to say, I feel like Gawker doubled down on bad ideas here (seemingly just for pettiness’ sake), then continued to crow about journalism. I mean, outing somebody against their will then turning right around and airing somebody else’s sex tape (and getting very arrogant about both after the fact)? Both were private, neither was newsworthy, and at least with Hogan, they were given the opportunity to undo it… but again, “journalistic integrity”, etc. I don’t see this as “rich guy shuts down the press with cash” so much as, “blog gets too big for its britches and pays for invading privacy”.

ETA: I also find all of this interesting given how much time they dedicated to telling the world Reddit was over for the last couple of years.

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(I keep thinking there is a better version of this one, but the Gif thread is close to 1500 posts long…)


It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever we feel about the Hogan tape, his federal case was tossed and he refiled in his home town to get a local jury and a more SLAPP-friendly environment. In the long run (and most experts agree) Gawker’s would win on the legal merits if it has the money to fight, and the only thing keeping Hogan going beyond a quick settlement in the first place was Peter Thiel’s checkbook.

That’s not to say anyone is wrong finding Gawker’s work unprincipled. Just that the outcome is ultimately going to reflect either their principles or Thiel’s, not yours.


Slate had a rather thoughtful article on some of Gawker’s greatest hits.

I had completely forgotten about the sorority letter, though I definitely recall reading about it at the time.

Someone has surely stepped up to claim that they will be archiving the content of gawker.com forever, right? It seems that usually happens whenever a major website announces that it is closing up shop.

Oh sure, I’m sure the outcome will change somewhat (though maybe not soon enough). I’m sure it’ll matter where the judgment was handed down, but I have a feeling Hogan’s settlement will be trimmed rather than axed.

As far as ethics go, I look at it this way- Gawker (rightly) mocked Gamergaters’ uproar over “journalistic integrity” (no argument here- I feel they were on the right side of that). Then they turned around and blew up not one but two people’s sex lives and almost immediately began using almost exactly the same language to justify these decisions. How is what they did different? And if Gamergate was wrong, how were their stories above reproach? Feels like the flipside of the same dumb coin to me.



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Michael Shannon’s dramatic reading of the sorority letter is one of my favorite things in the world.

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I don’t actually know who Michael Shannon is, but that was funny.

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which they have thanks to ‘real life bad guy from John Wick’ Viktor Vekselberg.

One of the finest actors of his generation and as far as I can tell a real cool guy. I could easily list a half dozen wonderful performances off the top of my head. Randomly, I’ll go with Take Shelter

What was the tagline of the awful movie? “Whoever wins, we all lose”

I read Gawker regularly because it had a good crew of regular commentators. But it was responsible for some of the worst aspects of internet clickbait coming to the fore. Denton is and always has been a complete muckraking tool and his comeuppance was a long time coming. Pity Neetzan Zimmerman didn’t get eaten too.

Thiel is pretty much Slide One in life’s power point presentation on “Rich Scumbags” The fact that he successfully threw money at someone who made him angry until he got him and his business shut down should make every both disgusted and alarmed at how far into Plutocracy America has fallen.

Its amazing to me how many people are cheering this outcome. The case is absurd and the judgement was outlandish. Peter Third is basically a cartoon villian and Hulk Hogan is his willing Patsy.

The whole thing is disgusting.

Every time I think about this case I think of how much a snowball’s chance in hell I’d have as a relatively poor private citizen fighting a company the size of gawker. They got their day in court before a jury in a situation where the lawyers on each side were well-paid and the jury said “guilty”.

And every respected journalist who got their start there sounds suddenly libertarian in their defense of why working there was so special: “it doesn’t matter how many eggs we broke… We were so FREE!”

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Yeah, about that, the actual guilty party was never tried in civil court. It was Hogan’s “friend” Bubba and Bubba’s wife who convinced Hogan to have an affair, who secretly recorded it, and leaked it. Hogan settled with Bubba for $5,000. The $10,000,000 that Thiel spent on this skewed the lawsuit against Gawker rather than the people who actually tricked Hogan and infringed on his privacy.

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