I’ve never been a regular Gawker reader and I don’t think it’s a great idea to publish sex videos without permission, but I’m still sad for what we are losing and for the shape of things news to come.
You live in a country where a billionaire can put a publication out of business. A billionaire can pick off an individual writer and leave that person penniless and without legal protection.
If you want to write stories that might anger a billionaire, you need to work for another billionaire yourself, or for a billion-dollar corporation. The law will not protect you. There is no freedom in this world but power and money.
– Tom Scocca, executive features editor of Gawker Media
The moment will come soon enough when you need a Gawker, and you’ll be furious that you no longer have one.
– Choire Sicha, former co-editor of Gawker
Founder Nick Denton’s farewell, How Things Work, is particularly powerful:
Mockery, of course, is the cheapest and most available tool that the powerless have against the powerful; it has historically been the one thing that they can’t silence.
[A]t Gawker’s founding there was a sense that the internet was a free space, where anything can be said.... As our experience has shown, that freedom was illusory. The system is still there. It pushed back. The power structure remains. There are just some new people at the apex, prime among them the techlords flush with monopoly profits. They are as sensitive to criticism as any other ruling class, but with the confidence that they can transform and disrupt anything, from government to the press.
You should read Denton’s whole post and let’s all hope that Peter Thiel hasn’t set off a First They Came cascade for journalism. Speaking truth-to-power almost certainly requires some rudeness, some ugliness, the ability to survive mistakes or an occasional ethical slip-up, and a team that’s actually outside the power structure it’s assessing. No small lift.
Anyways, the gawkering. It’s only a matter of time.
Update: 10:25pm That was quick: Lawyer for Melania Trump Threatens Defamation Suits Against News Outlets.