Online Journalists vs. Oligarchs

News & Foxy Highlights

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Gawking at Gawker

Some of you may have heard about the recent bankruptcy via lawsuit of Gawker media. Some of you may have even enjoyed it a little bit, because let’s be frank here…Gawker has made some very poor editorial and journalistic choices.

Very poor. One of those poor choices was to out PayPal founder Peter Thiel back in 2007. It’s never ok to out someone who doesn’t want to be outed, and that particular editorial decision came back to bite them in the ass recently when Thiel teamed up with Hulk Hogan who was suing Gawker Media for releasing a private sex tape.

The absolute best Hulk Hogan picture we have ever seen.
The absolute best/most terrifying Hulk Hogan picture we have ever seen.

Thiel financially backed Hogan in his lawsuit as retribution for the piece from Gawker outing him, with the intent of taking the company down. And it worked, as you know. So what does this mean for journalistic freedom when a man with a lot of money and a grudge can set out with the intent of silencing journalists (For all the bad pieces they ran, Gawker does employ actual journalists and has produced numerous pieces of merit)?

Here is a great piece on why we shouldn’t be celebrating the downfall of Gawker. From the article:

The Gawker story is just as much about press freedom and the emerging threat of millionaires and billionaires … who are financially capable of destroying journalists and publications for nothing more than shits and giggles.

In the end, Gawker was shuttered after having to approach a media giant for a financial lifeline. Granted, this really was just the final nail in the coffin, as this piece details that there were possibly many factors to why Univision chose to shutter while keeping the remaining Gawker Media properties running.

Only time will tell what this ruling and it’s fallout mean for the future of journalists who ruffle the feathers of the financially powerful, and that is a potentially dangerous road to go down.