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Media Censorship The Courts

Free Speech vs Billionaires: Netflix Streams A New Documentary About The Gawker Verdict (businessinsider.com) 199

Speaking of Netflix, last month they began streaming "Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press" -- a new documentary by Brian Knappenberger about the Gawker verdict. An anonymous reader shares this description from Business Insider: Knappenberger -- who previously made the movies "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz," on internet activist Aaron Swartz, and "We Are Legion," about the hacker group Anonymous -- got in touch with Nick Denton and Gawker editor-in-chief (who also posted the Hogan sex tape video) A.J. Daulerio to be in the film as well as Hogan's lawyer David R. Houston... Knappenberger said he also tried to get Peter Thiel to be in the movie, but Thiel declined Knappenberger's numerous requests. And the movie shows how other people with money and influence can and do silence the media.

Knappenberger also showcases what happened to the Las Vegas Review-Journal at the end of 2015. The paper's staff was suddenly told that the paper had been sold, though they were never told who the new publisher was. A group of reporters found that the son-in-law of Las Vegas casino titan Sheldon Adelson was a major player in the purchase of the paper. According to the movie, Adelson had a vendetta with the paper's columnist John L. Smith, who wrote unflattering things about him in a 2005 book. Smith was even ordered after the paper was bought that he was never to write about Adelson in any of his pieces. For Knappenberger, there's no other way to look at it: The suppression of the media by billionaires is happening.

Knappenberger said if any legal documents arrive from the billionaires discussed in his movie, "We're ready for it." But he added that the bigger issue is getting people to understand that the loss of the free press is "the most important thing facing our country." Or, as a former Gawker editor says in the film, "If you're not pissing off a billionaire, what's the point?"
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Free Speech vs Billionaires: Netflix Streams A New Documentary About The Gawker Verdict

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  • Yea okay (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, 2017 @04:41PM (#54821697)

    Gotta protect that sacred right to publish other people's sex tapes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by x0ra ( 1249540 )
      ... and out gay billionaire we don't politically agree with.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They also later decided he wasn't really gay because of his politics... so, yeah.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's funny how sexuality needs approval these days as if LGBT and Liberalism have become a sad parody of the church.
          Apparently biological attraction ends where arbitrary politics begins. Never expected the day would come where the left
          became the same idiots as the conservatives they used to fight in the past when left was about peace and tolerance and shit.

    • Re: Yea okay (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slasher999 ( 513533 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @06:50PM (#54822297)

      Right? This has little if anything to do with free speech. They did something not very nice and karma bit them. As for billionaires silencing anyone, that's a load as well. Go start your own company and don't be a sell out, then you can do whatever you want. Almost.

      • "This has little if anything to do with free speech. They did something not very nice" No, it's still a free speech issue.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          No, they said what they wanted to, and a judge slapped them for it. Free speech does not mean free of consequences.

          • No, AC, you're making a proper hash of things. If the legal system is punishing you for it, that means it apparently wasn't free speech.

            Lying under oath, or threatening someone violence, or shouting Fire! in a crowded theatre, or infringing copyright, are not protected under free speech. Which means the government gets to punish you for it.

            Calling someone an asshole is free speech, but you don't get immunity from consequences: that person will now dislike you.

            • by sabri ( 584428 )

              No, AC, you're making a proper hash of things. If the legal system is punishing you for it, that means it apparently wasn't free speech.

              I'm afraid you may have to take a further look into this matter. As far as I know, free speech as protected in the 1st amendment, means that

              You do not need explicit approval from the Government to express your speech (your speech being oral, writing or otherwise). There is no Government pre-censorship, and it is up to you to make sure you stay within the law of acceptable speech.

              Now obviously, the courts have also used that to define and protect censorship after the fact. In this particular case, it i

        • by Anonymous Coward

          They said in court that they would publish a porn video of a 4 year old too and even joked about it.
          This has stopped being a matter of freedom of speech and started being a matter of freedom of stupidity once they
          revealed their mental standard at that point. Such stupidity is something that shouldn't be free and unfettered.

          • I don't think you understand the concept of free speech. It's not based on one's opinion of what's being said. Stupidity or the lack thereof is not a factor.
      • and financed it with tabloid style scandals. Normally they'd have been fine. What got them is they didn't know that Hogan had that billionaire behind him until it was too late. Hogan's sex tape had some legitimate newsworthiness. Specifically his racially charged comments. As a public figure Gawker is well within their rights to report on them. What's more, we've lost a legitimate source of good 'ole fashion muck racking of the kind that used to keep abuses by the rich in check.

        Whatever your personal vi
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2017 @01:40AM (#54823707)

          Gawker was well within their rights to report on the comments, not release the tape. Much in the same way an ex-boyfriend can legally tell people how the sex went but can't sell the tape without consent of all the people in it.

          We consider revenge-porn a deplorable act. Gawker certainly was trying their damnedest to complete that act.

        • by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @02:31AM (#54823817) Journal

          Normally they'd have been fine. What got them is they didn't know that Hogan had that billionaire behind him until it was too late.

          Both statements are untrue. What got them was ignoring an order of the court to take down the nude and sexual images and videos they published without permission.

          Hogan's sex tape had some legitimate newsworthiness. Specifically his racially charged comments. As a public figure Gawker is well within their rights to report on them. What's more, we've lost a legitimate source of good 'ole fashion muck racking of the kind that used to keep abuses by the rich in check. Whatever your personal views on Gawker you're going to regret losing them as the billionaire class can now operate in shadow. Good luck starting your business if it competes with or even gets noticed by them.

          The billionaire class is already operating out of the shadows - see gawkers response to the fappening and their response to hogan. One sex scandal is "bad" because it offends gawkers ideology and the other one is "good" because it reinforces gawkers ideology: Here is the position that gawker takes. [goo.gl]

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2017 @07:04AM (#54824523) Homepage

          What got them is they didn't know that Hogan had that billionaire behind him until it was too late.

          Wrong. What got them was the fact that they refused multiple court orders to take it down. It wasn't the "billionare behind him." It wasn't because it wasn't actually newsworthy(if you define some guy screwing someone else newsworthy). It was simply that: They refused to follow the law, and the jury agreed with the reasoning with that.

        • by deesine ( 722173 )

          Gawker stopped being a tormentor of the Manhattan elite media years ago. Instead, “Whatever information we have, whatever insight we have, whatever knowledge we have, our impulse is to share it as quickly as possible, and sometimes with as little thought as possible,” Denton told me after we had settled into a small conference room. “Before you can think about it too much, just put it out there, just share it out there. I think that’s the essence of who we are.”

          That's Nick Dent

        • Interesting that the only thing that allowed Hogan to get justice was the backing of a billionaire.

          Gawker was free to trample on his personal privacy without any fear of repercussions as long as he didn't have someone to bankroll his day in court.

        • Why do the *verbal* comments requite *showing* a sex type. They could either cut out the audio portion, or simply transcribe them. If Gawker were a TV show, they could figure out how to cover the story without breaking FCC rules. Surely they could figure this out. They were multi-million dollar company.

          I hated most of the people that worked there. They were all a bunch of pricks that were full of themselves. And their attitudes were fueled by poor leadership at the top. I'm all for a news organization that

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You are free to say what you like, but you are not free from the repercussions of your actions. If you cause harm to others, you open yourself up to criminal or civil penalties.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @04:43PM (#54821711)
    Frederic Remington, an artist hired by Hearst to provide illustrations to accompany a series of articles on the Cuban Revolution, soon became bored with seemingly peaceful Cuba and wired Hearst in January 1897: "Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return." To which Hearst's alleged[6] reply was: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]–American_War
  • by TimothyHollins ( 4720957 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @04:51PM (#54821753)

    You keep talking about the press, but then you mention Gawker and Nick Denton. Make up your mind, which one is the piece about?

    There are hundreds of news organizations in the US alone that have been pressured by moneyed interests, why choose Gawker? They were the least ethical trash rag you could ever find, and both the writing and ethics quality of the US press went up by a small but significant percentage the day Hulkster gave them the final bodyslam.

    Here's the deal -
    Hulk Hogan went after them because they published (and refused to take down) his *private* recording of him doing his friend's wife (with his friend in the room ...watching). Peter Thiel funded the case because Gawker had earlier decided to out Thiel as a homosexual, something he didn't want publicly known. Both of these things are pretty gross by human standards, and the "press" is supposed to follow certain ethical guidelines if the Society of Professional Journalists is to be believed (https://www.spj.org/)

    All in all, killing Gawker and all it's vile subsidiaries (which unfortunately didn't happen) was of big help to the free press since it then had one black sheep flock less to tarnish its reputation, and there was more space left for real, actual, objective, journalism to use.

    So in summary - The free press is critical to a functional society, and Gawker's demise improved the life of everyone on the planet by a small percentage (except for dickwolves Nick Denton and Sam "Bring back bullying" Biddle)

    • The current president of the united states of america and a good portion of Congress would say similar things about the news sources you turn to. Or, if they don't, there's utterly no point in talking to you.

      Assuming you're not insane, my point is it's the grey borders of our rights that are at the front lines, the ones we're least willing to stand up for, until rights we took for granted are under attack. With gawker out of the way, they're moving onto defending a clear scammer [wsj.com] against deadspin. They're
      • As a card-carrying member of the ACLU, I'm having a hard time seeing what its mission has to do with Gawker. Even free-speech fundamentalists like us acknowledge limits, and one of those limits is the right to privacy. The only exception to that is if the speech is something newsworthy about a public figure, and that sex tape was decidedly not newsworthy.

        https://aclum.org/civil-liberties-minute/did-gawker-have-a-first-amendment-right-to-publish-hulk-hogans-sex-tape/ [aclum.org]

        With gawker out of the way, they're moving onto defending a clear scammer [wsj.com] against deadspin.

        Who's "they"? Certainly not Peter Thiel, the guy who you and this documentary are blaming for the death of freedom of the press in this country. He has nothing to do with that lawsuit.

        Rob

        • by asdfman2000 ( 701851 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @10:50PM (#54823271)

          Who's "they"?

          The bogeyman, of course! Depending on who you are pandering to, it's conservatives, alt-right, the NRA, GamerGate, MRAs, Fascists, KKK, Nazis, Neo-Nazis, etc.

          These days, it's all about whipping up a mob, and if you define the "enemy" too closely you can't get a big enough mob. It's why you have things like the "women's march" with no clear goals or message, with pro-sharia leaders [wikipedia.org], speakers who were convicted for torture and murder [wikipedia.org], and literal terrorists as organizers [snopes.com].

          Most of these people calling for "free speech" in the case of Gawker would be the first to decry it when it comes to sites like Breitbart, infowars, and Drudge Report. They're the same crowd that loves to point to this XKCD [xkcd.com] (which completely misunderstands the principle of free speech) when they push for corporate censorship of opposing political views whilst mocking defenders of free speech with the phrase "freeze peach".

        • The ACLU holds it's nose in defending the KKK's right to speech. I'm able to hold my nose defending Gawker's freedom of press.

          They're different in a lot of ways, I was only illustrating the point that "the defendant is awful" is a shitty reason to root against them.

          The "they" was specifically the lawyers representing hogan. But "they" in the general nefarious forces also works probably. I didn't see anything about Thiel regretting taking down Gawker in this manner. American oligarchs now have a bluep
          • The ACLU holds it's nose in defending the KKK's right to speech. I'm able to hold my nose defending Gawker's freedom of press.

            Then let's make this easy. What part of Hogan screwing someone is newsworthy? Because not even Gawker could answer that in court. Read the court transcripts, Gawker had nothing on top of the fact that there was repeated orders by the court to take it down.

            Why do I have a feeling that if Hogan was the opposite gender a whole pile of opinions in this comment section wold be the exact opposite, and asking questions like "why is gawker defending publishing *insert females* sex tape, this is a violation of her rights!"

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Playing devil's advocate for a moment, I guess the issue is not so much the sex tape as the fact that Thiel was able to use it to destroy Gawker in revenge for outing him. Outing him was a nasty thing to do as well, but apparently not actionable as if it was he would have sued them. Instead, he started funding other people's lawsuits against Gawker.

          It's a shitty situation all round. Most people don't have the ability to fund multiple lawsuits against people they don't like, and even if the lawsuits are with

          • To be fair, if I was Peter Thiel I would have an axe to grind for Gawker too. I think the idea behind funding other lawsuits instead of your own is that if there are any other private details they remain private instead of dragged out in public for the courts. Why go into the details of my sex life when I can use yours?

    • Hulk Hogan went after them because they published (and refused to take down) his *private* recording of him doing his friend's wife (with his friend in the room ...watching).

      ...that he talked about frequently on Howard Stern, along with Bubba, which is exactly how you keep something private. Plus he lost already in Federal court. As well there is evidence that was excluded from the case, that Bubba published the tapes and changed his testimony about it when Hogan promised not to sue him.

      Peter Thiel funded the case because Gawker had earlier decided to out Thiel as a homosexual, something he didn't want publicly known.

      ...while Thiel was fundraising in Saudi Arabia, a notoriously anti-gay society and promoting several anti-gay policies in the US government as well as making several questionable statements ab

      • by Anonymous Coward

        .>that he talked about frequently on Howard Stern, along with Bubba, which is exactly how you keep something private.

        Gawker, TMZ and other tabloids had already well publicized it so what was the point of denying, or refusing to talk about it? A comment like yours basically tries to erase the wrongdoing by Gawker in the invasion of Bollea's privacy by blaming the victim for not keeping the issue private after its already been spread all over the media and social media. The genie was let out of the bottle,

    • "All in all, killing Gawker and all it's vile subsidiaries (which unfortunately didn't happen) was of big help to the free press since it then had one black sheep flock less to tarnish its reputation, and there was more space left for real, actual, objective, journalism to use." Oh yeah? How's that going for us?
    • Gawker didn't burn to the ground. They reorganized. I find Gizmodo to be unreadable these days since the basically moved all of the Gawker staff to other parts of the company. Their principles are still alive and well, just without Nick Denton, and without the Gawker name.
  • by Marful ( 861873 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @04:57PM (#54821789)
    The Gawker case wasn't an issue of free speech [wikipedia.org], and trying to change the narrative to that is incredibly disingenuous. Gawker failed to comply with a court ruling and got taken to task for violating a court order.

    Then, THEN, Gawker decided to double down on their stupid and leak sealed documents (a recording they had in possession) of Terry Bollea going on a "racist rant" costing Bollea him his WWE job. You know, the sealed documents that only Gawker had in their possession, the videos that the previous court ordered sealed...

    So yeah, no sympathy for Gawker, what-so-fucking-ever, and this is NOT a case of "free speech".

    And of course, lets not forget this gem: [theguardian.com]

    Later asked by an attorney for Hogan if there was a situation in which a celebrity sex tape might not be newsworthy, Delaurio responded: “If they were a child.”

    The attorney then asked him to specify: a child under what age? Daulerio responded: “Four.”

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah and don't forget Gawker was happy to ruin the lives of college students who couldn't afford to sue by publishing sex tapes they begged to have taken down.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      Thiel was funding any and all lawsuits against gawker before the hogan case expressly to shut the news organization down because of what they said about him.

      You're right that gawker made serious errors in the Hogan case. Maybe they could have survived had they played that smarter. But you're living in a just world fallacy if you think that makes it okay or removes all freedom of press issues.

      I'm sure in Russia, whenever there's a murdered journalist, citizens justify it by saying "Well, RT pointed ou
      • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @06:01PM (#54822073)
        I don't know about in Russia, but when a Judge in the U.S. gives you an order, and you don't do it, thats a pretty big deal.
      • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @06:21PM (#54822161)

        You're right that gawker made serious errors in the Hogan case. Maybe they could have survived had they played that smarter. But you're living in a just world fallacy if you think that makes it okay or removes all freedom of press issues.

        There is no fallacy in believing that if Gawker made serious errors in the Hogan case and was made to compensate Hogan, that makes it OK. Those were the facts of the case, and yelling "just world fallacy" is simply a way of arguing that if reality was different, then the outcome would not have been acceptable. But reality was not different, and the only alternative is the view that if Gawker could have outspent Hogan, denied him compensation, and thus survived, that would be OK.

        Gawker wronged Hogan, started juggling metaphorical bombs, and blew itself up when its skills didn't match its own expectations.

        I don't feel sad, or threatened in my civil liberties, by the outcome.

        • You don't feel sad or threatened because you assume the press you like has virtues that gawker didn't, won't make mistakes like gawker did, and therefore won't be brought down in the same way gawker was. That's a just world fallacy.

          Whatever news sources you favor is run by humans who will have their own foibles and will make mistakes. If they're actually doing journalism, they will be making enemies too, who have a blueprint for how to take down news organizations they don't like. The journalism you lik
          • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

            You don't feel sad or threatened because you assume the press you like has virtues that gawker didn't, won't make mistakes like gawker did, and therefore won't be brought down in the same way gawker was. That's a just world fallacy.

            It's really not. One would have to reason back from the result, [psychcentral.com] not forward from the cause to engage in that fallacy. Reasoning forward from the cause is known as "accountability." We have courts to prevent such fallacious reasoning while providing accountability. Do I really

      • I don't give a shit that Gawker was run by rude incompetent assholes who ignored the law, an oligarch shutting them down is definitely troubling in terms of freedom of press and speech.

        An oligarch did not shut gawker down. They shut themselves down by telling a court to fuck off.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    either work for multi-national corporations, or oligarchs. Its rather silly to believe that free speech is being stifled by billionaires now when editorial decisions of news organizations have always had to contend with the influence of advertisers, or publishing owners. or the government. There's always been friction there and there always will be.

  • ...then every pervert posting illicit upskirt pictures of women without permission is a champion of the first amendment.

    Many of the interviewees huff about the First Amendment, and yet not one of them explains how “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” applies to publishing a sex tape made without permission [nationalreview.com]. A Florida jury was asked to consider the following questions: Was posting the video offensive to a reasonable person? Was it devoid of news value? Did Gawker founder Nick Denton participate in posting the video? The answers to the first and third questions are hardly debatable. As for news value: If Hogan’s sex tape is fair game, whose isn’t? Given that women are the usual targets of this sort of thing, it’s surreal to hear so many members of the supposed Party of Women (TM) say that there is a legitimate public interest in viewing any famous person’s bedroom activities. Try to imagine liberals making the case that Breitbart has the First Amendment right to publish a covertly recorded sex tape involving, say, Tina Fey or Rachel Maddow simply because some sleaze merchant shopped it to them.

    Asked in a deposition about what celebrity sex tapes he wouldn’t publish, one Albert J. Daulerio, another former Gawker editor and the author of a snarky blog post accompanying the Hulkster’s sex tape on the site, is seen saying, “If they were a child.” Under what age? “Four,” he says, and the jury that heard this could no longer entertain any doubts about the sort of people with whom it was dealing.

  • as a former Gawker editor says in the film, "If you're not pissing off a billionaire, what's the point?"

    I do not believe free speech provides a cloak of invulnerability that allows a person to insult someone they don't like, without any consequences.

    And if you make a business out of honking-off powerful people, you should not be surprised when they eventually decide to squash your like a bug.

    Also, nobody should be under the illusion that dishing the dirt (whether true or not) on people you envy, just because you disagree with them or dislike what they stand for, is by default responsible journalism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, 2017 @05:27PM (#54821915)

    Worth a read. Even Hulk Hogan couldn't afford justice and needed a billionaire's help.

    https://jebkinnison.com/2016/06/29/the-justice-is-too-damn-high-gawker-the-high-cost-of-litigation-and-the-weapon-shops-of-isher/

  • by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @05:47PM (#54822013)

    This is pure historical revisionism, and it's disgusting to watch. I wonder if they feel the same way about the fappening awhile back, with all the leaks of nude female celebrities.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My plan is to steal random neighbors' stuff, and then do an anonymous blog about the various items I take.

      Then if I'm arrested, I'll get off on First Amendment grounds.

      Seems a solid plan, precedent is on my side. And I can blog extensively rating various lawnmowers, bikes, tools, and house decorative items.

    • in the entertainment biz. Most celebrities use the publicity to their advantage and happily pocket the settlement money. That's where Gawker screwed up. They thought this was a routine legal dispute over a celebrity sex tape. That Hogan was in it for the publicity and money same as them. If Gawker really was just an entertainment rag this wouldn't be an issue. But then again, if they were just an entertainment rag they wouldn't have gotten shut down by a billionaire and his money.

      For what it's worth Gaw
  • Only an idiot or a person who wanted to publish clickbait would even consider publishing garbage like this.

  • ThIel went after gawker for outing him as a gay guy supporting anti gay legislation. THAT was the kickoff.
  • Just to say, I enjoyed it. I especially liked the structure, which focused on the main law suit, before introducing the Thiel issue, and then moving on to discuss other issues. It packaged up a multi-layered story in a neat, easily-digestible bundle.

  • Really? REAALLY? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @06:46PM (#54822267)

    I feel so bad... so terrible... for a magazine that outed gay men, and leaked people's private sexual activities.

    When "Gawker"--a universally hated organization among journalists and human beings--are "The good guys", it's pretty easy to call bullshit on the entire thesis of the documentary. What's next? Saying pedophiles are just misunderstood?

    http://gawker.com/5941037/born... [gawker.com]

    Oh.... shit.

  • by sciengin ( 4278027 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @07:51PM (#54822605)

    Gawker has zero shit to do with anything resembling journalism.
    Gawker (and all its subsites) is just industrialized slander, nothing more. If the HH-case were the first mistake they made, I would think different, but this case was really just the straw that broke the donkeys back. 10 years of abuse towards its interns, readers, the general public, gun owners, photographs... that finally came crashing down.

    They were one of those street thugs that thought messing with a made man was a good idea to show everyone how tough they are. Now they lie in the ditch with a hole in the head and whine about it.

    A monster in a horror flick does not become the innocent final girl just because it has flayed her and now wears her skin and face; Gawker is not journalism even though they occasionally employ journalistoid techniques.

  • by Bartles ( 1198017 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @09:54PM (#54823043)

    ...of this netflix documentary and laughed out loud. It obviously casts Hulk Hogan as the villian and Gawker as an innocent crushed under the bootheel of censorship. This is so far from reality and the views of everyone who knows anything about this story. It is very clear that this "documentary" 's purpose is solely to push an agenda. Complete and total crap.

  • by LeftCoastThinker ( 4697521 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @10:15PM (#54823131)

    If the press actually cared about the truth and having accurate, verified facts, I would care more. As it is, Gawker got what they legally deserved, and I hope Hogan owns the houses of the asshats in charge at Gawker and everyone else associated with that sex tape too. Actions have consequences, and we have an out of control press these days that cares more about their agenda than they do about the truth. That is by far more dangerous to our democracy than a few rich people buying newspapers to get better press.

    Something like 50% of all adults no longer trust CNN now, thanks to all their BS reporting of the Russian hacking and followon reporting. That is not a good place to be for a news outlet. When CNN ties MSNBC for distrust numbers, maybe they will clean house and start pursuing the truth, regardless of who benefits... But I am not holding my breath.

  • The Gawker editor who said, in the movie, "If you're not pissing off a billionaire, what's the point?" identifies the problem. Journalism's point isn't to annoy rich people. That a Gawker editor thinks it is shows that Gawker was never legitimate journalism. Just tawdry gossip.

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