Just How Bad Is Gawker, Anyway?

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So: Gawker. The general reaction of the press to the revelation that billionaire Peter Thiel has been behind the libel suit against Gawker all along has been close to unanimous: it’s bad. The generally accepted storyline is that Thiel was pissed off at Gawker for outing him as gay many years ago, and has been plotting revenge ever since. His deep pockets pretty much ensured that eventually he’d be able to sue them into oblivion, and sure enough, he has.

But do we really want a world in which angry billionaires who don’t like the press they get can use their riches to put news organizations out of business? They don’t even have to win. Just file enough lawsuits that meet the bare minimum standard to keep from being frivolous, and eventually they’ll win. Now that Thiel has proven the concept, we can expect a lot more of this. See Felix Salmon for a good precis of this argument.

However, there’s another point of view. John Hempton expresses it eloquently:

Ryan Holiday makes a pretty good case for the odiousness of Gawker here. Nick Denton, the owner of Gawker, more or less responds that Thiel should just suck it up. This kind of shit gets published all the time in places like New York and Washington DC. Why shouldn’t Silicon Valley have to put up with it too?

What to think? Here’s the problem: I don’t read Gawker. I’ve been on their site once in a while, and generally find it boring. I click on things here and there, and mostly find writers desperately trying to bring some snark to a topic that’s really kind of dull. So I go away for a year or so before something happens to bring me back.

So here’s what I need: a Gawker-style listicle that sets out, say, the ten most loathsome things Gawker has done. Does anyone know where I can find something like that?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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