Re: The End Of Gawker? We Can Hope.

1

Immoral is exactly right. They're abetting a shakedown. Wtf?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:03 PM
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It really is shitty. What's the angle, at all? Why the anonymity? "Here is a regular, successful but not-famous person. Now we will allow an anonymous lunatic to ruin his life, for money."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:15 PM
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Anything tawdry here is on the hooker's side. We don't know that DG was cheating on his wife. We do know Mr Anonymous attempted to extort him.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:20 PM
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The only thing I can think of (stuck another sentence in the post) is that it's some kind of fuck you to Conde Nast, and between wrecking someone for no good reason, and wrecking someone just to poke a finger in the eye of his employer, there's no lesser of two evils.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:21 PM
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"This crazy guy I met claimed this dude who is the brother of a dude who was in the Obama administration wanted to have sex with him. Please look at me. Please. I am a journalist. I need you to look at me, and hate this person you have never heard of. Please."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:23 PM
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Man, I like deadspin, despite gawker's horribleness, but I might just have to quit them too on (fuck everything) principle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:24 PM
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Right. We have no idea what's up with DG's marriage because, oh right, it's none of our fucking business. And as johns go, he seems pretty damn considerate and accommodating. Some lunatic conspiracist tries to blackmail him and Gawker says, sure, we'll help you do that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:25 PM
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I haven't read the article, how can Gawker help someone blackmail someone? Once the knowledge is public there's no remaining blackmail threat?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:26 PM
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Crazy dude tells gawker something, Gawker calls the blackmail victim to ask about it. Now crazy dude has leverage.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:29 PM
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Cute how Gawker can on the one hand try to run a high-minded moral crusade to shut down Reddit for being a cesspool full of hate speech, and on the other hand pull blatantly unethical shit like this.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:29 PM
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This post is a de facto link. Ogged is the real villain here.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:30 PM
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The idea being that if he pays out then the crazy person will retract their claim and then Gawker will decide not to publish?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:30 PM
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Crazy dude -- the only one doing anything wrong -- is allowed to remain anonymous, thus keeping his escort career. Because who the fuck would hire crazy blackmail guy?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:31 PM
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12: As the article describes it, he would get Gawker to kill the story if his demands are met. (He wasn't asking for money but for political strings to be pulled to help him in a dispute with a landlord.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:33 PM
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He apparently even told Gawker that DG had agreed. And yet, Gawker published the story anyway.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:34 PM
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Why would this be the end of Gawker? Serious question.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:38 PM
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Why would this be the end of Gawker?

Everyone (on twitter) (and Gawker is trending) finds this repugnant. One imagines that perhaps, like the noble Tweety, people will stop reading them. Or DG will sue them to dust.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:40 PM
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Wow. At least the comments on that piece are pretty uniformly of the "WTF IS THIS SHIT?" variety, which is reassuring.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:41 PM
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Cute how Gawker can on the one hand try to run a high-minded moral crusade to shut down Reddit for being a cesspool full of hate speech, and on the other hand pull blatantly unethical shit like this.

Ironically, I was literally reading one of their Reddit posts when ogged posted this one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:41 PM
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17: I never took you for an optimist.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:44 PM
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16: speculating, but could this impact the decision in the suit Hulk Hogan is bringing against them? The Hulkster wins, gets his $100m payout, and Gawker has to fold up shop?


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:44 PM
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This post is a de facto link. Ogged is the real villain here.

Actually, in the spirit of Ogged's refusal to link, I refused to Google, and now I'm using the comments to treat the question as a logic game. I have made no progress so far.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:48 PM
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Never work. Nobody ever heard of the guy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:53 PM
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24

The only other thing I learned is that if you are going to become a terrorist, you should plan ahead and try to take a high school yearbook photo that makes you look like less of a fucking tool.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 8:56 PM
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If the guy pictured is DG and not the hooker, how good do gay hookers look these days?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:01 PM
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24: Due to the mildly confusing layout I at first thought that was an advertisement for the escort.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:11 PM
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Gawker has had so many stories consisting of "Random person said something you should find repugnant, it'll be funny if you all get mad at that person" that someone must have thought this was just another one of those.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:13 PM
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16- perhaps he means end in the anatomical sense.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:25 PM
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ogged doesn't seem like one mince words that way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:47 PM
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Yeah but I don't think you can embed images in post titles.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:48 PM
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Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 9:49 PM
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Well this was a poorly timed interview.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-16-15 10:36 PM
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Actually, in the spirit of Ogged's refusal to link, I refused to Google, and now I'm using the comments to treat the question as a logic game. I have made no progress so far.

Same here. I have no idea what the story is. All I know is that Gawker is sitting to the left of the girl with the red hair, but to the right of someone with glasses.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 2:08 AM
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And I suspect that's as much as I want to know.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 2:25 AM
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Summary for the perplexed: Tim Geithner's brother (married, 3 kids, CFO of Conde Nast) tried to arrange a hookup with a gay porn star for money. Porn star cottons to his political connections and tries to pressure him into using them to help with a personal dispute with HUD. DG cancels their meeting. Hooker contacts Gawker. Gawker runs with it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 4:28 AM
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What are the chances that a closeted gay man works at CN? And he has a famous last name that people would recognize? Pretty low. Gawker got hoaxed.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 4:33 AM
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37

*with kids*


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 4:34 AM
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38

That is one high-maintenance escort.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 4:36 AM
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39

I guess he thought going to the press would get publicity for his fight with HUD maybe?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 4:44 AM
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40

Someone needs to googleproof 35.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:19 AM
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40: because... summarizing a widely-viewed public article is grounds for a lawsuit? Seems unlikely. Some other reason?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:22 AM
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38: Leasing is supposed to make maintenance somebody else's problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:22 AM
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40: because... summarizing a widely-viewed public article is grounds for a lawsuit? Seems unlikely.

Actually, in the UK it is.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:28 AM
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44

41: b/c there's no reason to further the spread of a tawdry blackmail tale?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:29 AM
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45

Does Denton never leave the U.S. for fear of a libel suit?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:38 AM
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46

I guess it's not war crimes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:39 AM
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43: well, it would be grounds if the article were libellous. Not sure that is the case here...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:45 AM
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24: you should plan ahead and try to take a high school yearbook photo that makes you look like less of a fucking tool.

It is sort of the modern equivalent of wearing clean underwear in case you get in a ca wreck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 5:56 AM
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41: b/c there's no reason to further the spread of a tawdry blackmail tale?

If Unfogged comments popping up in a Google search for his name were actually on the radar of the guy's worries, sure, but I think that horse has left the barn.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:17 AM
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50

Horse radar!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:18 AM
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"The Worries Have Horse Radar" is a solid name for a spooky kids book.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:19 AM
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52

Hulk Hogan's vengeance can't come soon enough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:41 AM
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53

27.

the site is called "Gawker" after all.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 7:28 AM
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54

"They ping horses, don't they?"


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:12 AM
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55

The part of the whole thing that annoys me the most is the g/a/merg/ate people claiming vindication.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:22 AM
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55 That hadn't even occurred to me but shit yeah.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:28 AM
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55: It's not clear to me how this relates to gam/er/ga/te but making sense wasn't a big part of that, so.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:55 AM
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57: one of the recurring themes of g/amer/gate mythology is that hostility to their cause (whatever it is) is all a big conspiracy ginned up by gawker.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:21 AM
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I'm not sure how this could conceivably vindicate the Gamergate position re: Gawker. I mean, people knew Gawker sucked long before GG types decided Denton was personally doxxing them, let alone before this thing, whatever it is. Is the idea that the purported anti-GG team of investigators were behind this story?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:32 AM
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60

You're really attempting to apply too much logic here.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:46 AM
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You guys saw Denton took the post down, right?

http://nick.kinja.com/taking-a-post-down-1718581684


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 11:49 AM
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I hadn't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 11:52 AM
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63

has anyone blamed this on the labor movement yet?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 12:10 PM
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63: Probably D/v/d A//rbach.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 12:15 PM
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Somewhere along the line, I got into the habit of reading Gawker, Jezebel, and IO9, because they were funny, left leaning, and easy to read when you are procrastinating. I always felt guilty about it, at least the Gawker front page part. What should I look at instead when I want to take a five minute break from work?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 1:27 PM
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The Awl?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 1:43 PM
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The Toast.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 1:46 PM
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The Toast is the best thing since The Sliced Bread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 1:49 PM
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63

he did a these people did not sufficiently condemn

https://twitter.com/AuerbachKeller/status/622110699288969216


Posted by: lemmycaution | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 2:41 PM
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It's getting interestingly meta, as the newly-created union is condemming the takedown of the original post by the wrong layer: http://politburo.gawker.com/a-statement-from-the-gawker-media-editorial-staff-1718649722

Not sure this is a good test case for their process grievances.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 3:16 PM
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Apparently, some of the most important people in media read The Awl.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 3:22 PM
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There's only one conclusion we can draw from the fact that the story got taken down. Ogged gets results. He speaks, and people listen. So why hasn't he ended racism in America? The only conclusion we can draw is that he, like David Brooks, likes it this way.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 3:27 PM
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70 to 63.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 11:41 PM
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I reckon that most British tabloids would have published the story had the victim been CFO equivalent, and with those family connections, either at the bbc or a well known liberal media empire -- it's true, so far as we can tell, and it would have damaged an enemy employer's reputation for probity, however unfairly. Had he worked, however, for a company like the one he does, there would be silence. Or even a commecial TV company.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 1:27 AM
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65: I'm tempted to say "the good parts of Reddit," but there are several problems with that.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 4:37 AM
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One of the Gawker editors angry response to the takedown was: "Gawker will always report on C-suite executives who cheat on their wives." Which 1. is some retrograde Moral Majority stuff and 2. presents facts not in evidence. After this a writer I quite like (M/a/ria B/u/s/tillos) wrote that she didn't see how this was any different from exposing Dennis Hastert or Larry Craig. That just has to be dishonest rather than anything she actually believes.

There's also a double-reverse-leftier- than-thou response gaining traction of "Why do you care about a rich white man being outed and not about sex workers being murdered?"

Which again is not only dishonest, but as much of a non sequitur as "and not about shark finning."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 7:07 AM
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Remember when blogs were going to create a new heaven and a new earth progressive populism empowered by the consensus that the Internet made possible?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 7:22 AM
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75: helpy-chalk definitely shouldn't be browsing gonewild Syu work.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 7:32 AM
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"Syu"? Swype, you are a mystery sometimes.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 7:32 AM
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"browsing gonewild Syu work" is found poetry.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 7:35 AM
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77: No.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 8:10 AM
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81: Well, I do. I think it was around the time that the Wonkette lady was on the cover of the NYT magazine.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 11:54 AM
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And now, per J, Robot at the other place, we learn that the entire story might not even be true. In which case, "The End of Gawker" may well be nigh.

"In an interview with the Daily Caller, [the escort]--who has posted videos claiming that Barack Obama is "the son of the Devil" and the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the Russians--spouted a variety of conspiracy theories concerning the well-connected Geithner family."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 1:31 PM
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84

Jet boy can't melt steel beams


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-18-15 1:42 PM
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And just to finish off this thread, editors Craggs and Read have resigned citing (I shit you not) journalistic principle.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 10:47 AM
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Gawker does a nice job reporting the story, and Denton comes off very well, I think, despite the fact that the author of the piece clearly sides with Craggs and Read.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 11:14 AM
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85, 86 -- the Gawker culture of radical corporate transparency even in the threat of lawsuits is endlessly fascinating to me. From my professional standpoint, it's like looking into the ultimate transgressive other. I feel dirty and thrilled just reading that on the internet.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 11:20 AM
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87: It is really a very strange website. You have left leaning people conducting experiments with new forms of capitalism, but it is all applied to tawdry, gossip-based journalism.

It is this weird combination that is bringing them down. An old-school skanky tabloid would not have been shamed into pulling down a story just because it was a thinly sourced hit piece on someone who was not a public figure. Hasn't the NY Post recently been running stories devoted to making fun of one individual homeless man?

Gawker only attracts outrage because they have done things that raised people's expectations of them.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 11:42 AM
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An old-school skanky tabloid would not have been shamed into pulling down a story just because it was a thinly sourced hit piece on someone who was not a public figure.

Can't agree there. Old-school skanky tabloids are, believe me, extraordinarily tightly governed by libel laws and lawyers -- their whole business model depends on knowing just where the line is and how close they can get to it. But the Gawker just-say-fuck-it business model is something very different and, I agree, interesting. They also don't seem to have bought (or maybe they're not able to buy) insurance.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:01 PM
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89: You are probably right---you are closer to this industry than I am.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:05 PM
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Old-school skanky tabloids are, believe me, extraordinarily tightly governed by libel laws and lawyers -- their whole business model depends on knowing just where the line is and how close they can get to it.

Carol Burnett drew one of the big red lines back in the day. After her suit against the Enquirer, that publication changed substantially and became much more careful about the facts.

That didn't keep John Edwards and his defenders from having an easy time questioning the Enquirer's credibility. But if one understands how to read the Enquirer, one finds that it's pretty reliable. (This is also true of the New York Times.)

I think rob and Roberto are each half-right about rob's statement:

An old-school skanky tabloid would not have been shamed into pulling down a story just because it was a thinly sourced hit piece on someone who was not a public figure.

The skanky tabs have no shame - they wouldn't be "shamed" into doing anything. As I think Roberto would agree, if they were satisfied that a story was completely true, they wouldn't pull it.

That said, if they came to the conclusion that a story was "thinly sourced," they'd pull it (but not out of shame). Or, as I think Roberto is saying, they wouldn't have run it in the first place.

If I ran the Enquirer (or Gawker), my lawyers would have had a look at this Geithner story before it got posted. (And I'd fire any editor who failed to do so.)

I wonder if Roberto can enlighten us on the actual process in the real world for how stories like this are legally vetted pre-publication.

Gawker only attracts outrage because they have done things that raised people's expectations of them.

I think that's right.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:35 PM
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on the actual process in the real world for how stories like this are legally vetted pre-publication.

Many places need formal sign-off by an in-house lawyer before publication. But, more importantly, the tabloids have very strict rules for what you do and what you document to avoid a libel suit -- create a record of the person's public figure status to put in the file. Detail just enough of your investigation to get you over the actual malice standard. Pay attention to your phrasing. They have constant training by lawyers on how to do this. A story like this, with a questionable source and a private figure, never would have run. The same story might have run if it were Tim Geithner, but there would have almost certainly been more attempts at third-party confirmation. And anything this close to the line I think would need lawyer approval pretty much anywhere, maybe even by outside counsel.

It's stunning (to me) that Gawker didn't, apparently, run this through lawyers at all.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:40 PM
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"maybe even" should probably be "almost certainly"


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:42 PM
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, there was a lawyer involved, though. She was one of the two people who voted to keep the piece up


Posted by: nw | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 1:54 PM
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94: Voting to keep it up is a separate issue from pre-publication vetting. Once published, I doubt they could count on much of a discount from liability for pulling it down.

My best guess is that Denton was acting out of genuine concern for his publication's reputation, rather than legal concern. (That's actually a false dichotomy: He has a real legal concern that's directly reputation-related. He's worried about how the Hogan case will go given the unfavorable publicity from the Geithner story.)

I haven't paid enough attention to this to have a sense of the Geithner story's likely holes, but if it's reasonably demonstrably true, then Gawker is in good legal shape. And if Geithner isn't going to want to go to court to show which parts are false, then Gawker is also (legally) in good shape.

Mind you, given the legal risks of defaming a non-public figure, I think Gawker was nuts to publish this. And, of course, I am in general agreement with everyone here (and Denton, it seems) that it was a shitty thing to do.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 2:31 PM
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I like to stay informed, so I watched some porn made by the guy identified as the Gawker informant. Meh.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 2:39 PM
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96: It's nice that some commenters still care.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 3:47 PM
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on the actual process in the real world for how stories like this are legally vetted pre-publication.

In the UK at least, most vetting is done by editors rather than lawyers, though above a certain risk threshold you get the lawyers in. They'll walk through the various potentially defamatory statements and make sure you can stand them all up. As a secondary matter (and this won't apply in the US, but it has parallels with the actual malice test), they'll walk through the Reynolds defence tests, even though those aren't supposed to be a checklist any more. And some places, particularly those who've had some libel/privacy judgments against them, are likely to have lower thresholds enforced on them by their insurers. In my experience, though, a lawyer's never going to tell you not to run a story (on libel grounds anyway, privacy is another matter and one I haven't dealt with professionally) if you're confident in its truth and its sourcing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-21-15 1:56 AM
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I haven't paid enough attention to this to have a sense of the Geithner story's likely holes

Tsk, straight people always act like gay sex is so exotic. Same holes as everybody else, silly.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 07-21-15 7:09 AM
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