Gawker, Facebook, & Governing Truth
A billionaire used money and lawyers to close a company that used journalism as a weapon, but litigation doesn’t win trust. The next frontier for the future of news isn’t law, it’s governance.
The Peter Thiel vs. Gawker story is a modern parable about information power politics. It also gave a lot of people with platforms the opportunity to talk about the relationships between journalism, money, revenge, law, fame, and sex. Most writers felt the need to pick a side — either begrudging Gawker their muck-raking or Thiel his billionaire’s revenge. Many more felt compelled to defend or eulogize the innocence of their community. Despite all the pixels spilled bemoaning the unchecked power of information, money, and the legal system, there hasn’t been much discussion of how these powers go unchecked, and what we can do about it.