Gawker has long been known to do whatever they wanted to bring in clicks. Most people call it “clickbait” but you could call it “anti-journalism” since it’s less about informing people and more about causing outrage. It’s turned into what’s now being labeled as the era of “outrage media”, where a site uses said clickbait to drum up outrage in their audience. Gawker did this when they lied about #GamerGate, and they’ve managed to do it again when they outed the CFO of Conde Naste in an article that garnered so much hatred across the web that they actually buried their ego just enough to finally relent and take down the article.
The article has been removed and Gawker founder Nick Denton offered up an apology, but the original piece was about Conde Nast’s CFO, titled “Condé Nast’s CFO Tried To Pay $2,500 for a Night With a Gay Porn Star”. It was published on July 16th, 2015.
It was about an escort attempting to blackmail the CFO who had connections with a politician. The piece was scraping a barrel with a bottom that was too ashamed to be scraped. The result was that some of Gawker’s own staff felt the site had gone too far.
Gawker’s Timothy Burke from the editorial staff made it clear where he stood; in the post where the company apologized for running the tawdry piece, stating…
“A large percentage of the Gawker Media editorial staff disagreed with Gawker’s decision to publish the post to which this statement refers. Our opposition to the removal of the post lies solely in the process by which that decision was made, not in regard to the content of the post itself.”
“This isn’t about the content of a post, which plenty of writers on my team had strong concerns about today. It’s about our company’s approach to editorial freedom and transparency.”
A Jezebel writer – another subsidiary under the Gawker media wing – also defended Gawker, trying to say that it was good to knock people down a peg.
However, even senior Gawker writer Adam Weinstein, over on Tumblr, had to concede that Gawker had stepped a step too far from counter-culture blogging to outright “bad journalism”. Weinstein waxed whining against #GamerGate while also condemning Gawker like some kind of self-flagellating, self-righteous blogger without a compass to find his own self-awareness…
“[…] none of this vindicates any of the psychotic, hateful, performatively sanctimonious self-marketing of Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yianawhatever, “gamergaters,” and the bevy of cold, craven, retrograde pre-fab apartment-dwelling souls who are waging an inane jihad against Gawker Media, feminism, and cultural justice. They are wrong. They are twisted. They are abusive. And I could give three hot farts about their crocodile tears for David Geithner and his family. What pisses me off the most about this lapse in editorial judgment is that it’s (again) enabled this barely coherent rabble of internet bullies to signal boost their dumb assertions about Gawker en masse, and to get them taken seriously for a dumb nanosecond.”
Weinstein, however, had to bring up #GamerGate because for the past 11 months Gawker and #GamerGate have been fighting across social media, leaving nothing in its wake but dust, tears and scorched comment sections with more butt-hurt than a waiting room full of first-time proctology patients.
Former antagonist of #GamerGate, Ian Miles Cheong – the managing editor of the gaming website GameRanx – chimed in to admit that maybe the internet cultural revolt against censorship, bad journalism and unethical behavior in the press isn’t such a bad thing.
Remember when that group of people everyone likes to pretend doesn't exist suggested we e-mail Gawker's advertisers? Yeah, do that.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) July 17, 2015
@sdw On the flip side, if I start disliking Gawker, that basically aligns me with Gamer Gate!?! Ahhhhhhhh nooooooo
— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) July 17, 2015
Even people staunchly opposed to #GamerGate’s fight for ethics had to admit to some modicum of conciliation with the consumers mounting a revolt against sites like Gawker, with writer and blogger Jeff Fecke, amongst others, writing on Twitter…
I hate when bleeping GooberGotterdammerung is right. It hasn't happened before now, but still. https://t.co/C3UuuAPUj2
— Jeff Fecke (@jkfecke) July 17, 2015
The comments on every Gawker article is amazing – All the redditors and Gamer gaters rushing to take shots at Gawker.
— C. Knapp (@hockeynightdoc) July 17, 2015
Gawker actually did something so wrong that they made gamer gate do the right thing I'm scared
— Deport Donald Trump (@rowast) July 17, 2015
Part of this about-face from the online community in supporting, or at least tangentially acknowledging #GamerGate’s finger-pointing of Gawker’s bad behavior, comes from numerous instances where Gawker has partaken in what many have considered to be unethical defamation and purposed character assassination.
What’s worse is that they even had an article on Jezebel in January of 2014 condemning media for outing trans and gay individuals.
This also comes short on the heels of Hulk Hogan going full Hulkamania on Gawker in a lawsuit about the sex tape they published of him a while back.
Their continued efforts to libel, defame and put down private citizens and public celebrities alike even caused the gentle giant and YouTube star Boogie2988 to lash out against them.
Been reading up on gawker media and the things they have done for clicks and all I can say is FUCK gawker and anyone associated with it.
— Boogie2988 (@Boogie2988) July 17, 2015
The e-mail campaigns to their advertisers have been numerous and expedient. Consumers, readers and gamers alike have decided to fight back against the media giant where it hurts the most: their ad revenue.
Over on Kotaku in Action someone purportedly received a response from Netflix where the company stated…
“I will take your complaint and make sure it gets to the right people here today, we are always here to listen and we do take your opinions seriously.”
Even the Society of Professional Journalists stepped in to condemn Gawker in a piece titled “We Expect Better, Gawker“.
Website Adland.tv wrote a piece exclaiming that Gawker went from “toxic” to “radioactive”, with author David Fenton writing…
“Simply put, Gawker has always been dangerous. That’s not an opinion. This isn’t an editorial. That’s a fact. However this steps over the line in so many ways. There’s no excuse to blackmail someone and hide it behind the flimsy excuse of journalism. There is no excuse.”
But this has been a common occurrence with Gawker for quite some time, as pointed out by a former writer for Gawker, Richard Lawson, who admitted to smearing in the name of clicks…
— Stuart Hayashi (@legendre007) July 17, 2015
Keep in mind that the reason people have such a low opinion of #GamerGate is because media websites like Gawker purposefully crafted a narrative to depict it to the public as a hate campaign, this happened after #GamerGate targeted Nathan Grayson and Stephen Totilo on charges of journalistic impropriety and unethical behavior in covering up a conflict of interest between a developer and an editor.
The general public finally gets to see the monster #GamerGate has been fighting for the past 11 months. The “doxxing” and “rape threats” and “death threats”? Those happened from random egg accounts that were made and deleted that day but it had nothing to do with #GamerGate – those individuals didn’t even use the hashtag. This information was corroborated by a peer reviewed WAM! report that statistically absolved majority of the people on the GG Autoblocker list from being harassers.
The reality is that the whole harassment narrative was concocted in part by the Game Journo Pros, a group that contained several Gawker employees, and that group has been found to have partaken in some very unethical behavior. It was mirrored after JournoList after all.
Hopefully the narrative will finally break down and the truth will finally get out, and normal everyday people will finally see just how dangerous it is to have a media website control public perception through defamation, misinformation and agenda-driven deception.
Some normies and those who even classify as “anti-#GamerGate” are actually helping #GamerGate by partaking in the Operation Disrespectful Nod e-mail campaign. A campaign, I might add, that originally was put into effect last year in the fall, back when Gawker and other unethical media websites attacked and defamed the gaming industry.