Techdirt Podcast Episode 88: The Gawker Debate

from the free-speech dept

Gawker's gone, and that's that. And yet, whenever we've expressed concerns over the billionaire vendetta that brought it down, we've faced a huge amount of pushback from people who had problems with the site and its reporting practices. This week, we're joined by Parker Thompson aka Startup L. Jackson for a friendly debate about whether the Gawker shutdown really is a big deal.

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Filed Under: first amendment, hulk hogan, parker thompson, podcast
Companies: gawker


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2016 @ 4:00pm

    Of course

    And yet, whenever we've expressed concerns over the billionaire vendetta that brought it down, we've faced a huge amount of pushback from people who had problems with the site and its reporting practices.

    Of course! It is very easy to get people to agree to removing everyone's rights the moment someone does something they do not like.

    The same logic has justified Slavery, Murder, Theft, and all manor of ill activity and Government Tyranny. Why do you think the first attempt everyone makes against their enemies is the present them in a bad light? Once you do that, it is shocking easy to get people to do the wrong thing because "they had it coming".

    If you will not protect liberty for a dirt bag, then you are also rejecting liberty for the innocent. You want people to give up liberty? Just tell them you cannot stop the bad people without it and over they roll.

    Every Nation gets the Government it DESERVES! There is no exception!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 2:59am

    The real takeaway is that it took a millionaire to take it down. Previously they just used their lawyers to settle with people they wronged or otherwise outspent injured parties.

    When the playing field was level, Gawker lost.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 3:39am

    Money should not be speech nor guilty of a crime. It is a storage of value.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MoSlo, 31 Aug 2016 @ 4:50am

    Non-American here.

    Something I can't quite figure: everyone keeps saying Gawker got brought down by billionaire etc etc... but when I look at it subjectively it was really the damages awarded by the court or similar (I'm massively paraphrasing; didn't follow everything in detail). So while the case against Gawker was bankrolled by the wealthy (the lawyer fees at least), it was all down to whether the courts ruled against Gawker. In this case it doesn't matter how much money you throw at the case.

    Did a billionaire really influence the court's decision or did the court bring Gawker down? If it's the former, surely the bigger issue is the court being compromised/influenced? Yet I keep seeing people say that Thiel succeeded while he only played a role that the courts ended up agreeing with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      Something I can't quite figure: everyone keeps saying Gawker got brought down by billionaire etc etc... but when I look at it subjectively it was really the damages awarded by the court or similar (I'm massively paraphrasing; didn't follow everything in detail). So while the case against Gawker was bankrolled by the wealthy (the lawyer fees at least), it was all down to whether the courts ruled against Gawker. In this case it doesn't matter how much money you throw at the case.


      Yes, it was this one court decision that brought down Gawker, but that decision wouldn't have happened if it were not for the billionaire.

      Here's why: (1) Jurisdiction shopping: previously the case was rejected by 2 courts as clearly First Amendment protected. Having lots of extra cash meant being able to keep shopping until you find a judge (the most reversed judge in the state, btw) who agrees with you. (2) It wasn't just this lawsuit, but the piling on of multiple bogus lawsuits, which added up the legal fees for Gawker. (3) The support of the billionaire made it possible for Hogan and the lawyers to make some... weird judicial decisions, such as rejecting a massive settlement offer and dropping specific charges that got the insurance company out of the case (normally you want the insurance company to cover to get more money).

      So, yes, in the end a judicial decision (one that will almost certainly be overturned) brought it down, but that was only possible because of a billionaire dead set on destroying the company.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        MoSlo, 1 Sep 2016 @ 1:06am

        Re: Re:

        Thanks, that was WAY more informative than what I've generally been hearing online.

        Personally, I feel Gawker's practices meant it was just a matter of time when the dice rolled against them or they offended someone powerful enough (don't out people; it's their lives).

        Legally/objectively (free-speech-aly), I can understand the problem in how it was done.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:38pm

    i can't get behind them

    im not really concerned with this to be honest. that site pretty much destroyed people for fun in profit. they acted like pri#ks to everyone and they always struck me as the kind of people that would hold a rape victim's photos over her head while she begged them to take it down. they kept going after people over and over knowing that they could stave it off with the money they had from being pri$$ and they finally found another pr$$ that was even more rich than them and when they tried to slap they got thrown to the ground. and then they begged for sympathy from people saying *we do good things too!* like apparently you can buy ethics credits to stave off the bad things that you do. i can't feel anything here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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