Confronted this week with the revelation that he has been bankrolling lawsuits by the pro wrestler Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, and others against Gawker, Thiel sought to justify his vendetta by casting the online media organization as a “bully” and himself as a heroic vigilante. “It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” he told the New York Times. “I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”
Framing his intentions in terms of “deterrence” is not likely to help Thiel’s cause, given that the most persuasive criticism of his actions is that they establish a dangerous road map for billionaires to muzzle unfriendly media coverage. It’s also hard to fully buy his avowed revulsion to attention-getting bullies, given that he’s a pledged delegate for Donald Trump and has supported the stunt journalism of James O’Keefe. But the real flaw in his justification lies in his misunderstanding of Gawker’s place in the media landscape—a misunderstanding that seems to be widely shared by his fellow tech founders and venture capitalists, to judge from their reactions to the story.
“Silicon Valley Needs a Valleywag” – Salon.com
a status message from Facebook, June 11, 2016 at 08:17AM