So Long, Gawker

I won’t be grieving
Internet • Views: 39,800

Well, it’s the end of an era, but the mourning isn’t going to be universal. Gawker.com to End Operations Next Week.

I have decidedly mixed feelings about this; I believe Gawker has done some good work and exposed some things that needed exposing, and I really dislike the idea that a billionaire can secretly fund lawsuits to destroy his personal enemies.

On the other hand, I’m one of those people who was viciously smeared by Gawker’s editor John Cook, who egregiously mischaracterized Little Green Footballs as a site that promoted “the notion that all Muslims everywhere want to kill white Americans.” While I do take responsibility for sometimes going overboard in my critiques of radical Islam in the earlier days of LGF, this portrayal is and was simply false.

Cook also wrote that LGF encouraged neo-Nazis — and that too was a false and libelous accusation, since that kind of person was absolutely never welcomed here, and in fact if anyone ever showed sympathy for this kind of garbage in our comments they were immediately banned for life, as was anyone who advocated genocide or mass deportations, or used any kind of racist rhetoric.

Some of the criticism of the early days of LGF was fair and warranted (and some of it wasn’t); I don’t argue this point. But the Gawker piece was nothing but an unfair hit job, and it was published after I had publicly renounced the right wing.

That public renunciation came at great personal cost, since the entire right wing blogosphere turned against me and I was targeted for non-stop harassment and personal attacks. This wasn’t something I did casually; I renounced the right because I simply could not stand to be associated with attitudes and positions that were becoming more and more extreme.

I’m not asking for sympathy. I knew exactly what would happen when I made the break and accepted it as part of the cost of doing what I knew to be the right thing. But to have a site like Gawker with its large readership join in on these attacks felt a lot like being stabbed in the back.

And that, dear friends, is why I’m neither celebrating nor grieving over the demise of Gawker. They did some good work, but they also had a sort of mean-spirited sanctimonious pettiness that alienated not just me, but many people.

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