Last summer, on a Friday afternoon, the HMA team popped some popcorn and settled in to watch Nobody Speak, the Netflix documentary on the takedown of online news site Gawker, among others. The takeaway for us was seeing the impact that money and power can have (and have had) on the media process.
It seems that Peter Thiel, who was the money behind the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that ultimately shuttered Gawker, isn’t done with it yet. Now he is making an offer to buy Gawker’s remaining assets. If he’s successful, it will give him free reign to delete whatever he likes from the archives. And if he chooses to bring the site back into existence, he’ll ultimately have editorial control as the owner.
In a commentary on Media Post, Melynda Fuller, editor of Publishers Daily, states, “The battle is ultimately to sustain a free press. The fear, both past and present, is that a person or corporation can censor independent media through wealth. With sufficient assets and drive, it can push a particular agenda and essentially erase any news or reporting deemed unacceptable, thus preventing the free flow of ideas.”
I couldn’t agree more. I don’t have to like a particular news outlet or their editorial slant. But I do respect their right to have those opinions. That’s what a free press is about, right?