The New York-based gossip website Gawker.com shut down yesterday, after its parent company, Gawker Media, lost a $140 million lawsuit to Hulk Hogan. Univision purchased Gawker Media from bankruptcy and will continue publishing many sites in the network, including Deadspin and Gizmodo, but the flagship has been eliminated. Yesterday, former executive features editor Tom Scocca published this scathing postmortem advancing two points, one of which I find more interesting than the other. First, he contends that Gawker was effectively gaslighted by its enemies, who convinced founder Nick Denton and other key members of the staff that they really were operating beyond the pale of respectable journalism. That seems both plausible and unfalsifiable. Second, and more compellingly, Scocca suggests that freedom of the press is complicated when billionaires can fund massive lawsuits designed to put media companies out of business. Background and consideration after the jump.
In case you’re wondering what kind of campaign Ted Cruz plans to run, last week he told the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators that homosexuals are waging “jihad” against Bible-believing Christians. Quote:
Look at the jihad that is being waged right now, in Indiana and Arkansas, going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. We need to bring people together to the religious liberty values that built this country.
For reference, the timeline of this war or struggle against unbelievers begins with Bible-believing Christians advancing “religious liberty” laws that would exempt them from laws prohibiting discrimination against gay people. The amount of doublethink necessary to cast objections to those laws as a jihad against Christians is kind of breathtaking. Video after the jump.
More than seven billion people live on planet Earth right now, and each of them is as important as you are. I haven’t checked his math, but Gabor Zovanyi of Eastern Washington University has something sobering to say about population growth:
“If our species had started with just two people at the time of the earliest agricultural practices some 10,000 years ago, and increased by one percent per year, today humanity would be a solid ball of flesh many thousand light years in diameter, and expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would be many times faster than the speed of light.”
To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, I suppose they will all want dignity. Today is Friday, and your rights end where my nose begins. Won’t you find yourself enclosed in a thicket of sharp elbows with me?
A federal judge ruled yesterday that Jim Fouts, the mayor of Warren, Michigan, was wrong to deny resident Douglas Marshall’s request to set up a “reason station” in the atrium of City Hall. Marshall submitted his application in response to a prayer station that Fouts authorized for the same atrium, presumably so that people could file property tax assessments without missing their hourly prayers of intercession. You know—basic city services. I mention this story partly because it’s fun to watch municipal governments fail to close the separation between church and state, but mostly because Fouts’s original letter denying Marshall’s application is a masterpiece of bad reasoning. Excerpt after the jump.
In April, gun owners gathered outside the Michigan state capitol building in Lansing for an Open Carry Rally, in which they showed off their loaded guns to urge Michigan legislators to loosen gun control laws. “It’s wonderful to be around like-minded people who understand how the government should work,” attendee Johann Deffert told Michigan Live, adding that the crowd was very diverse. In theory, of course, our system of government works entirely on the basis of like-minded people. In practice, a little over half of Americans support tightening gun control laws, and only 8% think they should be loosened. As an open carry rally reminds us, however, that 8% is politically engaged and heavily armed.