Tech titans push back against news media
David Streitfeld and Mike Isaac of the New York Times write about how tech executives in Silicon Valley are happy that PayPal founder Peter Thiel has funded litigation against Gawker.
Streitfeld and Isaac write, “In some ways Silicon Valley’s reaction is not surprising. A journalist’s job, at least in theory, is to ask questions and print the truth, which means it is less than loved in citadels of power. But in Silicon Valley, even the media hates the media.
“‘Gawker can burn in hell,’ the TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington said on Twitter, though he also called Mr. Thiel ‘cowardly’ for not being open about financing the lawsuits against Gawker. TechCrunch began as a site that worked hand in hand with start-ups to chart their progress.
“For Ken Shotts, who teaches ethics and strategy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Mr. Thiel’s secret campaign against Gawker brought to mind General Motors’ pursuit of Ralph Nader 50 years ago. G.M. set private detectives on Mr. Nader to get the dirt on him that would nullify his criticism of its Corvair car. G.M. went beyond the pale, and was punished. The president of G.M. was forced to appear before Congress and apologize for harassing and intimidating the company’s critic.
“‘Companies face constraints,’ said Mr. Shotts. ‘That’s a good thing. Individuals are less constrained, and billionaires hardly at all.'”
Read more here.