Farhad Manjoo of Slate writes that he has been disappointed with what he has seen in the new Valleywag tech news site.
Manjoo writes, “I was excited when I heard, earlier this year, that Gawker Media was resurrecting Valleywag, which it founded in 2005 and later shut down. Valleywag is necessary. The tech industry is a hype-fueled wonderland of money and ambition, a place as central to the world economy as Wall Street, and one whose globe-changing ambitions are often ridiculous. When I heard Biddle would be running the site, I was even more thrilled. A longtime Gawker Media writer, Biddle worked for Gizmodo for many years, and even when I disagree with him, I find him to be a lively, hilarious writer and a dogged reporter.
“But in the few months it’s been online, the new Valleywag has been a disappointment. Too often, it squanders its resources by shooting designer fish in a gold-plated barrel, rather than taking on more important problems in technology and the tech industry. In a profile of the site in the New York Times by Nick Bilton on Sunday, the writer Paul Carr—a frequent target of Valleywag—summed up its failings this way: “Valleywag’s mission was to expose criminality, hypocrisy and corruption, but it isn’t doing any of that. … Instead you have a guy in New York pointing to Silicon Valley from thousands of miles away saying: ‘Look at that rich guy. Isn’t he rich? That rich guy is a loser.’ ”
“A stroll through Valleywag’s archives bolsters this assessment. Here’s one rich guy having the sort of expensive wedding you’d expect a rich person to have. Here’s another rich guy who paid to have his daughter meet Miley Cyrus. Here are rich techies paying for boat rides to avoid a transportation strike, and here’s a company hoping rich people will pay for laundry service. Rich techies are especially vulnerable to a Valleywag attack when they engage in that favorite rich-person pastime of giving away their money. Whether they donate to charity auctions, go on African charity expeditions, or try to teach homeless people computer programming, rich techies are ridiculed for what’s taken to be their obvious insincerity, naïveté, and clear efforts at self-aggrandizement.”
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