Gaweker header

On July 16th, 2015 Gawker pub­lished an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled “Condé Nast’s CFO Tried To Pay $2,500 for a Night With a Gay Porn Star” that out­ed the CFO of com­pet­ing me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tion Condé Nast as al­leged­ly gay. What is more con­cern­ing is that they ap­peared to have worked with, and aid­ed, a black­mail­er in ob­tain­ing the sto­ry. This is an ex­am­ple of an ex­tra­or­di­nar­i­ly un­eth­i­cal move by Gawker Media and — touched on when re­port­ing Max Reads and Tommy Craggs res­ig­na­tions — re­sult­ed in one of the most high‐profile and uni­fied back­lash against a pub­li­ca­tion in re­cent mem­o­ry.

At every turn the ar­ti­cle was a train wreck; with each in­di­vid­ual el­e­ment alone be­ing cause enough for any­one with a bit of sense or a set of stan­dards to pull the ar­ti­cle, or at least han­dle it dif­fer­ent­ly. In fact, I think it breaks a ma­jor­i­ty of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and has even been de­nounced by the pres­i­dent of the SPJ (EiC Note: Though they could have done well to call out the his­tor­i­cal in­stances of Gawker be­ing a bane of stan­dards as well. The SPJ call‐out feels like an op­por­tunis­tic PR move to this SPJ mem­ber). It’s also served as glar­ing em­bar­rass­ment to all those say­ing eth­i­cal con­cerns raised over Gawker Media and oth­er out­lets were un­jus­ti­fied or overblown.

Another Day at the Office

Nothing changed in the Gakwer news­room the day the of­fend­ing post was pub­lished. This isn’t some ab­hor­rent event and freak lapse of judge­ment. This is busi­ness as usu­al. To quote Executive Editor for Investigations at Gawker Media, John Cook:

John Cook Insert

He’s one hun­dred per­cent right to be con­fused and an­gry about why this was tak­en down, this has al­ways been the real meat of Gawker’s reg­u­lar out­put. From the per­spec­tive of long‐time crit­ics, this isn’t very sur­pris­ing and it seems that view is held in­ter­nal­ly as well. This is in‐line with Gawker’s ed­i­to­r­i­al prac­tices, this is the me­dia stan­dards it sup­ports and has up­held for years. We have peo­ple com­ing out and ad­mit­ting it and yet peo­ple are still cling­ing to this idea that there is not a sys­temic eth­i­cal prob­lem with the en­tire­ty of Gawker Media.

This is the site that is re­spon­si­ble for:

I don’t know how much more clear‐cut of a pic­ture you can get, I’m run­ning out of ad­jec­tives to de­scribe the com­plete lack of ba­sic hu­man­i­ty at Gawker Media. It is ab­surd this is one of the few in­ci­dents their read­er­ship and fel­low jour­nal­ists are call­ing out. Richard Lawson, the writer of the afore­men­tioned James Franco ar­ti­cle, ad­mit­ted the push of the year­long out­ing camp­ing came from the boss­es at Gawker Media.

insert lawson

Whist we’re at it, let’s have a brief look at where Gawker’s po­lices have land­ed them to­day:

  • They are cur­rent­ly in a high‐profile law­suit by for­mer wrestling star Hulk Hogan for ob­tain­ing, then re­fus­ing to take down, a sex‐tape record­ed and re­leased with­out his knowl­edge or per­mis­sion.
  • They are cur­rent­ly em­broiled in a bit­ter union­iza­tion dis­pute with their own staff that also has its own tale to tell in this lat­est chap­ter.
  • They are also be­ing sued by their un­paid in­terns, in which Gawker claims they have the right to es­sen­tial­ly en­act a lev­el of slave la­bor.
  • They lost many ad­ver­tis­ers and a sev­en fig­ure sum due to Sam Biddle’s state­ment that “nerds should be con­stant­ly shamed and de­grad­ed into sub­mis­sion” and to “Bring Back Bullying” with ed­i­tor Max Reid stand­ing firm­ly be­hind his com­ments.

Breaching the Editorial Firewall

There is an­oth­er twist to this tale. This is a multi‐layered fail­ure, where even at­tempts to cor­rect mis­takes lead into fur­ther mis­takes. Hours af­ter the piece was tak­en down by Nick Denton and Gawker Media man­age­ment, Gawker’s Editorial staff is­sued this state­ment:


I’m not a PR agent, but wouldn’t it be pru­dent to at least pre­tend that the Editorial staff was not back­ing the ar­ti­cle? The ed­i­to­r­i­al fire­wall is meant to stop neg­a­tive in­fer­ence from the busi­ness and ad­ver­tis­ing arms of a web­site ef­fect­ing the ed­i­to­r­i­al and pub­lish­ing sec­tion. Generally it is as­sumed that in­de­pen­dent ed­i­to­r­i­al leads to bet­ter stan­dards and that pres­sure from fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests could lead to un­eth­i­cal con­flicts and pan­der­ing to mon­eyed in­ter­ests. I’ve rarely heard of a sit­u­a­tion where ed­i­to­r­i­al be­ing over­ruled was so uni­ver­sal­ly seen as a good de­ci­sion. But in­stead of look­ing in­ward at the ob­vi­ous rot that had set in with­in Gawker’s news­room, there was a flur­ry of rash ac­tions and bruised egos.  It seems the one thing can cause a Gawker jour­nal­ist to sud­den­ly de­vel­op an in­ter­est in eth­i­cal in­tegri­ty is when you sug­gest they might be fal­li­ble.

As events have un­fold­ed it has be­come clear just how strong­ly the ed­i­to­r­i­al staff felt this was a stan­dard of jour­nal­ism worth de­fend­ing. As we re­port­ed on, Gawker has lost two of its se­nior ed­i­tors, de­part­ing not be­cause they felt the uni­ver­sal­ly re­viled ar­ti­cle had caused too much dam­age but be­cause some­one had dared to over­rule them.

Other parts of the me­dia have tak­en the op­por­tu­ni­ty to pile‐in, smelling blood in the wa­ter. The Hollywood Reporter even went as far as to com­ment on the fu­ture em­ploy­a­bil­i­ty of Gawker’s staff with the sleazy and shame­less con­tent of their by‐lines:

I can hard­ly imag­ine who might hire some­one from Gawker, or who would not re­coil at the cru­el­ty, ob­scen­i­ty and lo­g­or­rhea of a Gawker writer’s clips. Gawker staffers need­ed a union to pro­tect the only job they might ever have in jour­nal­ism. (em­pha­sis added) They were per­haps pro­tect­ing too their right to cru­el­ty and ob­scen­i­ty and to be unedit­ed, now ex­pressed in the bru­tal ex­po­sure of the pri­vate, un­ex­cep­tion­al, if sala­cious de­tails of a quite un­pub­lic man’s life far from the pub­lic in­ter­est.” –

This state­ment pre­dates the Read’s and Cragg’s res­ig­na­tions, but I can’t help but think who in their right mind would take on a pair of ed­i­tors who had fall­en on their swords de­fend­ing Gawker’s prac­tices. With con­tent that have re­port­ed­ly caused two very large ad­ver­tis­ers, Discover and BFGoodrich, to sus­pend or can­cel cam­paigns on the with Gawker Media. We may only be see­ing the tip of the fi­nan­cial ice­berg here. There was also a sting in the tail for Sam “Seven Figures” Biddle, as it emerged one of the Gawker part­ners and their head of ad­ver­tis­ing had flat­ly asked Read why Biddle hadn’t been fired yet for his ill‐advised com­ments.

The New York Observer went even fur­ther, with a state­ment that can only be de­scribed as the ed­i­to­r­i­al equiv­a­lent of an un­lu­bri­cat­ed fist­ing:

Hypocrisy is too weak a word when it comes to Gawker. It is in­stead an in­dis­putable pat­tern of mal­ice and men­dac­i­ty al­most with­out par­al­lel in the his­to­ry of me­dia. It is es­sen­tial­ly a twelve‐year spree of de­struc­tion, pain and waste. The sole pur­pose of the en­tire re­pug­nant ed­i­fice has been to make a sin­gle own­er fab­u­lous­ly rich and a re­volv­ing door of mediocre writ­ers feel im­por­tant and pow­er­ful.” –

Jesus, leave some for the rest of us.

Whilst these kind words are en­cour­ag­ing, it can’t help but feel a lit­tle op­por­tunis­tic. It is now seen as “safe” to go af­ter Gawker; pre­vi­ous­ly silent jour­nal­ists are falling over them­selves to kick Gawker now it is safe­ly down. Perhaps if some of this spine had been lo­cat­ed ear­li­er we could have pre­vent­ed some of the an­guish their un­eth­i­cal — and some­times down­right in­hu­man — con­duct has caused? Not that I’m de­vel­op­ing some sym­pa­thy for the tabloid rag sud­den­ly. Quite to the con­trary, my words of ad­vice to the me­dia would be “pile in faster and kick hard­er” but don’t for­get to learn some lessons in the process. Gawker has been very in­flu­en­tial and their dra­mat­ic down­ward spi­ral needs to be a wake‐up call for all their im­i­ta­tors and cheer­lead­ers.

The Gawkeratzi

Fact is, Gawker is not unique. The “stan­dards” they push are ac­tu­al­ly pret­ty typ­i­cal.  It’s part of a wider land­scape of press that have used pol­i­tics and di­vi­sion as a shield for their un­eth­i­cal be­hav­iour — pub­li­ca­tions I mock­ing­ly re­fer to as “The Gawkeratzi.” We live in a world were Salon can jus­ti­fy vi­o­lent loot­ing as a valid form of po­lit­i­cal ex­pres­sion whilst shops are still burn­ing but also put out ar­ti­cles blan­ket la­bel­ing peo­ple who are gamers as “Terrorists” when they want to hold the Gawkeratzi to ac­count. The Verge can de­lib­er­ate­ly whip‐up a mob to at­tack a man who just land­ed the first probe on a comet for the pat­tern on his shirt and agen­da sites like The Mary Sue and fel­low Gawker sewer‐pipe Jezebel at­tack who­ev­er they please on an al­most week­ly ba­sis. For any of the mod­ern rage‐bait me­dia to take the moral high‐ground over Gawker is laugh­able, es­pe­cial­ly af­ter they were com­plic­it in at­tempt­ing to pro­tect Gawker and their prac­tices pre­vi­ous­ly.

salon insert

We’ve seen the bar pro­gres­sive­ly low­ered and stan­dards slow­ly erod­ed so far that an ac­tion caus­ing ad­ver­tis­ers to say “enough is enough” has to be be­yond ex­treme. Gawker is be­ing sued from all an­gles, boy­cotted by large sec­tions of the in­ter­net and has made ma­jor gaff af­ter ma­jor gaff. Yet many ad­ver­tis­ers, baf­fling­ly, still re­main. Editors and CEOs seemed OK with stan­dards be­ing brought down as long as the clicks kept rolling in, but how long can this degra­da­tion and free‐fall re­al­ly con­tin­ue? I can’t see big brands with large le­gal de­part­ments and a care­ful­ly craft­ed im­age want­i­ng to be seen next to a blog post writ­ten by an un­paid in­tern glee­ful­ly shar­ing acts of black­mail and li­bel. Online me­dia is in a dire state, yet there have been very few suc­cess­ful or last­ing at­tempts to make it re­form from ei­ther con­sumers or ad­ver­tis­ers; as long as it still pays then these sites will keep do­ing what they do. If you want any lev­el of change then you have to make sure be­ing high­ly un­eth­i­cal is also high­ly un­prof­itable.

The Blueprint Already Exists

Something else quite ex­tra­or­di­nary also hap­pened: Mainstream me­dia out­lets like USA Today be­gan to re­port on the GamerGate and their boy­cott list for what it was: an at­tempt to hold an un­ac­count­able me­dia cor­po­ra­tion to ac­count via con­tact­ing ad­ver­tis­ers, a tac­tic that many of those who were now an­gry at Gawker me­dia had be­gun sug­gest­ing. (Editor’s Note: I feel it im­por­tant to men­tion that con­tact­ing ad­ver­tis­ers of out­lets that peo­ple have dis­putes with has long been a valid tac­tic of con­sumer ad­vo­ca­cy groups over the years.)

The on­line dis­cus­sion drew in some crit­ics of Gawker and its af­fil­i­ates from a past is­sue — its in­volve­ment in a long‐running on­line con­tro­ver­sy over the treat­ment of women in gam­ing, and video‐game jour­nal­ism, that’s loose­ly re­ferred to as #gamer­gate. The Twitter ac­count that ad­vo­cat­ed tar­get­ing Gawker’s ad­ver­tis­ers linked to a web­site, “,” whose sup­port­ers ad­vo­cate tar­get­ing the ad­ver­tis­ers of Gawker and oth­er blogs.” –

Its pret­ty amaz­ing for USA Today to men­tion GamerGate as a con­sumer boy­cott cam­paign with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on Gawker Media, with the im­plied burn that Gawker and those on the GamerGate’s boy­cott list are sim­ply “blogs.” Operation Baby Seal turned out to be a use­ful ready‐made re­source for all those now call­ing for change at Gawker Media, even when some of those peo­ple had called these same boy­cott ef­forts “at­tempts to si­lence writ­ers” mere months ago. As for GamerGate it­self, the state­ment by one of their se­nior writ­ers, Adam Weinstein, should give you some in­di­ca­tion of just how in­cred­i­bly fu­ri­ous Gawker is about the con­sumer boy­cott that re­port­ed­ly cost them up­wards of sev­en fig­ures and caused nu­mer­ous ad­ver­tis­er sus­pen­sions and pull‐outs.


This state­ment it­self is al­most hu­mor­ous in its anger and de­flec­tion; here is a pub­li­ca­tion that has just put out some­thing even its staunchest de­fend­ers call “re­pug­nant,” yet their writ­ers and staff are do­ing the equiv­a­lent of throw­ing them­selves on the floor and hav­ing a very pub­lic tear‐stained tantrum. The Gawker  flair for be­ing an un­apolo­get­i­cal­ly re­pul­sive hu­man be­ings is as present as ever, even in their mo­ments of sup­posed con­tri­tion. A man who is paid to write for a liv­ing wrote that inane screed, as his site was in the midst of be­ing sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly dis­avowed by the en­tire pop­u­la­tion of the in­ter­net. Even as an am­a­teur writer, I am ashamed it ex­ists. After the bat­ter­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion has re­ceived, the as­ser­tion that “Gawker is not that bad” (Emphasis added by Editor) seems to be the best de­fense he could muster.

You can’t have any ef­fect on a me­dia em­pire by im­po­tent fist‐shaking alone, in this lat­est spasm I don’t think there has even been an at­tempt to grasp that Gawker is a Network. That’s one of the only ways the GamerGate cam­paign was able to gain any trac­tion at all: they re­al­ized that sim­ply go­ing af­ter one arm of an or­ga­ni­za­tion is fruit­less when it can keep mak­ing mon­ey us­ing the same ed­i­to­r­i­al prac­tices else­where. Gawker isn’t just Gawker. It’s Jezebel, Gizmodo, Deadspin, io9 and Lifehacker; all of these sites feed into the same pot of mon­ey that en­ables the stan­dard of jour­nal­ism we see in them to­day. If you tru­ly want to hit Gawker in the wal­let then con­sid­er these tac­tics that have al­ready proven ef­fec­tive:

SIDE CLICKSRemove Clicks
: In the past, sites like Gawker ben­e­fit­ed great­ly from “rage clicks.” People shar­ing and click­ing on ar­ti­cles that were open­ly de­signed to cause con­tro­ver­sy and dis­ap­proval. Gawker is al­most proud of the fact that as long as the clicks keep com­ing in it does no mat­ter if peo­ple are click­ing on the con­tent be­cause they like it or be­cause they hate it. Those an­gry at Gawker in the past have been in­ad­ver­tent­ly fu­el­ing their suc­cess by fun­nel­ing traf­fic to the site.

Archiving us­ing is a way of shar­ing a snap­shot of a page host­ed else­where. This al­lows peo­ple to share, analyse and draw at­ten­tion to ar­ti­cles they find un­ac­cept­able with­out giv­ing are more clicks to a site. Archiving has been one of the cor­ner­stones of the GamerGate re­volt, with brows­er ex­ten­sions like “GG Blocker” used to au­to­mat­i­cal­ly dis­play archived ver­sions of cer­tain sites on the boy­cott list.

This prac­tice re­moves an in­cen­tive for web­sites to de­lib­er­ate­ly print in­flam­ma­to­ry ar­ti­cles and is also a good way to track­ing any al­ter­ations or dele­tions. With the in­ter­net is for­ev­er, and any in­crim­i­nat­ing ev­i­dence can be re­tained and put in front of spon­sors.

Contact Advertisers and Ad Networks: This isn’t just as sim­ple as ex­press­ing dis­plea­sure in a gen­er­al sense to com­pa­nies you see ap­pear­ing in side­bar ads, you need to show the ad­ver­tis­er that this con­tent is ap­pear­ing next to their brand. Modern web­sites have to use mul­ti­ple ways of ad­ver­tis­ing to sur­vive, so some com­pa­nies will not be ad­ver­tis­ing di­rect­ly with the site in ques­tion and may not be aware their ads are be­ing dis­played on the of­fend­ing pages. In this way, con­tact­ing ad­ver­tis­ers is ex­treme­ly worth­while since many may not be aware of the con­tent un­til they are in­formed.

Since ad­ver­tise­ments are sold via net­works, it is also worth look­ing up the terms and con­di­tions that net­works make sites sign up to. We know Gawker has bro­ken Google Adsense poli­cies on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions but has thus far not had puni­tive ac­tion tak­en. Getting ad‐tech to pull out of a web­site is a big deal as it re­moves a huge chunk of rev­enue and mul­ti­ple po­ten­tial ad­ver­tis­ers at once.

Advertisers have be­come more and more de­sen­si­tized to con­tent they would pre­vi­ous­ly find ob­jec­tion­able, en­sure you make it clear why this con­tent dam­ages their brand. For ex­am­ple, GamerGate got ad­ver­tis­ers who want­ed to ap­peal to gamers to pull out by telling them the con­tent was anti‐gamer and ac­tive­ly put them off.

Maintain Public Pressure: It’s easy for ad­ver­tis­ers to ig­nore a sin­gle flur­ry of at­ten­tion, but a sus­tained pe­ri­od of re­peat­ed com­plaints will make the is­sue hard­er to ig­nore. Advertisers don’t like the neg­a­tive at­ten­tion pub­lic pull‐outs cause and so many may sim­ply qui­et­ly not re­new their con­tracts. The key is to be de­ter­mined and dig‐in for the long‐haul. Make ap­peals on places as­so­ci­at­ed with the ad­ver­tis­ers brand like their Facebook or YouTube pages. It might seem tacky but by virtue of be­ing a sheer nui­sance you can get com­plaints ad­dressed.

The boy­cott prac­tices of GamerGate have al­ready be­gun to seep into the main­stream body of peo­ple dis­gust­ed with Gawker’s ac­tions. Watching peo­ple share Gawker’s links us­ing and be­gin­ning to con­tact ad­ver­tis­ers was an en­cour­ag­ing sight to be­hold. Whether they re­al­ize they re­al­ize it or not, these peo­ple are build­ing on the suc­cess­ful tac­tics of Operation Disrespectful Nod and Operation Baby Seal, tac­tics some peo­ple pre­vi­ous­ly at­tacked. Activities pre­vi­ous­ly smeared by a des­per­ate me­dia, led most­ly by Gawker Media, are not ris­ing to the sur­face as best prac­tice. GamerGate seems to have had an ex­tra­or­di­nary ef­fect on build­ing a tem­plate for boy­cotts of new me­dia.

The Ugly, Gawking Masses

Gawker’s biggest mis­take in this in­stance was not go­ing af­ter some­one its au­di­ence felt was a “valid tar­get.” They cooked up their usu­al recipe of sleaze and pub­lic sham­ing, but this time it in­volved out­ing an al­leged­ly gay man. For their pro­gres­sive al­lies this was a step too far. Their au­di­ence is an­gry most­ly for the vi­o­la­tion of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, not the ba­sic fail­ure to ad­here to any kind of eth­i­cal con­duct in their quite com­mon at­tack ar­ti­cles. The out­ting of a gay man is just the ic­ing on the cake. Their read­ers have been ful­ly com­plic­it in Gawker’s past ac­tions; their au­di­ence are the ones who have cheered on in­creas­ing­ly de­plorable con­duct as long as Gawker was able to paint their tar­gets as car­toon­ish “anti‐progressive” vil­lains.

insert hipsters

Us vs Them” is the core of how Gawker gets away with gra­tu­itous hit‐pieces on pub­lic fig­ures and those they pluck out of ob­scu­ri­ty to pub­li­cal­ly shame. If this had sim­ply been a base­less ac­cu­sa­tion that a com­peti­tor had tried to hire a pros­ti­tute, then it would have gone by un­no­ticed. It would still be whol­ly un­eth­i­cal, but the read­er­ship wouldn’t have bat­ted an eye­lid. It seems the mis­cal­cu­la­tion was a po­lit­i­cal one, their usu­al thin ve­neer and pan­der­ing to the bi­as­es of the read­er­ship were not present in this ar­ti­cle and so their read­er­ship was jolt­ed into see­ing the full hor­ror of what Gawker ac­tu­al­ly puts out.

As Nick Denton stat­ed in his e‐mail, he thinks Jordan Sargent “Did noth­ing wrong” only that “Times have changed.” The pol­i­cy of “No bad tac­tics, only bad tar­gets” es­poused by the washed‐up in­ter­net crit­ics of this world seems to be a good sum­ma­tion of how the me­dia, and the “ac­tivists” they lead around by the nose, op­er­ate. Gawker is as vi­cious, spite­ful and sala­cious as ever but it keeps its fans hap­py by slight­ly ad­just­ing its tar­gets as the doc­trine of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness shifts. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that David Geithner is a hu­man be­ing who has been sub­ject­ed to an ex­treme lev­el of me­dia slan­der and sham­ing, which is prob­a­bly a very strong case for le­gal ac­tion, de­spite not pre­vi­ous­ly be­ing a pub­lic fig­ure of any note and de­spite these claims be­ing far from proven. If some of the el­e­ments of the sto­ry had been dif­fer­ent, he would be just be an­oth­er in the long line of peo­ple whose life had been ad­verse­ly ef­fect­ed for no real gain by Gawker.

insert sewer

Despite the un­fold­ing train‐wreck of de­part­ing staff, it feels like the de­press­ing truth is that many of those who ob­ject­ed to Gawker’s ar­ti­cle on David Geithner are al­ready los­ing steam and fail­ing to con­vert their out­rage into any­thing last­ing or pro­duc­tive. Simply recog­nis­ing on­line jour­nal­ism is rot­ten is just the first step. The mem­o­ry of this short spasm of out­rage is al­ready fad­ing, they are an­gry at Gawker to­day but will be an­gry along­side Gawker again to­mor­row — latch­ing onto what­ev­er Jezebel or Kotaku tells them should be the tar­get of their two‐minutes of hate. I be­lieve these peo­ple care, I re­al­ly do. I just think they lack the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the will to do any­thing about it be­yond be­ing mild­ly en­raged for a day or two.

Gawker won’t go away un­less you make it go away. “This thing sucks” is just a state­ment, if you want change any­thing then you have to build into a force that can­not be ig­nored.  You may also have to make peace with the fact that go­ing af­ter the me­dia means the me­dia will use all their dirty tricks to make you look evil and dis­cred­it­ed. Some are sit­ting back and ex­pect­ing Gawker to crum­ble in the face of this cluster‐fuck, but you can’t count on that. Now is the per­fect time to ap­ply as much pres­sure as pos­si­ble. This is a rare op­por­tu­ni­ty to crys­tal­lize uni­ver­sal dis­ap­proval into real, tan­gi­ble im­prove­ments to on­line jour­nal­ism. I sug­gest we take it.

(EDIT: July 22 2105 (21:14 EST): J.K. Trotter cor­rect­ed to Jordan Sargent.) 

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John Sweeney
John Sweeney is a ter­ri­bly British man with a back­ground in en­gi­neer­ing. He writes long‐form ed­i­to­r­i­al con­tent with analy­sis of gam­ing, games me­dia and in­ter­net cul­ture. He also does the oc­ca­sion­al video game ret­ro­spec­tive with a week­ly col­umn about Magic the Gathering thrown in for good mea­sure. He also does most of our in­ter­views for some rea­son, we have no idea why. A staunch sup­port­er of free speech and con­sumer rights; skep­ti­cal of agen­da dri­ven me­dia and sus­pi­cious of un­ac­cou­table au­thor­i­ty but al­ways hope­ful for change.