... Gawker published a story about a Condé Nast executive (who's married to a woman) allegedly arranging to meet up with a gay escort while on a trip to Chicago. When the escort found out who his client was, he attempted to blackmail him into helping with a housing-discrimination lawsuit he was embroiled in....The executive is Tim Geithner's brother, as everyone who read the story before it was taken down already knows. I agree with the widespread criticism of the story:
Geithner is not a public figure in any meaningful sense. What power the CFO of Conde Nast holds is relevant to nobody but the Newhouse family and the company’s employees. Geithner is not a public figure; he has no record of public moralism about sexual issues.But this isn't just about sex and morality -- it's about class and status. Slate's Justin Peters writes about that -- but I think he's a little off base:
... as [Glenn] Greenwald observes we don’t even know that he was doing anything his wife disapproves of.
On Twitter, Gawker editor Max Read explained his editorial logic [for publishing the piece]:No, the site is not "unimpressed by titles and status." The site is overly "impressed by titles and status." And while the site may take individuals down a peg (or, in this case, many pegs), a fixation on the real or alleged bad behavior of even mid-level "elitists" actually tends to enhance the status of the elite as a group. It reinforces the sense that these people are more important, more significant, than the rest of us.
given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives— max read (@max_read) July 17, 2015
In other words, the targeted executive is rich, and, to Gawker, wealth and status have always been inherently worthy of suspicion. ... populist ressentiment has animated Gawker Media since its earliest days.
... Gawker Media ... is still perhaps America’s most resentful major online news property, with what seems to be an internal culture of active umbrage and opposition toward people in any sort of power position. The site is unimpressed by titles and status....
It would be one thing if Gawker were also eager to expose the surreptitious sexual exploits of the CFO of a midsize industrial flange manufacturer from Kansas City. But that never happens at Gawker. Gawker is reinforcing the notion that the members of the coastal elite are endlessly fascinating, and is even expanding the definition of who belongs to the coastal elite.
Gawker might resent the coastal elite's power, but Gawker is reinforcing it.