Aug23
MEDIA REDEF
rant n' rave
rantnrave://

I think about VIACOM a lot. I've read it all. STEVEN DAVIDOFF SOLOMON lapped almost every journalist on the real issues. Read "Lessons From the Viacom Dispute"... And I think about GAWKER a lot too. Certainly, a lot this week as it is no more. I once tried to buy the GAWKER brands while I was at MTV NETWORKS. NICK DENTON didn't want to sell. And he was right. Too early and he had something. He's an innovator. Someone I’ve always thought was honest about who he was and what Gawker is. I may have disagreed but still respected him. I remember it being less mean, or maybe I want to remember that. I read Gawker. I disliked much of what it ended up doing. But I did read it. I was a stereotypical hypocrite with wavering prurient interests. It was often cheap, nasty, reckless, childish, hurtful and thoughtless. But they also did some really great journalism. I was discussing all this with REDEF's MATTY KARAS last night on SLACK. Is the reality that the cheap stuff pays for the good stuff? The stories they got in trouble for were horrible stories. Especially the pieces outing gays. The HULK HOGAN story is likely more complicated. And I’ve debated that and certainly been yelled at about it by vicious disciples. But did they shoot themselves in the foot for trying to defend it? While I was unconvinced it was a FIRST AMENDMENT issue and the verdict was probably correct, the amount of money that was rewarded was beyond obscene. One invasion-of-privacy case shouldn't get you the death penalty. Why? That's really dangerous for a free press. And as much as I despised some of the crap they published, we do need to defend their right to publish it. Or most of it anyway. If we, the government, or the courts start telling the press what they can or can't publish, that will be more damaging to the press than millions of hackers and plagiarists. I’ve said before that I thought PETER THIEL’s methods were cowardly. They were not anything new. But I get it. Makes one wonder. How much did he pay to bring down Gawker down? Would it have been cheaper just to buy it? Was he looking to improve or avenge? Hey, Gawker, DEADSPIN and their other sites have done plenty to make the internet worse. At least to my taste. But they've also done plenty to make the Internet better. And folks, that's the kind of trade-off we often have to make, and often is worth making. What other choice do we have? Do you think SHELDON ADELSON will do more to damage the world with his newspaper than Gawker ever could have? Is the war misplaced? I admit to vacillating on the subject. Arguing with myself and frankly being influenced by my own tastes and sensibilities which likely should have no say in the debate. Many have defended and many have taken them down. All with rather compelling arguments or blinded by their loyalties regardless of the sides they took. As one friend called it: "impenetrable and delusional." We’ve compiled some of the debate in our new MediaREDEF SET: Gawker R.I.P. There's nothing to celebrate about this. Just to think about how to improve the discourse. In many ways, it reminds me of the environment around the election. Can we disagree, respect our rights to and still co-exist? I'm a little back and forth on all of it... Congrats to JEFFREY KATZENBERG on the sale of DREAMWORKS ANIMATION to COMCAST. Quite an amazing run. The Dreamworks team established a leading brand in animation, weathered ups and downs and the realities of the current media business while navigating impressive entries into the digital world. They evolved and innovated the way animated movies are made. Faster and cheaper without sparing the quality. His letter to employees. To me, Jeffrey is a loyal friend first. Second, an impressive and relentless doer. A motivator with the energy of a 12 year-old on DIET COKES with the focus and drive of a championship athlete. No shot he's done. Maybe with movies, but excited for what's coming next. I absolutely think Comcast will end up with even a better deal that they thought they got already. That's a good deal and legacy... I've been reading more of BLOOMBERG's MATT LEVINE pieces lately. He's super smart, thoughtful. Great topics... Happy Birthday to JESSE ANGELO, JULIET DE BAUBIGNY, PHELIM DOLAN, MICHAEL JAFFE and BILL CRANDALL.

Jason Hirschhorn, curator