The Short Version: Peter Thiel v. Gawker

The Short Version: Peter Thiel v. Gawker

The point of it all is to break down the headlines, determine why an issue is important and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story  The most recent debate on The Short Version concerned the differences in presidential tax plans. One of the big questions in that blog was this: Would increasing taxes on high-income people help or hurt our economy? This week, Cleo Abram turns from taxes to a question of taxing the freedom of speech: Should billionaire Peter Thiel have funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker (which might put the company out to pasture)? Was he establishing a precedent (and blueprint) for how the privileged might act to suppress freedom of the press?

Note: If you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

Cleo Constantine Abram of the “The Short Version,” offering densely packed spins on issues of

What’s happening?

A new detail just surfaced in this year’s most scandal-filled case: in March, wrestler Hulk Hogan won $140 million in his lawsuit against Gawker Media after the site published a private sex tape. What the jury (and we) didn’t know was that the lawsuit was funded by Peter Thiel, a tech billionaire, PayPal co-founder, and Facebook investor with a long-standing feud against Gawker.

The feud began in 2007, when the site outed Thiel as gay— despite Thiel’s explicit request not to. It was also perfectly legal speech.

Thiel, like some superhero or supervillain, waited in the wings eight years to destroy the company. Thiel seized his chance by secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s case, to the tune of around $10 million.

As a result of the damages owed Hogan and other legal fees, Gawker may now go bankrupt.

Gawker founder Nick Denton (left) and tech billionaire Peter Thiel

How does it affect you?

Most literally, if you read Gawker, you may need to find a new site sometime soon.

More importantly, Thiel is effectively establishing a blueprint for how wealthy individuals can suppress freedom of the press—freedom that made the companies he started possible in the first place. In fact, outside involvement in lawsuits was restricted until the 1960’s.

Debate it!

Should Peter Thiel have funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker?

 Continue reading the debate here.

Why “The Short Version” on TIO:

Eight+ years ago, Telluride Inside…and Out began as a lifestyle webzine. Today, in the full knowledge that Telluride is a window on the world, we continue to bring the “zazz” (short for “pizzazz) of the region to a local, national, and global audience by covering everything from Telluride’s robust cultural economy – major events and festivals – to health and fitness and outdoor adventure. When Telluride travels, we write about places to go, people to meet too. (That’s part of the “Out” part of our handle, the other, obviously, Outdoors.)

And now, this new weekly column, “The Short Version,” which offers simple summaries of issues of national and global importance. (Though we won’t go political, or rather we won’t show bias in the upcoming election.)

“The Short Version” is written by Cleo Constantine Abram, the daughter of Telluride locals Eleni Constantine and Jonathan Abram (and therefore an honorary local and regular visitor) and a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm.

Why “The Short Version”? Because, though we live in Shangri-La, our bubble is not impermeable and the rest of the world is only a click away. Because there is no inconsequential action; only consequential inaction. And because information is power in a moment so many of us are feeling powerless.

More about Cleo Constantine Abram:

Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm born of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski!

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