Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Gawker Settles a Libel Suit With a Correction, but Not a Check

Sometimes Nick Denton likes to boast about Gawker Media’s legal battles. Other times, he keeps quiet.

Like earlier this month, when Denton settled a libel suit filed by motorcycle-maker Confederate Motors. His blog network’s only comment about the case is an oblique “correction” on his Jalopnik car blog, noting that Confederate does not appear to be “unable to do business” in New York.

MediaPost and media law blogger Ben Sheffner seem to be the only two outlets keeping tabs on the case, and you can get the full download at their sites.

But the very short story is that Confederate sued Gawker over an April 9, 2009, post (now deleted, though Google shows traces) about some of its vehicles.

Things Confederate (Really! I know!) didn’t like included an assertion that its bikes are “so unreliable you’ll have to push them” and that “we heard the Alabama-based company was being sued so heavily in state courts by disgruntled owners that they were unable to do business here.”

The Jalopnik post seems to be the sum total of Gawker’s concessions to Confederate. Gawker COO Gaby Darbyshire tells MediaPost her company didn’t pay Confederate a penny and that it settled only “because it was too trivial an issue to take to court….One must pick one’s battles.”

Sounds reasonable! Especially when there are much bigger battles looming on the horizon.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald