Thursday, May 26, 2016

A couple of comments about Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel. (Creative Commons photo by Dan Taylor). 

I have written other blog posts about Peter Thiel, noting that the Silicon Valley zillionaire has funded a number of causes that were advocated by Robert Anton Wilson, such as life extension, space exploration and free speech; see for example my blog posting here.  Thiel has been much in the news lately, so I'll comment on his latest mentions in the press.

It was reported a few weeks ago that Thiel is a Donald Trump delegate. This is disappointing and surprising news in what has been a disappointing political year. Maybe in the next few weeks, everyone else I like will become a Donald Trump supporter, too, and I'll be the last holdout. I don't think my wife or Arthur Hlavaty or Jesse Walker will endorse Trump, but it's become harder and harder to be surprised by anything this year.

Then news came that Thiel secretly funded the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker.  That didn't bother me.

I think a useful way to think about this is to compare two quotes from the New York Times story about Thiel's involvement. Here's Thiel:

“I can defend myself. Most of the people they attack are not people in my category. They usually attack less prominent, far less wealthy people that simply can’t defend themselves.” He said that “even someone like Terry Bollea who is a millionaire and famous and a successful person didn’t quite have the resources to do this alone.”

And here is Gawker publisher Nick Denton:

“Just because Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire, his opinion does not trump our millions of readers who know us for routinely driving big news stories including Hillary Clinton’s secret email account, Bill Cosby’s history with women, the mayor of Toronto as a crack smoker, Tom Cruise’s role within Scientology, the N.F.L. cover-up of domestic abuse by players and just this month the hidden power of Facebook to determine the news you see.”

(The whole Times article is worth reading). 

Can anyone doubt that Thiel is speaking honestly and from the heart, and that Nick Denton is giving us spin and deception? The Hogan case has nothing to do with Facebook. It has nothing to do with any of the stories Denton mentioned, which all strike me as legitimate news stories. It is not, for me, a freedom of the press issue.

It has everything to do with publishing a sex tape to make money, or outing someone as gay who doesn't want to be outed to make money.  Or the "outing" story on Gawker last year that inspired widespread criticism. I don't want to get too specific because doing so would compound what Gawker did, but if you follow news about Gawker you know what I mean. I'm sure Nick Denton does.

Tyler Cowen weighs in. 


Number Two Collective said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
supergee said...

You need not worry about me supporting Trump; I will probably offend enough people here by voting for Hillary. said...

tory burch handbags
michael kors canada
nike outlet store
jordan retro 11
true religion outlet
louis vuitton bags
kd 8 shoes
coach outlet store online
coach factory outlet online
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet
louboutin shoes
retro 11
toms wedges
adidas originals shoes
adidas uk
gucci outlet
burberry outlet
coach factory outlet
gucci handbags
oakley vault
coach factory outlet
gucci outlet
toms shoes
ralph lauren outlet
nike air max 90
fitflop sandals
jordan 6s
cheap toms

Gege Dai said...

coach outlet online
ugg australia
toms outlet store
ray ban sunglasses
longchamp outlet
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors handbags outlet
mulberry handbags sale
coach outlet online
lebron james shoes
tiffany and co
michael kors uk
nike air max 90
salomon shoes sale
ugg outlet online
thomas sabo uk
cheap nfl jerseys
nike outlet online
coach outlet canada
toms outlet
ray ban sunglasses
oakley sunglasses sale
reebok outlet store
ralph lauren outlet
dior outlet
mbt shoes outlet
beats headphones
mulberry bags
tiffany outlet
rolex watches
new balance outlet
burberry outlet

Fangyaya said...

cheap uggs
moncler paris
christian louboutin outlet
canada goose outlet
nike factory outlet
jordan 13
kevin durant 8 shoes
michael kors handbags
instyler max
ugg boots
louis vuitton outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
uggs canada
michael kors handbags
nike tn pas cher
gucci outlet
fitflops sale clearance
canada goose jackets
coach outlet store online clearances
burberry outlet online
boston celtics jerseys
ugg boots
true religion
vans shoes
gucci handbags
oakley sunglasses
michael kors handbags
coach outlet store online clearances
louis vuitton handbags

Hua Cai said...

nba jerseys
louis vuitton
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet clearance
uggs on sale
michael kors outlet
tory burch sandals
ghd uk
longchamp solde
michael kors uk

dada24 Xu said...

coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet online
kate spade outlet online
christian louboutin
ugg outlet
moncler coats
fitflops sale
michael kors outlet store
true religion outlet store
michael kors handbags clearance