The Gawker Tax

Capital New York’s Peter Sterne recaps a meeting between several editors and business partners at Gawker, regarding the publishing and subsequent takedown of that trashy article:

This sparked a shouting match between [managing editor Nick] Denton and Gawker features editor Leah Finnegan, who previously worked as a staff editor at the [New York Times].

“[The Times] doesn’t [weigh its reporters against its advertisers]! I know that for a fact. It does not and it never will,” Finnegan said.

“I think at some level, yes they do. I know enough New York Times people to know that,” Denton said.

“Nick, I worked there for two and a half years. They canceled ads in favor of journalism.”

“Do you know how much money we lose all the time, because of cancellations in ads? I cannot, I cannot believe that you are actually saying this!”

“Make this into an advertising company then! Say what it really is! It’s not a place for journalism!”

[John] Cook told everyone to calm down and the conversation moved on.

Two things are true here: the Times (broadly) maintains separation between church and state — that is, the editorial and advertising departments of the paper; and, the Times has vastly higher journalistic standards than Gawker. It would be irresponsible to have a conversation about the legitimacy of this entire incident without acknowledging that Gawker is, at its core, a morally-corrupt disingenuous advertising company masquerading as a news organization.

Update: The Times has confirmed to Politico that they’re not jackasses:

“It’s too bad that Mr. Denton is trying to damage others to get out of his own scandal,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy wrote in an email when asked about Denton’s remarks. “The New York Times does not make decisions about assignments or beats based on advertisers.”