If what Gawker did was defensible in Hulk Hogan’s case, then so’s #gamergate. I don’t like those tactics, no matter who uses them. Gawker’s been coloring outside the lines so long, it’s mistaken the public’s indifference to their actions, by and large, for an endorsement of those actions.
It’s not a rational argument to say “if you bankrupt Gawker we’ll get Über Gawker, which you may not be able to sue.” Gawker hid behind the money its advertising stream made for it — which allowed it to hire a legal defense of its often slimy tactics. Thiel simply leveled the playing field. He didn’t buy the judge or jury in that case, he simply made sure the people suing Gawker could stand toe-to-toe with them in court, which they did. And thanks to Thiel’s help, they prevailed.
The media has indulged in an orgy of defamation of character and invasion of privacy with regard to anyone with unfashionable politics for decades. They behave the way the #gamergate guys would if they had a few billion dollars to play with. It’s disingenuous to rail at Peter Thiel for bringing his money to the table to counter what can only be called journalistic malpractice.