Last night Gawker published a story alleging that David Geithner, Condé Nast’s CFO and the brother of former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, attempted to hire a prostitute to meet him in Chicago for sex. After figuring out who his client was, the story goes, the prostitute attempted to coerce Geithner into using his brother’s political connections to help with a legal dispute, which Geithner refused to do. In retaliation, the prostitute gave (sold?) the story to Gawker’s Jordan Sargent, who is apparently perfectly fine being the instrument of retribution for an attempted shakedown.
Porn news site Str8UpGayPorn, which is literally the least safe-for-work thing I’ve ever linked here–please believe me on this–quickly uncovered Sargent’s pseudonymous source and discovered that he is utterly batshit, subscribing to a wide range of conspiracy theories, many of which center on President Obama and his administration. Gawker competitor Charles C. Johnson had a chat with him via text, kind of, but didn’t get much beyond the wackadoo either. Choire concluded that the story is a puzzling effort to bolster traditional values, and that “[i]t’d be a worse but more exciting world if there were a well-organized, well-funded force for fear and menace operating near journalism. What if one of us doesn’t conform? They can keep us all in line whenever we stray.” Twitter reaction ranged from condemnatory to apocalyptic, and Reason pointed out that “It’s not every day one comes across a news story that provokes positive feelings toward [Senator Ted] Cruz, sympathy for a Geithner, and revulsion at Gawker.”
Gawker owner Nick Denton and at least some of his employees were proud of their work–though former senior writer Adam Weinstein took the opportunity to critique the site and publicly announce that he was fired late last month.
I generally do a quiz on Friday, but today I only have one question for you. Answer it below, and I’ll report the results on Monday:
UPDATE: Denton posted on Kinja Friday afternoon to announce that Gawker was taking down the Geithner post. “It was an editorial call, a close call around which there were more internal disagreements than usual,” he explained. “And it is a decision I regret.”