The Motivation Behind Gawker’s Attacks On Steve Jobs

I wrote this months ago in the very first days of the Occupy movement but it was never published. Just came across a draft of it and figured better late than never.  In the months since then, I bought a Macbook Pro, Occupy has devolved even further and Gawker devolved too; they did the most hideous and cowardly posthumous attack on Andrew Breitbart.

“Kill man’s sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it. Great men can’t be ruled. We don’t want any great men.”

– Ellsworth Toohey in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

With the “Occupy Everything” movement ringing up media attention,  the passing of Apple co-founder  Steve Jobs could not have come at a worse time for the institutional left. Jobs tragically lost his battle with cancer at the same time that Democrat machine is trying to create an anti-business, anti-wealth atmosphere that lumps together crony capitalist bailout money recipients with vast majority of people who earned their money by creating and innovating.

Even more ironically, the Occupy protests are powered by a generation of hippie-sters who routinely use Apple’s product line to organize their attacks on the greedy rich and America’s economic system. With Jobs’ rise from the garage to one of the world’s biggest companies suddenly in the media spotlight, the narrative of capitalism’s failures suddenly seems petulant and misguided.

Enter the glib media hit squad at Gawker.

Appallingly, they spent the two days following Jobs’ passing not just featuring stories designed to throw mud on his coffin but actually giving them the extra tasteless push of emailing them out to their readership.

It’s just another example of the journalistic swamp Gawker has created for itself – an identity somewhere between a trashy celebrity tabloid and a purveyor of increasingly obvious political machete massacres rivaling Media Matters for America.

The first story — published less than 24 hours after Job’s death was announced — was titled “Steve Jobs Was Not God,” and it wasn’t aimed at Apple’s sometimes overzealous fanboys but at Jobs himself, damning him with faint praise and backhanded insults. Author Hamilton Nolan said:

Steve Jobs was great at what he did. There’s no need to further fellate the man’s memory. He made good computers, he made good phones, he made good music players. He sold them well. He got obscenely rich.

To Nolan, it’s rhetorical oral sex to say that Jobs did more than make “good” things. Nolan is probably aware that Jobs built not just businesses but entire industries, and he’s probably even vaguely aware in his lizard brain of the incredible amount of effort, intelligence, and focus that was required to create and grow a company from nothing over three decades.

Nolan can’t just out-and-out dismiss this, so he plays down Jobs’ achievement. Jobs made good computers. That sounds easy. Whatever. And then Nolan throws in the modifier “obscenely” before the word “rich” without explaining why he’s calling the money that Jobs earned as pornographic. There’s something obscene here, all right, but it’s not in Jobs’ bank account.

If that wasn’t subtle enough, Gawker followed up this piece the next day with “What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs.” This allowed them to get even more derogatory. They begin (less than 48 hours after  Mr. Job’s passing) by saying, “After celebrating Jobs’ achievements, we should talk freely about the dark side of Jobs and the company he co-founded. Here, then, is a catalog of lowlights…”

And then they give it, including everything from criticizing Jobs for not allowing porn on the Apple App Store to manufacturing in China (something that’s done by… ummm… everyone) to getting into his personal life.

The issue here isn’t that Jobs or Apple is above criticism, but the timing, vehemence and nature of Gawker’s attacks on Jobs show that there’s a deeper agenda here, and Gawker’s sneering ugliness isn’t designed to give a fuller picture of Jobs but to drop their trousers at business, success, achievement, and greatness.

What was the article that Gawker sent to their readers the day before Job’s passing?

It was “Live From The Occupy Wall Street March,” and they certainly made no attempt to create a full, balanced picture of that that event. Here’s what everyone is too polite to say about the Occupy Wall Street crowd:  none of them will ever come close to affecting the world in as positive a way as the visionary Steve Jobs did. None of them.

Gawker has taken achievement-hating journalistic nihilism to a new low. They win the Ellsworth Toohey award; God help them. Now, if they have any integrity, they will promptly turn in all their Apple products. After all, they were manufactured in China and that’s evil, right?

To end on a positive note, this video of Steve Jobs’ last public appearance is worth watching. He’s pitching an amazing new building for Apple’s headquarters — a building that he knew he’d live never to see. He tells touching stories of his first summer job working for Hewlett-Packard, as well.

Ultimately, the haters at Gawker aren’t important; the ambition and vision of men like Jobs are.

Coming This August: Organizing Against Obama

I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and I really regret it. The more I’ve worked as reporter and investigated what the reality of the Obama administration is, the more I regret it. Daily, pretty much.

So, I’ve launched a site with some intitial info on a new event for August I’m helping put on called Organizing Against Obama. It’s going to be about 100 days before the election, when many people are just starting to pay attention to politics. The goal is to train and organize people to defeat Obama at the polls in November. Read more on the new website. And stay tuned for more announcements about it.