Gawker has recently raised $90,000 of its $200,000 goal in an effort to pay off an anonymous source for a recording of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.
The website’s writers, who claim to have already seen the video, couldn’t get Gawker to foot the hefty $200,000 cost and so have asked readers for donations to help pay for the coveted recording.
Of course, the amount of money being raised towards a video documenting some politician’s recreational drug habit could just as easily be spent on more worthwhile efforts. Gawker does state in one of its articles that “if for some reason we raise the money but the deal goes south, we will donate it to a Canadian nonprofit that addresses substance abuse issues.” The website later half-heartedly offers a link to the Red Cross’s website in case any reader finds their fund raising efforts misplaced.
The idea that the money should be used to help people rather than entertain them seems particularly valid in the wake of the catastrophic Tornado that has hit Oklahoma recently. Indeed, I was assigned to write this article to highlight the difficulties many charitable organizations face while trying to fund efforts and operations, while condemning Gawker’s lack of humanity.
But Gawker isn’t really at fault here. It advertises itself as a gossip blog and earns its revenue by publishing gossipy stuff for the entertainment of its readers. By adding an ending disclaimer — however unenthusiastically — reminding us that we can donate to the Red Cross rather than buying a $200,000 tape, it essentially absolves itself of any wrongdoing.
It is, however, a bit ridiculous that there are enough people willing to donate even close to half the $200,000 to see a tape of a man smoking crack, when there are so many other important issues like hunger, refugees, homelessness, senior care, drug and alcohol abuse, literacy, women’s rights, and a litany of other problems plaguing the world that could use that kind of funding.