I recently saw a program on Netflix called Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press about the legal stoush between Hulk Hogan and an online media site called Gawker. Being an independent publisher, I found this very interesting. In short, Hulk Hogan, unbeknown to Gawker, had a wealthy billionaire, Peter Thiel, funding his legal case.
Why, you may ask? Payback!
Peter Thiel had an axe to grind linked to stories Gawker had run on him in the past and he used the Hulk Hogan case to get them back. And get them back he did. The case bankrupted Gawker and its owner, putting them out of business.
To make matters even more interesting, Peter Thiel is a big supporter of Donald Trump. It all ties together with Trump’s ongoing attack on the First Amendment, and in particular freedom of the press and the assault on US litigation laws by Trump to make it increasingly easy to sue the media if you don’t like what they have to say about you. The United States and Australia are so closely linked that what happens there will most surely happen here. Do we need to be worried? I am!
If money and power can silence the media, we are all in big trouble. A free press could be sued into silence, with no media game enough to bring corporate Australia, our government and government agencies, or our politicians to account in fear of litigation. The classified rivers of gold funding newspapers have all dried up and true investigative journalism is already feeling the pinch. Open and unencumbered litigation of the media for telling the truth will be the final nail in the coffin of the free press, freedom of the press, and keeping the bastards honest.
Who would have thought that WrestleMania and Hulk Hogan’s bedroom antics would raise such serious issues. Our free press stands us apart from dictatorships and communist states and should be protected at all costs. Bad things happen when good people do nothing. We all have a vested interest in freedom of the press, so let’s not let it happen.
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