Was Gawker a part of the scandalous behavior instigated by Burson-Marsteller (BM), the giant p.r. firm that has admitted to being hired by Facebook to attack Google? In the previous post, The Cable Gamer noted that CNBC owes an apology to Dan Lyons, who broke the "BM-gate" news. The news, that is, that BM was attempting to solicit bloggers, for pay, to slime Google, as Facebook footed BM's bill.
Kudos to Lyons for busting BM and Facebook and their sleazy behavior And hats off, as well, to privacy blogger Chris Soghoian for fearlessly exposing BM's shenanigans, which might well constitute legally actionable corporate defamation.
But it seems to the Cable Gamer that some other loose threads need to be pulled on till the truth is exposed. For example, was Gawker.com one of the websites that BM solicited to slime Google? It sure seems like it.
Consider: On Wednesday, May 11, Gawker ran this story attacking Google for "scraping" the privacy of Facebook users. See screengrab below:
This story, we might note, reads as if it were dictated by BM, or by BM's paymaster, Facebook. So where did all this information come from? Did Gawker author Ryan Tate do all his own digging, or was he simply dictated to by BM? And if he was dictated to, was he also compensated? As in blogger "payola"? Do tell, Gawker!
UPDATE #1: Gawker's Ryan Tate wrote in last night to protest. He says that he was not contacted by BM or anyone else. OK, fair enough. But then how, exactly did Gawker get wind of this story at the same time as so many others? Unless Tate is a Google-privacy expert--which is possible--then he most likely was reading the work of others who might well have been influenced by the BM offensive. Which is to say, he, too, innocently, was affected. That's good p.r. in action! Until, of course, it all went bad.
If the Cable Gamer is confused, so were other commenters--and Gawker, to its credit, left those comments up. Here's a screengrab of "Spinnakero," who asks at the end of his post:
Is Gawker now beyond some semblance of fact checking/reading the source material, or are you just going to throw a bunch of links on a webpage and shill some PR firm's smear campaign?
Amusingly and quite cheekily, the very next day, on May 12, the same Gawker, and the ame Ryan Tate, ran an item reporting on BM-gate, calling Facebook "sleazy." See screengrab below:
What's truly remarkable is that Tate/Gawker could write this new story(Facebook bad) without bothering to mention that Tate/Gawker had written the opposite story (Google bad) the very day before.
The Cable Gamer smells a rat in the BM-Gawker nexus. BM should come clean about all the news/opinion portals that it contacted, especially those who accepted BM's poisoned-pennings. With full disclosure, of course, as to any money or other consideration that might have changed hands between Facebook/BM and any portals and publishers. And all websites and other publications should come clean, too, because for all we know, more p.r. hitmen than just BM could have been involved in Facebook's effort to slime Google.
Indeed, it sure looks as if Gawker was one of the bad guys. What say you, Ryan Tate? What say you, Gawker owner Nick Denton?
UPDATE #2: Ryan Tate further notes that he had included a note in the May 12 piece, referring back to the May 11 piece--noting the irony of reversing field so quickly. TCG must have missed that the first time around, and she says this, not because she is overly trusting--and she is, after all, mindful that it's easy to rewrite history by the simple acting of editing a post--but because so many negative comments about the Gawker pieces remain on the site. For example, these negative comments: