Full Disclosure

Posted on July 27th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

A commenter below points out that, when writing about Gawker and Nick Denton, I should have acknowledged that Gawker has written negative things about me.

I have no idea if Gawker has written negative things about me. I wouldn’t be surprised, but if Gawker has, I have forgotten.

Jezebel, one of Gawker’s companion websites, has written negative things about me. But then writer Anna Merlan had to apologize for them, because they literally could not have been more wrong, as was proved in about a day.

But if you want to know the truth, I wasn’t really bothered by what Jezebel wrote, because it was just silly and ad hominem; it’s much more irritating to be criticized when the critic is right.

And then the writer of the Jezebel thing apologized. It was a snarky apology—”This is what a professional journalistic correction looks like…”, an oxymoronic claim—but whatever. I accepted the apology and moved on—and encouraged some of the people who kept criticizing her to do the same.

So, yes, by all means, I’m happy to disclose that, and grateful to the commenter for pointing it out. But it wasn’t in my head when I was writing what I wrote about Nick Denton.

In Fairness to Nick Denton

Posted on July 20th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

This response to the resignations of two of his editors feels much more honest and thoughtful than the note I criticized in the post below.

This is the company I built. I was ashamed to have my name and Gawker’s associated with a story on the private life of a closeted gay man who some felt had done nothing to warrant the attention. We believe we were within our legal right to publish, but it defied the 2015 editorial mandate to do stories that inspire pride, and made impossible the jobs of those most committed to defending such journalism.

Better.

Though I would delete the words “some felt.”

The Cowardice of Nick Denton

Posted on July 18th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »

I don’t need to say much about why Gawker’s recent post outing a married, male publishing executive was disgusting. It’s already been said: The man wasn’t a public figure, Gawker allowed itself to be complicit in a blackmail scheme, and exposing the private conflict of a man just because he works at a publishing company you don’t like, or is the brother of a financier you don’t like—or just for buzz, or clicks—is indefensible.

But you know all that already.

No, what really gets me is the pusillanimous statement by Gawker owner Nick Denton explaining why he and the the majority of the board that runs Gawker decided to take the post down.

Because Denton refuses to take responsibility for a post that has just destroyed a man’s life. Instead, he argues, the fault lies in the shifting standards of the Internet.

Here’s how he makes this disgraceful argument.

He begins by saying, well, look, this story we posted wasn’t really so bad.

First, he calls it “an editorial close call,” which it shouldn’t have been.

Then he adds,

The story involves extortion, illegality and reckless behavior, sufficient justification at least in tabloid news terms. The account was true and well-reported. It concerns a senior business executive at one of the most powerful media companies on the planet.

This is disingenuous. The story did involve extortion, yes. But Denton should have acknowledged that, by publishing the story, Gawker was complicit in that extortion. The story did “involve” illegality, but no illegality actually occurred except perhaps for the extortion that Gawker facilitated; the executive in question did not actually meet the escort. And while it is true that reckless behavior is a story for tabloids, Denton omits a key fact; that reckless behavior has to be conducted by public people to make it “newsworthy” and legally defensible. The man in question was not a public individual, despite him being (gasp) a “senior business executive”—Gawker code words for “easy target”—at “one of the most powerful media companies” on the planet. These are the buzzwords of desperate rationalization.

Denton continues: “In the early days of the Internet, that would have been enough.”

I’m not so sure that’s true—I don’t remember Matt Drudge, for example, ever outing a private person—but in any case it’s an asinine argument. It’s a bit like saying, “Well, we shot a man in the back for no reason because in the Wild West you could get away with that.” The fact that you can get away with something is no excuse for bad behavior.

More:

But the media environment has changed, our readers have changed, and I have changed. Not only is criticism of yesterday’s piece from readers intense, but much of what they’ve said has resonated. Some of our own writers, proud to work at one of the only independent media companies, are equally appalled. I believe this public mood reflects a growing recognition that we all have secrets, and they are not all equally worthy of exposure.

There is a factual inaccuracy here and a fallacy. The factual inaccuracy is to posit that there was a time when publishing a vicious story about the personal life of a private man would have been socially or journalistically sanctioned, but that standards are now changing.

(This is not to say that such stories were never published; it is to say that no serious journalist would ever have tried to justify them.)

The fallacy is that Gawker’s only mistake was not to recognize these allegedly shifting sands of public taste. No. Gawker’s mistake was to publish a hateful piece of journalism because a) it thinks this man is powerful, and it doesn’t like powerful people, and b) to make money.

This is not about some larger cultural change, some macro-trend that Gawker—which prides itself on setting trends, not following them—was, oops, late to detect. This is about human decency and the responsible use of power. And it’s about taking responsibility for a mistake, rather than fobbing it off on changing tastes.

Denton’s refusal to take responsibility continues as he obfuscates about the damage that Gawker’s post has done.

The point of this story was not in my view sufficient to offset the embarrassment to the subject and his family, he says. And a few sentences later: This action will not turn back the clock. XXXXXXX’s embarrassment will not be eased.

[The “XXXX”s are mine. It’s a symbolic gesture, obviously, because everybody knows the man’s name. But I can’t stomach writing it just because Gawker did.)

Let’s think about that word, “embarrassment,” what it means and what it doesn’t mean, because it’s important; it’s what Denton suggests, twice, is the consequence of this post. If you fart in an elevator, you’re “embarrassed.” If you mispronounce a common word, you’re “embarrassed.” If you realize at the end of a day that you’ve been walking around with your fly open, you’re “embarrassed.”

So, no—this media executive isn’t “embarrassed.” I don’t know him, so the following are simply possibilities, but he could be “shamed.” He could be “humiliated.” He could be “ruined” or “destroyed.”

He is married; his marriage may now be over.

He has children. What will their lives be like when they show up at school on Monday? What would Denton or Gawker editor Max Read, who published the story and still defends it, say to them?

To say that he is “embarrassed” is an insult to decency, and an act of cowardice. Nick Denton published something that may have destroyed a man’s life; this is the kind of violation that people commit suicide over. To say that it caused him “embarrassment” is an act of cowardice.

Why is it so hard to take responsibility? To say, “We were wrong—really wrong—and we apologize.”

In the end, Denton can not resist a bit of self-congratulation.

As we go forward, we will hew to our mission of reporting and publishing important stories that our competitors are too timid, or self-consciously upright, to pursue.

Too timid? Too self-consciously upright?

Fuck you, Nick Denton. The reason other journalists don’t publish such stories is not because we’re timid or “self-consciously upright.” We don’t publish them because they hurt people for no valid reason.

Denton’s last words:

this decision will establish a clear standard for future stories. It is not enough for them simply to be true. They have to reveal something meaningful. They have to be true and interesting. These texts were interesting, but not enough, in my view.

This is incoherent and intellectually un-serious thought. Many people would have said that the story in question was “interesting,” and it appears to be true. So Denton has just created a standard that justifies the post he’s just removed from his site.

There is a bit of good news here. The backlash against this post, and against Gawker, has been really encouraging. The vast majority of commenters on its site are as appalled as I am about the post.

Rolling Stone has suffered tangible harm from its publication of a deliberately false story about a deliberately false accusation of rape. There may be a price to pay for Gawker too.

The Times Comes to the Defense of Ellen Pao

Posted on July 12th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

Given my interest in Buddy Fletcher, I can’t help but be fascinated by the ongoing saga of his wife, Ellen Pao, who, after losing her sex discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, has now resigned under pressure from her position as interim CEO of Reddit.

I’m not a Reddit user, and so I’m reluctant to propose conclusions about what really happened to Pao there; given the levels of intrigue about the ins and outs of the site, this feels like a story that’s very hard for the mainstream media to understand.

(I felt the same way about the Grateful Dead shows in Chicago a couple weeks ago, as when various non-Deadhead music writers criticized the band for playing the beautiful and powerful song “Days Between” as slowing down the band’s finals show, without realizing what resonance it has for Deadheads who remember the wistful beauty with which Jerry Garcia sang it. But I digress.)

But you don’t have to be a Reddit expert to know bad media coverage, and the Times provides a perfect example of it with its story on Pao, aggressively titled “It’s Silicon Valey 2, Ellen Pao 0: Fighter of Sexism is Out at Reddit.”

Let’s start with the headline and then say a few words about the actual content of the article.

To label Pao a “fighter of sexism” is to accept her proposition that fighting sexism was the raison d’être of her lawsuit, rather than the $16 million she hoped to get paid—money that she and her husband desperately need given his enormous financial debts. (He’s something like $150 million in debt.) Is it fair to describe Pao as a fighter of sexism when a jury of six men and six women found that she was not a victim of sexism?

“Fighter of sexism” is obviously a loaded term, and it aligns the Times squarely behind Pao, as does the rest of the headline: “Silicon Valley 2, Ellen Pao 0″, making it sound as if big bad Silicon Valley is picking on poor put-upon Pao. According to the Times, there are only two sides here: Silicon Valley and the fighter against sexism. This is how history is written, so…it matters.

Here’s how the Times frames the story:

Ms. Pao’s abrupt downfall in the face of a torrent of sexist and racist comments, many of them on Reddit itself, is quite likely to renew charges that bullying, harassment and cruel behavior are out of control on the web — and that Silicon Valley’s well-publicized problem with gender and ethnic diversity in its work force persists.

I get that there was bigotry and sexism in many of the comments Reddit users wrote about Pao. Part of me deplores them; part of me thinks, “Welcome to the Internet.”

What’s unclear to me is how much substance there was in the allegations that Pao was a bad CEO; after all, over 200, 000 Reddit users signed a petition calling on her to step down. Is that because she is a woman and Asian? Or is it because she just wasn’t very good at her job—which is exactly what Kleiner Perkins said of Pao.

Amidst the swirl of bias allegations, we now have two highly competitive institutions—Kleiner Perkins and Reddit—suggesting that, in fact, Ellen Pao is, at the very least, a difficult personality. This is the kind of thing that makes these sexism allegations hard to dismiss; some men are difficult personalities—Steve Jobs was a difficult personality—but their fans don’t seem to care. Yet when a woman is a difficult personality….

But perhaps difficulty is tolerated not because of gender, but because of talent. Jobs got away with being difficult—well, except when he was fired from Apple for it—because he was a genius. Maybe Ellen Pao is difficult and just, you know, a pretty smart person. That was the impression I got watching this interview with Katie Couric, where, every time Pao was asked about the lawsuit, she repeats the mantra, “We’re not talking about it.” After about the fifth time she says that, Couric has to help her out and say, “And you’re not talking about it because you’re thinking of appealing the verdict?”

Pap also refuses to answer a question about her husband in a sort of odd, off-putting way.

And I suppose that this is crucial to some of my own skepticism about Pao. First, there are times, like in the interview above, where she comes across as robotic and weird. (And yes, I know that “robotic” is a loaded term to apply to an Asian person, but…watch the interview.)

Second, she married a man who is bizarrely litigious—even though a judge ruled that Fletcher must pay investors in his hedge fund $140 million, and Fletcher is being sued by various law firms for non-payment of millions of dollars in legal fees, Fletcher is still pursuing his racial discrimination lawsuit against the Dakota, which wouldn’t sell him an apartment on the grounds that his finances were shaky—and, in my opinion, of questionable character. (There’s evidence to suggest that Fletcher drained his funds dry, including pension monies for Louisiana firefighters, to support a lavish lifestyle.)

Is it sexist to suggest that Pao’s relationship with Fletcher is part of what one should consider when considering her? Many in the mainstream media seem to think so, because the issue is largely avoided there. And maybe in a courtroom, her marriage isn’t relevant. But when considering the entirety of a person—her character, her motivations—I don’t see how you can ignore it.

What Is Expected of a Blogger?

Posted on July 9th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

I see that my infrequent writing has created some debate about whether or not this blog remains viable, or worth visiting, or even the state of my health. While I am happy to stir debate—always have been—the truth is, this blog has always gone through phases; it went through a long period in its beginning, for example, when three-quarters of the posts were about things that were happening at Harvard, the subject of my second book—until eventually I decided that I was no longer informed enough about goings-on there to be a meaningful and regular contributor to discussions about the world’s most powerful university. Shots in the Dark’s most recent phase, writing about the irrationality of the discussion about campus sexual assault, has been a somewhat accidental period. Though I’ve covered the subject regularly, it only became a frequent topic for me after the whole Rolling Stone thing blew up. But I never wanted to be the go-to guy for sexual assault skepticism. As you get older, I think, you want to write about things you support, not just things that outrage or depress or befuddle you.(Though, to be fair, the Rolling Stone piece was as much a measure of my passion for beautifully reported and edited journalism as it was a reflection of my doubts about the prevalence of campus sexual assault.)

I’ll grant that the infrequency of my posting is at a peak. But I think I can say that I’ve never been quite so busy in my life. Things at the day job have kicked up several notches, which is, on the whole,terrific. Worth is entering a new and really exciting phase, and I hope to be a big contributor to that. And my family is, along with all things literary, the other great joy of my life; I can never give my wife and my two boys as much time as they deserve, or as I would like to. My father wasn’t around much in my life. I don’t want to be that kind of dad.

I’m trying to exercise more, too. I’m in probably the worst physical shape I’ve been in since, well, ever, due to the difficulty of finding time to work out. (I used to be an obsessive gym rat. I still am, except now I obsess about how little I go to the gym.) At 50, I don’t love feeling out of shape; it starts to seem like a bad idea. So I’m trying to address that as well.

I’m also kicking around the idea of writing a book again; my last book, The Greatest Game, came out almost ten years ago—a fact which I have a tough time wrapping my head around. I loved that book, and I’m proud of it, but at the same time there are things about The Greatest Game that I would have done differently had I had more time and money. (I got a relatively small advance for that one, so I was working two jobs to write it, getting up at 4 AM to write the book and going to a day job at 8 AM.) Anyway, it’s not the book I want to be my last; that itch is in me, and I am going to have to scratch it soon.

So, yes, the blog has suffered as I’ve had to try to be more disciplined with my time. But it won’t go away forever; the ability to express myself in short, succinct posts matters too much to me. I’ve started tweeting now—rpbradley1 is my Twitter name—and I like that all right, but really, you can’t say much in 140 characters. It’s a thought, but not thought, if you know what I mean.

As for whether you keep reading the blog—well, I suppose that I hope you do. Every writer wants an audience. But I’ll tell you something: In the 11 years I’ve been blogging, I have never once measured the number of hits the blog receives. I don’t even know how. This is the one space where I never wanted to worry about making money from writing or how many people were reading what I wrote. Not knowing whether it was read by a thousand people or by ten was enormously liberating; truly, I was writing for myself. And the thing that’s great about that is, it’s the way I write best. It’s when I’m most honest and take the most chances, because commerce and critics don’t count, and I don’t feel like everyone is watching me, as I did with, say, American Son. I’d rather be read than not, but here, on Shots on the Dark, I really try not to worry about that.

So bear with me if you like. Don’t if you don’t. I’ll be here, though maybe not as much as I used to be. Sounds like the same will apply to some of you. Well—I hope we meet again. I think we will.

And, Yes, I Am Alive

Posted on June 30th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

Sorry guys. I’ve know I’ve been a complete bust as a blogger lately. I’ve just had so much going on—lots of (good) stuff at the day job, and two young kids who will soak up all the time and attention that I can give them. But thank you for bearing with me.

Here are some things that I would have written about had I had the time to write about them.

1) Emma Sulkowicz’s bizarre performance art video
2) The abundance of wildlife that has been traipsing across my yard—and in my home—this summer
3) Presidential politics and the Supreme Court
4) My deep, deep desire to go see one of the upcoming Grateful Dead shows—and why I have resisted the urge
5) Various literary frauds
6) A-Rod and the absence of steroids
7) The competitive world of suburban children’s birthday parties
8) Why Hillary is vulnerable
9) So much more

So I will try to get back on track promptly.

I’m Still Here

Posted on May 26th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 34 Comments »

My apologies for the fact that I haven’t written much lately. It’s been an unusually busy time at the day job.

I did want to let folks know that, yes, as some of you have figured out, I was subpoenaed because of this blog. The subpoena, which was delivered by a very nice guy straight to my office, came as a result of comments made on a post about the trial of Mark Zimny, an education consultant who was recently found guilty of committing fraud against one of his clients. I wrote one post about the subject a few years back, but that post has become a sort of bulletin board for all those interested in the case—and apparently it has a small but passionate following.

One of the commenters appeared to be a member of the jury in Zimny’s trial, and his/her comment suggested that the jury had begun discussing the case among themselves before receiving the judge’s instructions, which may or may not be grounds for a mistrial.

The subpoena, which actually came from the district attorney involved in prosecuting the case, compelled me to provide the IP address of the commenter.

(As any commenter on this blog knows, I do not require registration for comments, though I do have to approve any comment which contains a hyperlink. Therefore, an IP address is the only information that I could provide about a commenter.)

I got the subpoena on a Friday; I was compelled to appear in court on Monday morning. It came with a check for $45, apparently to cover round-trip transportation between New York and Boston.

Deeply irritating.

I consulted with a friend who works in media law for an international media conglomerate, and asked him about their policy regarding the anonymity of commenters. He advised me that his conglomerate does not provide it, and that most media firms do not believe that preserving the anonymity of commenters is a First Amendment issue. Which is a good thing for all us to bear in mind.

On Monday morning, I emailed the information to the district attorney. I’ve had no communication with them since, and I have no idea if anything came of it.

As to the Zimny post—it has been nothing but a pain in the ass for me. (I previously had to delete a threatening comment.)

I am still debating whether to simply delete it.

In any case, apologies for the silence on this end. Stay tuned—there’s more stuff coming.

Now Nicole Eramo is Suing

Posted on May 12th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 74 Comments »

The Washington Post reports that UVA dean Nicole Eramo is suing Rolling Stone for $7.5 million.

Eramo, who is the university’s chief administrator dealing with sexual assaults, argues in the lawsuit that the story destroyed her credibility, permanently damaged her reputation and caused her emotional distress. She assailed the account as containing numerous falsehoods that the magazine could have avoided if it had worked to verify the story of its main character, a student named Jackie who alleged she was gang raped in 2012 and that the university mishandled her case.

“Rolling Stone and Erdely’s highly defamatory and false statements about Dean Eramo were not the result of an innocent mistake,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Charlottesville Circuit Court. “They were the result of a wanton journalist who was more concerned with writing an article that fulfilled her preconceived narrative about the victimization of women on American college campuses, and a malicious publisher who was more concerned about selling magazines to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine, than they were about discovering the truth or actual facts.”

It’s actually pretty hard to argue with those allegations. There’s no question that Sabrina Rubin Erdely was more concerned with writing an article that was about fulfilling her preconceived narrative than she was about telling the truth; stupidly, she essentially admitted that before the whole thing started to fall apart. And Rolling Stone was so sloppy, so careless, you’d have to think that buzz and the resulting boost in advertising/circulation were significant rationales for publishing this story.

Given that Rolling Stone and Erdeley both had ample evidence to show that Eramo handled the Jackie situation quite well, yet still chose to suggest very much the opposite, I think Eramo is going to have a strong case.

Generally, I don’t like to see magazines sued, because it’s a tough business and most journalists really do try to do their work well and conscientiously. But in this case, I can’t be that upset. Rolling Stone’s article was the worst piece of journalism I’ve seen in many years. In this one case at least, I’d say that publishing such crap does more harm to the profession than the libel suits that follow it.

Remembering Dave Goldberg…Truthfully

Posted on May 4th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 54 Comments »

I was shocked and saddened on Saturday to learn of the death of Dave Goldberg, the CEO of Survey Monkey who is probably better known as Mrs. Sheryl Sandberg, at age 47. I don’t know him or his wife, but as a guy about that age who also has two young kids, I was very much affected by the news of his death.

Readers of this blog will know that I am not a fan of Sandberg, but that’s irrelevant: It’s a tragedy to lose a husband and father at such a young age. My heart goes out to his family.

That said, I was startled to see the massive, above-the-fold story on page 1 of today’s Times Business section: “Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate.”

Are you kidding me?

The Times’ Jodi Kantor, who is usually quite good, wrote this piece of hype tripe.

According to Kantor, Goldberg grew up in progressive Minnesota, where, a friend says, “there was woman power in every aspect of our lives.”

Later, when Dave Goldberg was in high school and his prom date, Jill Chessen, stayed silent in a politics class, he chastised her afterward. He said, “You need to speak up,” Ms. Chessen recalled in an interview. “They need to hear your voice.”

Later, when Goldberg was CEO of a digital music company and one of his employees had a baby, he—wait for it—”kept giving her challenging assignments…but also let her work from home one day a week.”

After Goldberg’s music company was bought by Yahoo, Kantor writes, “Mr. Goldberg became known for distributing roses to all the women in the office on Valentine’s Day.”

This is feminism? I would have thought that a boss giving roses to women who work for him might fall into the opposite ledger, even on Valentine’s Day. But I guess the definition of feminism is different depending on what social class you belong to. If you went to Harvard, according to the New York Times, you can give roses to your female employees; if you went to SUNY-Albany, that’s a serious no-no.

Here’s another example of Goldberg’s work on behalf of women:

“When Mellody Hobson, a friend and finance executive, wrote a chapter of “Lean In” about women of color for the college edition of the book, Mr. Goldberg gave her feedback on the draft, a clue to his deep involvement.”

Mellody Hobson, if you don’t know, is one of the world’s richest women, and not just because she’s a partner in a Chicago investment firm, but because she’s married to Star Wars creator George Lucas. Reading her chapter is not exactly philanthropy; it’s a sign of how well-connected the world’s richest people are. There are greater efforts to make on your wife’s behalf.

As Goldberg and Sandberg became immensely rich, Kantor continues, they hashed out their roles in their marriage.

He paid the bills, she planned the birthday parties, and both often left their offices at 5:30 so they could eat dinner with their children before resuming work afterward.

Never mind that this is a predictably gender-based allocation of responsibilities (he handles the money, she makes social plans), but…so frigging what? Every single married couple in America has a division of labor something like this. It may be worth pointing out that both could leave their offices at 5:30, because no one was in a position to tell them that they couldn’t. And when they got home—a home, by the way, with six bedrooms, a gym, a screening room, an office, a basement with full bar and wine cellar, and so on—they likely found their kids freshly scrubbed, dinner being made, and the house spotlessly clean—because they are rich, and have people to do this sort of thing for them. And I am not begrudging them their wealth, which they earned fair and square—just saying it’s a lot easier to be a model parent when have essentially limitless financial resources.

I want to elaborate on what bothers me about all the commemoration of Goldberg as a feminist champion, but first, let me say that none of what I write is intended as a slight against Dave Goldberg. He sounds like a really impressive, good human being. So far as I can tell, he never proclaimed himself a great humanitarian, so my criticisms are only intended for those who present him thusly.

Because to champion Goldberg as a “lifelong woman’s advocate” based on these works is ridiculous. Goldberg did the same things that millions of men do every day in their lives: We treat women with respect and we support them professionally and personally. This is not, frankly, a big deal, unless you’re comparing him to Isis. Or Floyd Mayweather.

So calling Goldberg a “lifelong advocate for women” is kind of like calling Sheryl Sandberg a feminist—it’s true, but in a mild, setting-the-bar-low kind of way. This is feminism-lite. Wow—you let your new mom employee work from home one day a week. That’s perfectly fine, but it’s really not a big deal. You read a book chapter written by a wealthy woman who is writing an essay on feminism for another wealthy woman. That’s not advocating for women; that’s just good business.

The problem, I think, is that you can’t say Dave Goldberg ever really risked anything for his advocacy, ever really challenged anything that was difficult—at least, not that I’ve ever seen written about in public. He and his wife were a good match that way. Sheryl Sandberg’s answer for women fighting the glass ceiling was to speak up more, to “lean in”—as if institutionalized corporate sexism were so easily conquered. I don’t think Ellen Pao deserved to win her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, but it’s possible that she did more for women in Silicon Valley than Sheryl Sandberg ever has. She certainly risked more. When asked by Bloomberg about Pao, by the way, Sandberg said this:

“I thought what was so interesting about the trial is that so many women, not just in technology, but across industries, see their own experiences there.”

I can’t imagine a safer, less threatening answer than that—it completely neutralizes the idea that tech has a special problem with sex discrimination, and refrains from commenting one way or another on the merits of Pao’s case. It’s the kind of bland, meaningless pap that gives credence to all the rumors that Sandberg aspires to run for public office. She’d probably do great at that.

Finally, let’s remember that Goldberg and Sandberg were an immensely rich power couple. Their wealth is relevant: It makes them a sexy media story that gets them a lot of friendly ink—especially as Facebook becomes an increasingly vital partner for established media.

But at the same time, Goldberg and Sandberg’s wealth should have liberated them to do far more than they have done—at least to be seriously considered as lifelong advocates for women. Because let’s face it: rearranging your work schedule or making sure you’re home to kiss your kids goodnight is a helluva lot easier when you have the best child care money can buy; the best schools money can pay for; and when you are the boss of your own company or very close. This is easy. Kantor doesn’t provide one example of something Goldberg did where he actually risked social ostracism or money or continued employment or—well, anything, really.

What is hard is really fighting for women against people who fight back when you don’t have resources, don’t have money, don’t have allies, don’t have media access, don’t have skills. Erin Brockovich. Norma Rae. Mulala Yousafazai, the girl in Afghanistan who got shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. These are advocates for women. Giving your new mom employee a day to work from home is a perfectly fine thing. But it doesn’t make you a women’s advocate in any meaningful way.

One final note on this: Neither Sandberg nor Survey Monkey have said a word about how Goldberg died, and the mainstream media has said nothing about it. I have never before seen a person whose death generated such an enormous amount of attention—particularly such a young person—without a single established news source addressing the lack of a stated cause of death. Dave Goldberg’s story isn’t fully told yet.

Update: The Times has a report saying that Goldberg may have died after exercising.

UVA Dean Nicole Eramo Speaks

Posted on April 22nd, 2015 in Uncategorized | 88 Comments »

…and it’s not pretty for Rolling Stone.

I don’t have time to comment much on her letter just yet, except to say that, really, the idea that Sabrina Rubin Erdely will continue to work in journalism seems ever more bizarre.

Final Open Letter to Rolling Stone