Today Gawker announced that it was blowing up its commenting system, which of course brought out the crazies. And while they were entertaining in their passion — what ever will Gawker do with all the people lying about not visiting the site anymore??? — we thought we’d focus on a comment from Nick Denton, regarding the Fox News Mole, Joe Muto:
Despite AJ’s, um, antagonistic relationship with some star commenters, he and his writers have drawn a record audience: 2.5m people in the US in the last seven days alone. That’s amazing. Lest you think that these are morons drawn by pet videos — stories such as the Fox News Mole have drawn a ton of press attention.
If you’ve been following Muto’s updates, you know by now what a complete failure the whole thing was. Gawker was clearly hoping for something monumental with Muto’s posts, and instead got dispatches about — excuse the pun — crappy bathrooms. But here Denton is defending the experiment by saying that it brought in traffic.
Here’s the thing: Popularity doesn’t correlate to quality. Plenty of people watched Charlie Sheen in “Two and a Half Men,” but that doesn’t mean he’s a good actor. If it does, well then your FishbowlNY editors stand corrected, right before we drown ourselves in the East River.
If traffic is all Denton cares about, then fine. But Gawker attempts to paint itself as something bigger and better than that. Gawker screams, “Ignore the countless videos of people fighting in McDonald’s and realize that we are bringing you quality information!”
So which is it? Maybe it doesn’t even matter. Muto’s dispatches were an embarrassment, but Denton will probably never admit that — especially since he’s happy about the numbers. We can’t fault him for that; it’s something worth smiling about. We imagine that somewhere, Sheen is smiling too.