Gawker’s Takedown of Shepard Smith: ‘Invasive’ or ‘Interesting?’

By Chris Ariens Comment

ShepardSmithElexNew York Times media columnist David Carr finds himself in a corner this Monday morning. By exposing the reporting of Gawker, he’s shining more light on its “takedown” subject: Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. Carr calls his predicament “icky and very meta at the same time.”

First, the backstory: Last Tuesday Gawker writer J.K. Trotter dredged up a 6-month old story about Smith having a fit at a bar. On Friday, he wrote about Smith’s office romance with “a 26-year-old Fox staffer” who happens to be a man. Carr writes:

Gawker seems sadly old-school… By covering the issue in the context of a throwdown with a waitress, Gawker backed into the reveal of what the item was really about, suggesting something was weird and spicy about it.

By doing a takedown on Mr. Smith, Gawker, which trades on its bracingly modern approach to news, comes off as moralistic and invasive, while Fox News seems oddly open-minded and pragmatic in comparison.

Gawker founder Nick Denton defends Trotter’s reporting: “It is titillating and interesting, in the same way as if he were with a woman half his age or twice his age,” he tells Carr. “People care who other people are dating if one is big and one is small or one is white and one is black. Why should there be this weird double standard around gay celebrity?”

What do you think?