Gawker is dead and it was always going to die this way, founder Nick Denton writes in the site's final post. Many are alarmed at how a rich and powerful man like Peter Thiel can use the legal system to destroy a news outlet that criticized him, but "to my mind, Gawker’s ultimate fate was predestined," Denton writes, recapping the site's history and the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that led to its downfall. "Gawker was an experiment in journalism free of commercial pressures and the need for respectability, constrained only by law," he writes. The site, Denton writes, "punctured hypocrisy and mocked the ridiculous"—and made plenty of powerful enemies in the process.
Gawker writers were "Internet exceptionalists" who "believed that broader access to confidential information, to the real story, would constrain the powerful and liberate the oppressed," Denton writes—but "that freedom was illusory." The same old system and power structure was still there—now with "techlords flush with monopoly profits" among those at the top—and they ended up pushing back, full of "confidence that they can transform and disrupt anything, from government to the press." "And so Gawker’s demise turns out to be the ultimate Gawker story," Denton concludes. "It shows how things work." Click for his full post. (Read more Gawker stories.)