Gawker editor-in-chief Max Read on Tom Scocca’s Bill Cosby post from February: “[It] is good proof that by fulfilling our institutional obligation to ‘always go there, to never flinch, to never look away,’ we can force other organizations to look, too.”
From: Max Read
Date: Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 7:32 AM
Subject: honesty & fearlessness
To: Gawker Writers
In 2008, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about Bill Cosby in an Atlantic story, but (in his words), “declin[ed] to seriously reckon with the rape allegations against him[.]” Yesterday he reflected on that failure:
“I don’t have many writing regrets. But this is one of them. I regret not saying what I thought of the accusations, and then pursuing those thoughts. I regret it because the lack of pursuit puts me in league with people who either looked away, or did not look hard enough. I take it as a personal admonition to always go there, to never flinch, to never look away.”
Guess where he links out to at “to never flinch”: Tom’s unflinching post from earlier this year, “Who Wants to Remember Bill Cosby’s Multiple Sex-Assault Accusations?” (On Twitter, TNC calls Tom “the inspiration.”)
Scocca’s piece was the catalyst for the year of dismantling the Cosby myth. The comedian’s career is over, and it’s thanks to Tom and the accusers whose voices he amplified and carved a space for. And Tom was able to do so because Gawker, at its best, is place that doesn’t “flinch” or “look away.” There are not many other organizations like this, and we should all ensure that we don’t leave Gawker (far in the future, with any luck) with regrets of omission — stories we should have run but were too scared to.
Ultimately we didn’t — and don’t — have the CNN or ET-level resources necessary to find more accusers (or Janice Dickinson), or even to follow up Tom’s story with the reporting it deserved. We’ll get there soon. Till then, Tom’s piece is good proof that by fulfilling our institutional obligation to “always go there, to never flinch, to never look away,” we can force other organizations to look, too. You don’t need television (or VC) money to drive the conversation. Just a willingness to be honest and fearless.