Monday, April 14, 2008

Blog giant Gawker sells three sites, including Wonkette

By Joe Uchill
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In the blogging world, Gawker Media is to bloggers like me as Michael Jordan, Elvis and Jesus Christ are to bloggers like me. They’re bigger than big. Owner Nick Denton, who pioneered the business of paying people minimum wage to cynically aggregate news, has a stable of websites including the prominent sports blog Deadspin, the titular Gawker celebrity and media gossip site, and, up until hours ago, the exceedingly influential political blog Wonkette. Denton has announced plans to spin off Wonkette, along with it’s travel and relatively new music properties, Gridskipper and Idolator.

If you have ever read a political blog with an apocalyptically depressing sense of humor, if you’ve seen a web site giggle over sex scandals and then use them to emphasize legitimate political discourse, or if you know who Washingtonienne is, you have seen someone ape Wonkette. Under the first editor, Ana Marie Cox, Wonkette created the current tone of blog-based coverage of politics - the exceedingly fowl-mouthed, high-minded political tabloid.

But after Cox left for Time’s web division the site has struggled to find a regular staff, and, ultimately, struggled to live up to itself. Still, as Wonkette would note, axing the site is akin to axing Democratic (and senile) Senator Robert Byrd. It’s a shadow of it’s former self, verging on irrelevancy, and only retains patrons from a long held sense of loyalty – yet it’s sad to see an era end.

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