Earlier this week, I reported on the rise of Facebook pages for ‘White Student Unions’ at U.S. campuses. As part of an ongoing backlash to radical racial activists on campus, white and non-white students have set up what they call ‘safe spaces’ for white people.
The dominant narrative in the media has been that these pages are fake, set up by racist trolls who don’t attend the colleges they claim to attend. Following Breitbart Tech’s story, however, even Gawker is reexamining their previous position.
In a story entitled “The Fake ‘Union of White NYU Students’ Is Still Insisting That It’s Real,” Gawker writer Brendan O’Connor, who previously claimed the union was an online hoax, grudgingly posted new evidence from the Facebook page’s admin – a censored NYU student ID card – pointing to its veracity.
Nevertheless, O’Connor stressed that he was not satisfied with the evidence that had been provided, arguing that the photo could have been posted to 4chan by “some NYU kid” hoping to encourage trolls. O’Connor also reveals that his source was considerably less willing to talk to Gawker than Breitbart Tech. In the kid’s own words…
“People held out to talk to Breitbart because we knew that they are a respectable organization that would protect the privacy of the individuals involved,” the administrator of the NYU page wrote to me in a Facebook message.
Ouch. Gawker must have loved having to publish that.
When he told his source that he wasn’t satisfied with just a student ID, the page admin told him that he did not trust Gawker enough to provide anything else.
“Well,” the admin replied, “I don’t have anything to prove to you frankly. And there is sim[p]ly no way that I am going to meet someone that writes for gawker in person until you show good faith.”
It’s unsurprising that sources would decline to trust Gawker. The blogging empire is notorious for its poor journalistic ethics and lack of respect for privacy. A case study was the David Geithner story, where Gawker appeared to assist in a blackmail attempt against a gay Condé Nast CEO by outing him publicly.
This story is no exception. O’Connor reveals he was explicitly asked by his source not to publish the picture of his student ID card.
“You can’t publish this,” the admin wrote. “If you do, it will be considered a serious breach of faith and you will not be contacted again.”
O’Connor went ahead anyway. Little wonder that Breitbart Tech is the more trusted outlet. Unlike Gawker, we don’t violate the trust of our sources.