Posts Tagged ‘social networking’
Gawker’s John Cook announces the success of the Crackstarter fundraising enterprise.
(I found this via the National Post‘s article.)
The Crackstarter is now closed to further donations. We pulled in a total of $201,254 from 8,388 people. I haven’t contacted Indiegogo, the service that hosted the campaign, yet to investigate precisely when we get the money, in what format, etc. (As I write this, the Indiegogo web site is not cooperating with my attempts to get that info.) I do know that Indiegogo and PayPal extract certain fees before turning the proceeds over to us; we will post an update announcing the total amount that has been released to us as soon as we get it.
As for the purchase: We are working on it. As we noted before the campaign concluded, we lost contact with the people who have custody of the video. I updated the Indiegogo campaign site yesterday morning to reiterate that there had been no movement on that front, and am repeating it here right now. You won’t hear anything more from us about our attempts to get the video for some time. This will be a very delicate transaction. If the people who are in possession of the video are reading this: Please get in touch with our mutual friend, or with me at email@example.com. We did what you asked.
Gawker’s controversial crowdsourcing campaign aiming at raising two hundred thousand dollars to buy the alleged crack video has succeeded, though as Torontoist’s John Kupferman notes there are still problems.
John Cook, the Gawker editor who is one of three reporters known to have seen the footage (the other two work for the Star), has called it a “crystal clear, well-lit video of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine.” Gawker intends to publish the video.
Gawker‘s plan to obtain the video this way was never a sure thing, but Cook further tempered expectations last Thursday when he revealed that Gawker has been having trouble getting in touch with the video’s owner since May 18. Ford, for his part, now denies that the video is even a thing. He said, on Sunday’s edition of his weekly radio show, that it “doesn’t exist.”
Regardless, if there is someone out there with access to the video, and if that person is still able to sell the video, things should move pretty quickly now. If the deal doesn’t come together, Gawker has pledged to donate the money to a Canadian non-profit that deals with drug addiction, though its editors haven’t said which one.
The motives of a presumably representative sampling of individual donors were covered in the New York Observer.
Dennis Raphael, a professor at York University in Toronto, made two $75 donations in the hope that the video’s release would force Mr. Ford to resign. “Around Toronto, there is little doubt that Mayor Rob is unfit for office and has a reputation for denying wrongdoing until [he’s] confronted with confirming evidence,” he said. As for Gawker’s possible payday? “Everybody is making money off of everything,” he said. “If some money can be made at the same time that public accountability can be supported, then so be it!”
Daphne Bonar, also of Toronto, donated $60 to the Crackstarter for similar reasons. “If the video is real, I want Rob Ford to be exposed as a liar who is unfit for public office,” she said. She did not mind that Gawker might make some money off of the whole endeavor. “That’s the business they’re in,” she said.
Steve Nardi, a Toronto resident who donated $105, is happy that Gawker is crowd-sourcing the project rather than paying for it themselves. “If [Gawker] had purchased the video outright, the Ford Nation [Mr. Ford’s supporters] would bang the drums about it being ‘checkbook journalism’ and attempt to cast doubt on the authenticity of the video.” The Crackstarter, on the other hand, shows that “the video is being acquired by the people of Toronto who are looking for the truth, sort of ‘democratic journalism.’” If Mr. Ford’s supporters are unhappy, he said, they will be able to “blame the people of Toronto rather than singling out one or two media outlets.”
For Ms. Bonar, the crowd-sourced nature of the Crackstarter is almost more important than the video itself. “Even if the video is never actually obtained, just the message that this sends and the sort of participatory democracy that it demonstrates, is a greater good,” she said.
John Moyer’s blog post makes some salient points about the way in which the Crackstarter fundraising campaign started by Gawker to raise funds for the alleged crack video is unsettling, voyeuristic spectacle driven by the mob.
It’s not about justice. No-one is seriously talking about jailing Ford over this. Further, the sort of young, hip people who oppose Ford and understand enough about crowd-funding to actually give money to it are probably the same sort who have flirted, at least once, with things like illicit drugs. I’m not saying “glass houses” because I’m not Mayor of Toronto, a person you really don’t want publicly abusing drugs, but we’re not seriously saying Rob Ford is a drug-dealer out to destroy Toronto. At worst (and most likely), he’s someone with a history of substance abuse that now includes some crack. Yes, that’s bad for a Mayor, but remember: he’s got plenty of other reasons not to be Mayor. This isn’t a make-or-break issue for re-election. Even if he’s never touched a gram before in his life, his handling of this case alone is reason enough not to re-elect him.
Second, this isn’t about politics. Whether or not Ford smokes crack is irrelevant inasmuch as it affects his ability to lead Toronto. If he in fact is a smart, capable man who’s been dulled by drugs, then getting him off them might, in fact, net us four more years of him. No thank you. If you opposed Ford before the crack, then you still oppose him, pipe and all. His policies are either good or bad, crack or not. While yes, character is very important in a leader, let’s not kid ourselves. Plenty of leaders do bad things and so long as they lead well, we tend not to care right or wrong. We aren’t in the habit of electing our saints, and it’s foolish to pretend otherwise.
I’ll admit to one concession: drug abuse is a big deal-breaker for many in our elected officials, and I don’t necessarily disagree. I wouldn’t want a junkie in charge, but so far as the video alleges to prove, one hit of crack does not a junkie make. Until a habit is proven or confessed to, it remains like all of Ford’s tenure: a bad mistake.
If it’s not about politics or justice, then I can’t see it being about anything more than a personal dislike verging on hatred. The Crackstarted is asking for money to give to a drug-dealer! And it’s asking you for that money! Not the police, not the city, not the government, and not even the Ford family; you. Do you, it asks, hate Ford enough to want to give up your money to see him humiliated? Not kicked out of office, because it legally can’t (unless he’s thrown in jail, which this video alone will not do), and not an invalidation of his policies because, remember, if you’re in the urban core then you already invalidated them by voting against him; no, all it can do is have the man humiliated.