Monday, June 20, 2016
Peter Thiel was a darling of Silicon Valley until the Gawker case. Now he faces being voted off the board of Facebook. His reputation as a savvy investor is intact. His reputation as a balanced participant in the media is in tatters. It is a reminder, should anyone need one, that business and news do not have to get along, and indeed are in some ways opposed. The profit motive can and does stand in the way of higher principles promulgated by the media, such as a fair and decent wage, healthcare and fundamental benefits. When a company owner gives these, he is acting above and beyond the economic transaction. Even when a business owner says he is acting out of self interest to keep valuable employees, he is stretching the meaning of an exchange of goods and services for money. So Peter Thiel is acting like a normal businessman. The question now is whether that is acceptable to Mark Zuckerberg who has aspirations of being a media baron.