Good for Gawker. They started out trying to give crack dealers two hundred grand. They ended up helping addicts and contributing to the social cohesion of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

The website announced Thursday that it had selected charities to receive the proceeds from its Crackstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise money to buy a video purportedly showing Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. That campaign foundered when the would-be video-mongers stopped returning Gawker’s middleman’s calls, and the video has never appeared publicly.

The Crackstarter was deemed controversial because it broke a rule of American journalism that you shouldn’t pay sources (it corrupts them and you) and because, if successful, it would have channeled a lot of money into the crack trade which is bad for people, neighborhoods and communities. It also raised eyebrows that a big rich media cartel like Gawker would ask its readership to pay for something it apparently wasn’t willing to spend its own money on.

After fees were deducted, the Crackstarter campaign raised $184,782.61, which Gawker has announced will be split four ways. Recipients are two community health centers, a drug treatment facility and an organization serving Somali immigrants and refugees in Toronto (some players in the alleged Ford-crack episode were part of the Toronto Somali community). The details are on Gawker.

Ford, who appears to have survived the episode politically, has called the allegation that he smokes crack “ridiculous”.

Mayor Rob Ford

Today is a joyous day for South Africa and the world. Happy 95th birthday to Nelson Mandela, a truly inspirational leader.

July 18, 2013

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