Not surprisingly, journalists have come out against Peter Thiel's actions because it is seen as an attack on free speech. They seem to have a conflict of interest here. Any attack on freedom of speech is an attack on journalists, and they don't generally like that.
I've really only got one thought on this though: Play with fire and get burnt.
Gawker played a dangerous game for years peddling gutter journalism. This has finally come back to bite them. But on the other side, Peter Thiel is creating some dangerous enemies who can also play a long game. How many people are going to reconsider going in to business with Thiel because of this? I'm sure there will be a few.
No one wins here.
Update: I finally got around to reading the New York Times article about Peter Thiel and his secret war. There were several direct quotes that made it all sound pretty creepy.
“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” he said on Wednesday
He added: “I would underscore that I don’t expect to make any money from this. This is not a business venture.”
This makes it sound an awful lot like revenge. And if not revenge then maybe it's about creating the new standard of: All the news that Peter Thiel says is fit to print. Almost superhero level creepiness.
He also describes Gawker by saying:
"I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”
He has obviously never come in contact with British tabloids. Or maybe just never been the target of them.