Earlier this week, Stratechery’s Ben Thompson argued that the era of powerful men like Harvey Weinstein being able to harass and assault in silence may soon be over.
Why? Because Weinstein is a so-called “Gatekeeper” - someone who wields so much power over the careers of actors, directors and other workers in the film industry that he’s able to scare them into silence. Gatekeepers like Weinstein are also able to use their economic power - as advertisers, and controllers of celebrities - to ensure that media gatekeepers, like the New York Times, are reluctant to report on their misdeeds.
Increasingly though, Thompson argues, the Internet is disrupting those gatekeepers: YouTube is disrupting Hollywood, blogs are disrupting the Times etc etc. Men like Weinstein are suddenly less powerful, less able to control the story.
Thompson’s position is compelling, and characteristically well argued, with graphs and back-of-a-napkin drawings. Not to mention this rousing call to action...
[T]he end of gatekeepers is inevitable: the Internet provides abundance, not scarcity, and power flows from discovery, not distribution.
We can regret the change or relish it, but we cannot halt it: best to get on with making it work for far more people than gatekeepers ever helped — or harassed.
More importantly, Thompson’s thesis feels true. Weinstein is certainly less powerful than during the height of his Miramax power, and we know the New York Times is no longer one of only one or two newspapers that matters.