Gawker had posted a tape of Hogan engaging in sex. He contends that constituted an invasion of privacy. Defendant Gawker, headed by Nick Denton, is arguing from the platform of First Amendment rights.
Those selected from a pool of possible jurors in Florida likely do not have the liberal or politically correct perspectives of New York, where Gawker is based. They might not interpret freedom of speech in the same way as the chattering class in Manhattan. And if they perceive Hogan as a bit of a racist, so? As he explicitly noted, maybe we all have some of that in us. In addition, racist views may resonate with them.
Therefore, Fortune might be off the money (Hogan is asking for $100 million) in speculating that the Hogan rant "may bring good news for Gawker Media." Currently, that gossip tabloid is also in big trouble because of push-back on its coverage of a married Conde Nast executive for solicited sex from a gay escort - who then tried to blackmail him.
Sure, jurors have to align their verdict with the law. But that law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Lawyers "shop" all the time for the best location to argue their clients' cases. For defendants in a medical malpractice case, Texas is ideal.
Jurors selected for the October court trial could have very different values than those sitting in on a similar lawsuit in Manhattan. Denton should be very apprehensive.
Gawker could cease to exist. We can almost hear a Greek Chorus chant, "Timing is everything. The time of the media wild west on the Internet has passed."