Left unchecked, this will continue to grow as a serious problem in modern media.
There's three types of SEO. White Hat is playing within Google's rules. Black Hat is playing outside of them (think comment bots that drop links). Grey Hat is the space inbetween. "The Gawker" strategy lies somewhere between White Hat and Grey Hat.
The linkbuilding strategy called "the Gawker," is where you hire someone known for choosing unpopular positions and trolling/being unable to take criticism. That person creates a shitstorm by saying something incredibly stupid and stubbornly sticking to it. This prompts everyone to talk about how irrational they are and generates a lot of controversy. You get a lot of links to your site during the controversy. Later, you fire this person to save face.
One of the biggest rules of posting anything on the tubes is "Don't be wrong on the Internet" because everyone HAS to correct you, this strategy relies on using that that rule to your advantage. Post something absurdly dumb in a random reddit comment page, and a dozen people will feel the need to correct you, and all you are is an anonymous person on the internet. When a media entity - especially a generally respected one - posts something absurd, other media entities feel the obligation to correct them. Since their readers are probably unaware of the other media entity's wrong-headed entry, the other media company links to it. As mentioned earlier, a link from a domain that has lots of links is worth many, many times more than a link from a less endowed website.
From Reddit — Pulling "The Gawker" - a look at how media companies use being purposely, intentionally wrong to get links to their site and move up in Google rankings: