Sleazy gossip site Gawker got the traffic it wanted by publishing a tale from an anonymous man who detailed an alleged one-night encounter with Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell but it’s come in for a lot of criticism as a result.
First, the response from the O’Donnell campaign, posted to her Facebook profile by communications director Doug Sachtleben:
Wilmington, DE – Communications Director Doug Sachtleben stated in response to the universal condoning of the Gawker story:
“This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine’s political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks — all with the aim of distracting the press from covering the real issues in this race. Even the National Organization for Women gets it, but Christine’s opponent disturbingly does not. As Chris Coons said on September 16th he would not condone personal attacks against Christine. Classless Coons goons have proven yet again to have no sense of common decency or common sense with their desperate attacks to get another rubber stamp for the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda. Such attacks are truly shameful, but they will not distract us from making our case to Delaware voters — and keeping the focus on Chris Coons’ record of higher taxes, increased spending, and as he has done again here, breaking his promises to the voters.”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) on Thursday condemned the tabloid website Gawker for publishing an anonymous account: NOW issued a statement late Thursday stating that “sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate’s political ideology.”
“NOW repudiates Gawker’s decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O’Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere,” said NOW president Terry O’Neill.
Conservatives pretty much everywhere have condemned the post and even liberals at Salon and Slate have done so as well.
Gawker offered this lame defense of its posting of the allegation (for which it paid “in the low four figures”):
But editor Remy Stern told The Upshot that Gawker ran the item because it’s “a great story” and pushed back against the misogyny charge, arguing that the alleged incident was worth noting because O’Donnell’s private actions — according to the anonymous writer — run counter to her public persona as an advocate of Christian conservative values.
“If it was any politician whose private life diverged from his public life in such an interesting way, we’d be interested in that,” Stern said. “It had nothing to do with her being a woman.”