Gagging at Gawker  | American Journalism Review
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From AJR,   September 2010

Gagging at Gawker    

Web exclusive
The snarky Web site's ill-advised Christine O'Donnell "scoop" Posted: Fri, Oct. 29 2010

By Rem Rieder
Rem Rieder (rrieder@ajr.umd.edu) is AJR's editor and senior vice president.      


A new low.

That's the only way to describe Gawker's "expos" of the noted Tea Party phenom and Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.

The Gawker blockbuster―bought and paid for, which is Gawker empire's MO―was a twentysomething Philadelphian's account of a drunken Halloween night on the town with the much-mocked Delaware non-witch. According to the anonymous author, the romp ended up in his bed, where nothing much proceeded to take place. Oh, and the author thought it necessary to fill us in on details of Ms. O'Donnell's most intimate area.

The word "sleazy" falls way too short to describe this abomination. Who needs this?

Well, we need this because of the hypocrisy thing, Gawker says. After all, O'Donnell is a family values stalwart, and her anti-masturbation crusade gave the world the most hilarious "Saturday Night Live" skit since Reconstruction.

But even if true, and even in this anything goes, nothing is private world we now live in, an unnamed writer's account of a single woman's awkward quest for pleasure is light years away from a president's fling with an intern or a married senator's affair with a staffer.

The real reason for the piece, of course, is pageviews, something Gawker knows something about, and from that perspective the Halloween horror show was a home run for the Web site.

Congratulations, fellas.

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