Shortly after 2:30 p.m. on February 9, 2011, the now defunct Web site Gawker published an article about Christopher Lee, a Republican congressman from western New York State. In response to a Craigslist personals ad, which was posted by a thirty-four-year-old government employee from Maryland, Lee had described himself, by e-mail, as “a very fit fun classy guy,” lied about being divorced (he was married, with one child), shaved seven years off his age (he was forty-six but said that he was thirty-nine), and sent a photo of himself shirtless and coquettishly flexing a bicep.

Even Gawker conceded that Lee’s actions had been “relatively banal.” Yet, by 6:13 p.m. that same day, Lee had resigned from his seat in the House of Representatives. “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” he said in a statement. “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all.”

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