A Congressman's career is over after a shirtless photo of him hit the Internet.
Photo © Getty Images
Whatever Lee's intentions, the story was enough for him to resign from Congress, effective immediately. While not addressing the photo or related emails that Gawker published, Lee said he made "profound mistakes" in announcing his departure from Capitol Hill.
This story presented yet another dilemma for mainstream media. Some referred to Gawker as a gossip website, yet felt no hesitation in spreading the details of Lee's apparent misdeeds.
Once he resigned, the story unquestionably became news. His constituents in his New York Congressional district need to know that he's gone and that someone new will represent them on Capitol Hill.
But had the story of his shirtless pose remained solely on Gawker, he likely would've remained in Congress. His undoing didn't involve sexual harassment, prostitution or anything that could send him to jail -- just a potentially embarrassing photo.
Before the Internet, Lee's mistakes would have been a matter for his family to resolve. But in the era of new media, one misstep by a government leader, celebrity or sports star can be reported worldwide in a matter of minutes.
What do you think? Regardless of what you think of Lee's behavior, should a website publish a photo or emails that could ruin a marriage or a career just to have an exclusive story?