The Christine O'Donnell campaign has taken to Facebook to address a highly criticized anonymous account of a late-night encounter involving the Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate published in Gawker Thursday.
In the post, O'Donnell communications director Doug Sachtleben denounces the piece as sexist "slander" that is indicative of the shallow manner in which the press has chosen to cover female candidates. He also manages to get in a shot at her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, seemingly implying that he condoned the article.
"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."
Gawker, which told the Upshot on Thursday that it paid in the "low four figures" for the story, defended its editorial decision, claiming that the author, as well as his controversial account of that Halloween night, had been appropriately fact-checked.
"From an editorial standpoint, it was compelling to hear it from his own words," Gawker editor Remy Stern told the Upshot. "[I]t's a good story and that's why we did it."
A similar, though not so high-profile media firestorm was ignited earlier this month when Democratic Virginia congressional candidate Krystal Ball was put in the spotlight over pictures that were posted from a racy Christmas party years ago.
In a column she wrote for HuffPost, she came to this sober conclusion:
Society has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere. Sooner or later, this is a reality that has to be faced, or many young women in my generation will not be able to run for office.
The onus, she said, fell on the people not to allow "public exposure of female sexuality" to destroy a candidacy.
UPDATE: Democratic nominee Chris Coons has also condemned the post.