the kicker

Priceless: Representative Lee’s flexy photo

February 10, 2011

Gawker is claiming quite the coup today—a congressional revelation turned to a resignation in the span of yesterday afternoon.

Some of the Gawker’s most read scoops of the past year—Gizmodo’s early peek at the iPhone 4G, Brett Favre’s “dong shots,” or Christine O’Donnell’s night as a ladybug—share at least one thing in common: the information at the heart of the tale was purchased by Gawker.

But not this time. The emails and the flexy photo sent by (now former) Representative Christopher Lee, a married man, to a correspondent from Craiglist’s personals section? They came to Gawker gratis.

Kevin Prince, public relations manager for Gawker Media, told CJR by email that their unnamed source “came to us and provided us with all info” and that the site “paid for no part of this story whatsoever”.

Given the site’s track record of payments, it seems like she left money on the table. Sometimes the good things in life are free.

Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.