Christopher Lee: how not to use Craigslist

By MARISA HIVNER

What makes the Internet so awesome?

Could it be that almost any and all information is just a click away, or could it be that it keeps people connected in ways that the snail mail of the past could never live up to?

Actually, I think it’s because of Craigslist.

Craigslist, the classifieds of the Internet, is becoming a replacement for the newspapers’ personals section. And while it may be comical to think about people advertising themselves for a date with a gamble (because let’s face it, you never know if the person you correspond with is really the attractive, young-bodied individual he or she may claim to be, or some perverted “Buffalo Bill” character in the-middle-of-nowhereville, USA), it doesn’t always turn out to be a laughing matter, at least not for politicians who clearly don’t understand the Internet does not maintain discretion.

On Feb. 9, 2011, Congressman Christopher Lee, from New York’s 26th district, resigned from office after a Craiglist scandal was exposed earlier that day. Approximately three weeks ago, 34-year-old fashion designer Yesha Callahan posted a personal ad on Craiglist, just for fun, to see the kind of responses she would get. Lee was one of them, claiming to be a lobbyist in his late thirties; he even sent her a topless photo that has caused a ruckus in the world of politics. As Callahan is an inquisitive individual, she Googled the Congressman and soon learned of his real identity. At first, Callahan planned on keeping the incident hush, but after some persuasion from a friend, she went public on Gawker.com, a New York gossip blog. Shortly after, Lee resigned. (Read Callahan’s interview on theloop21.com.)

This just goes to show that:

  1. Blogs can be legitimate sources of news and information.
  2. The Internet is a vast and valuable forum that has the potential to tear you down if not used properly.
  3. Politicians clearly don’t know what they’re doing.

In the end, I’m sure Lee never imagined that his indiscretion would be publicized and scrutinized as it has been, but after all, it is the Internet; nothing is off limits.

Rep. Lee’s Shirtless Fallout

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