When Just the Appearance of a Sex Scandal Is Enough

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Well, that was fast. Last week the New York Times reported that 41-year-old Republican Marc Cenedella, who founded the job-search Web site TheLadders.com and happened to be angling for Kirsten Gillibrand's New York Senate seat, had a blog with some tasteless posts in his name. Now he's not running. Along with resume and job interview tips, Cenedella's purported blog included helpful advice on how "girly girls" should date and posts about "high quality dope" and the wisdom of a "steak and blow job" holiday. When "an opponent of Cenedella," as the paper described their source, noticed the content, he or she, presumably gleefully, tipped off The Times. And now Cenedella, The Times reports, is out of the race "after concluding that the political calendar was too compressed at this point for him to mount a bid."

Cenedella's representatives have said that the blog, described as "the personal blog of Marc Cenedella" was not, in fact, Marc's actual blog.

His company released a statement Friday afternoon saying: “The site you are inquiring about (blog.theladders.com/rock) was not Marc’s actual blog, Cenedella.com. The site you saw was a maintenance staging site set up at blog.theladders.com/rock.” The statement also said that the “staging site contained testing content from a wide variety of sources, including spam from automatic spiders. We have since eliminated the potential for anyone to view the maintenance site.”

Cenedella said as publisher, he took responsibility for the blog (the now-defunct site Stone, which you can still get a glimpse of here), but that he couldn't say who'd written the offending posts. He also positioned himself as the victim of a Gillibrand-orchestrated smear campaign. And, yet, at the end of the day, he decided not to run.

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Timing is everything.

The rest, as they say, is history, but we know that memories are short and time is long, and anything can happen in love, sex, politics, and war. Still, perhaps the strongest takeaway is the one about how the Internet seems to be felling politicians, politicians who have not, actually, been guilty of any "sex scandal" more grievous than their own, well, lack of awareness as to the Internet's depth, breadth, and lack of places to hide.

Anthony Weiner never even had sexual relations with any of those women (that we know of) -- he simply used Twitter badly! Cenedella, who is married, may or may not have written some bawdy blog posts; maybe he simply failed to notice them on his old site, or didn't do anything about them -- even while positioning himself for a run for Senate. In both cases, unlike, say, scandals involving Bill Clinton or Eliot Spitzer, we have men apparently felled not by their carnal appetites in reality, but by indications of such on the Internet. And by using the Internet rather badly. It's debatable as to which is worse.

A lesson to aspiring politicians, and to those in office who hope to continue in that employment path: Brush up on the social media skillz. A wayward DM or an ancient blog post about BJs on the Tumblr you haven't used in years will kill your career, if temporarily, faster than you can say "call girl." In fairness, though, the same is probably true for careers in the job-search business.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.