When media organizations eliminate stories from their sites, it’s often an act of sneakiness. They get a lawyer’s letter, realize they screwed up and hope media critics don’t notice that something just disappeared.

There’s nothing sneaky about the erasure that Gawker just carried out vis-a-vis a widely condemned story about Conde Nast executive David Geithner, who had allegedly arranged to meet an escort on a trip to Chicago. Though the man held the high-profile job, the general public had no idea who he was until the site exposed his very private behavior. Various outlets, including the Erik Wemple Blog, took shots at the piece.

Gawker Media boss Nick Denton listened. In a just-published post, he wrote:

I believe this public mood reflects a growing recognition that we all have secrets, and they are not all equally worthy of exposure. I can’t defend yesterday’s story as I can our coverage of Bill O’Reilly, Hillary Clinton or Hulk Hogan.
We are proud of running stories that others shy away from, often to preserve relationships or access. But the line has moved. And Gawker has an influence and audience that demands greater editorial restraint.

There’s more interesting and compelling self-evaluation in the post, which talks about how Gawker does pride itself on doing stories others won’t touch; how stories must be “true and interesting”; how the Geithner piece didn’t meet that second requirement; and how Gawker wants to “evolve” along with its audience.

“Gawker is no longer the insolent blog that began in 2003,” writes Denton. Oh no? It just published this story outing intimate details of the life of a private man, though Denton writes that it was a contentious call internally. Either way, the results are pretty insolent, and Denton acknowledges that the move “will not turn back the clock. David Geithner’s embarrassment will not be eased.” That’s a line that Gawker Media may hear from Geithner’s lawyers, if it hasn’t already.