South Carolina’s The State newspaper got all of Gov. Mark Sanford’s emails (at least those on his government account) and, well, a lot of reporters tried to schmooze him into an exclusive interview during his disappearance last month — embarrassingly so, as the Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz explains:
“If you all want to speak on this publicly,” a Washington Times staffer wrote, “you’re welcome to Washington Times Radio. You know that you will be on friendly ground here!”
Griff Jenkins, a Fox News feature reporter and producer, wrote: “Having known the Governor for years and even worked with him when he would host radio shows for me — I find this story and the media frenzy surrounding it to be absolutely ridiculous! Please give him my best.”
It goes on from there, and is not limited to what many recognize as “conservative” news outlets. Not exactly the “slobbering love affair” that President Obama enjoys, but unbecoming nonetheless (not that I haven’t done it myself!).
As Kurtz writes, “Not everyone plays the game this way, and it is hardly unusual for reporters and bookers to promise a fair hearing or empathize with the plight of someone under fire. But the parting of the digital curtain reveals a process that its practitioners would undoubtedly rather keep from public view.”
It’s quite a lesson for all of us who report and comment on the news for a living, who think we know a story, but really haven’t a clue. We often do, but sometimes don’t.
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