Media Sucked Up to Sanford to Get Access, Emails Show

News outlets offered aides a 'friendly' ear
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 11:03 AM CDT
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford gestures during an interview with the Associated Press in his office in Columbia, S.C., Tuesday, June 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
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(Newser) – No surprise that a lot of media outlets tried to butter up Mark Sanford’s aides in order to win interviews with the governor when he was AWOL in Argentina. But their emails, obtained by the State, show the lengths they were willing to go to, some coming about as close as you can get to promising to put a positive spin on what turned out to be a major scandal. “You know that you will be on friendly ground here!” gushes a Washington Times staffer to a Sanford rep. “I’ve already have calls from others who want to bash,” notes a local TV host. “I’m not doing that!”

National ABC correspondent Jake Tapper slammed NBC’s coverage of the story as “slimy” in an email to the Sanford spokesman. Meanwhile, a blogger offered to “push back” against “media speculation” over the AWOL Sanford. These are no-nos, says a media expert: “You can’t promise friendly ground. It’s legitimate to ask for a focused interview, but you have to ask about current events.”