August 28th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford lashes out at the media

(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford lashed out at the media on Friday, admonishing reporters at a press conference for their coverage of the multiple investigations into his travel expenses.

"One of the frankly disappointing things I've seen in several instances here over the last 60 days of my life since I've been through this thing is that in some cases it's not been about objective journalism, its been about advocacy journalism with an agenda," he said.

Sanford was in the town of Conway revealing his plans to waive confidentiality in a state Ethics Commission investigation into his use of state airplanes and taxpayer-funded travel, a move that will allow to the public to view the results of the probe.

But the governor, who has adopted an increasingly combative tone in recent days, also blasted members of the state legislature for being hypocritical, accusing them of spending state money on travel as well. He called on members of Senate and House to make their travel documents public.

Then he turned his sights on the South Carolina press corps, with whom he had a largely cordial relationship before he turned the state's political world upside down in June by copping to an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman. He chided the media for its coverage of his travel record and said he has been an excellent steward of taxpayer money, unlike previous administrations.


"Let me say to my friends in the press - some of your are friends, some you are debatable - but we'll come back to that," he began. "What happens is really going to be in y'all's hands. In other words, the way it gets reported, it can be made into circus, it can be made into a Mickey Mouse court if that's the way you choose to report it. That really is y'all's responsibility."

"I would challenge my friends in the media to really look at, 'What are the real facts in this case?' What is the larger contest in this case?'" he said, referring to the Ethics Commission investigation.

Sanford singled out John O'Connor - a political reporter for South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State - and accused the newspaper of covering the political back-and-forth over the travel controversy while skimming over Sanford's arguments defending himself.

Sanford took one question, but refused several others. But when O'Connor asked a question about private flights that Sanford failed to report on public disclosures, the governor became irritable.

"John, we're not going to play your game," he said, jabbing his finger in the reporter's direction. "I don't work for you."

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Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. ANGIE IN PA

    What is up with the Republicans blaming the Media because of their Problems? they are the Media they report the News that is their Job. ugh whiney Palin now Sanford its not the Medias fault you too are pathetic!

    August 28, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. CR

    And this looney-tune was a leading favorite among Republicans for the 2012 nomination. Palin, Joe the Plumber, Sanford, Limbaugh, Steele, Bachman, Ensign–what a parade.

    August 28, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. single mom

    Here's a starting point – politician = hypocrite and self-centered.
    Regardless of party, ideology, region, gender, creed, or anything else.

    Now, go from there.

    Oh, by the way, Governor Sanford, if John O'Connor is a citizen/voter of South Caroline (which he probably is) then, yeah, you do work for him.

    August 28, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Billy Smith

    "I don't work for you"

    Um, If the reporter is a resident of South Carolina, then you do work for him.

    August 28, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Florida Joe

    ..........it can be made into circus, it can be made into a Mickey Mouse court if that's the way you choose to report it. That really is y'all's responsibility."

    NO SIR You made this into a circus with your behavior, neglecting both your service to the voters and your family............IT IS YOUR responsibility........Stop trying to blame others for your own actions........Sounds like another former Gov......................

    August 28, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Bedtime for Obonzo

    I've frequently lashed out at the liberal media's bias myself. In this case, however, Governor Sanford deserves it.

    August 28, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    Just another corrupt politician that cant do anything else.

    August 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. bella

    Well, Mr. Sanford, It is often said that you sow exactly what you reap. And for you that is T R O U B L E!!!! Lots of it!!! As they say, "when you dance, you have to pay the fiddler". And in this case, there are simply too many dances and to many fiddlers to reimburse - especially with the taxpayers money!!!

    August 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Sanford's Soulmate

    Sanford is a victim just like all the C-streeters. It's all the media's fault. And now it is getting personal. The media created a circus with Sanford as the clown. I don't remember Sanford complaining about the media when they were covering then-congressman Sanford hypocritically criticizing Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky matter.

    August 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. PFM

    It wasn't the media who left the country and abandoned his job as the Governor of South Carolina for five days without telling anyone where he was. Anyone of us would have been fired upon return, but no! Only elected officials can get away with crap like that. Sanford works exclusively for his ego, not for the people of South Carolina. He is an absolute disgrace to our entire political system

    August 28, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. it's not been about objective journalism

    please

    this has nothing to do with journalism, objective or not objective journalism

    it has to do with you being a slime ball and hiking the trail when you are really out of the country

    August 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Rob Johnson

    If Sanford can't take the heat, he can always resign.

    Leaving your job for a week, without anybody knowing where you are, is a firing offense in ANY job. Forget the affair for a minute, and let's just concentrate on that mind-boggling dereliction of duty.

    That would get you fired from being Assistant Manager at Wendy's, much less Governor!

    August 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    It is just so easy for these politicians to blame the media once they screw up. The media did not put him on a flight to visit his mistress.

    August 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Island girl

    Maximum transparency – that's what it is. Sorry, Mr. Sanford, but when you are a political figure the media will sniff you out even when you go to the bathrooom. Oops! Look at Palin and President Obama – they are going through the same thing and they did not even go to Argentina on a secert assignment!!!

    August 28, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. abraxis

    Would someone in the GOP nominate this guy for the 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate and Palin as the Presidential Candidate, Please?!

    August 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Metzger

    You used taxpayer money for an international booty call. What did you expect to happen? The fact that you did this is not even up for debate.

    August 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Russ in limbo

    Give it all up a true soulmate is worth more than all politics combined
    Go to her.

    August 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. Dave

    Sanford criticizing the media is hilarious. He absolutely lucked out when Farah and Jackson died the day after he admitted his "indiscretions." He was gone from the headlines almost immediately and he managed to avoid the raking over the coals that Eliot Spitzer got in New York.

    However, Sanford was just too stupid to keep his mouth shut. He kept having press conferences about his "soulmate" which led the press to come back to him. It was almost like he was Gary Hart in 1988 daring the press to follow him and catch him in the act...which they did.

    Sanford could have avoided some of the major damage he took just by being quiet after the initial admittance. But he was unable to stop going in front of cameras and he shot himself in the foot. Don't blame the press, Governor. You screwed this up all by yourself. If you keep dangling carrots, eventually someone will try to catch and eat them.

    August 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Chris

    You would think Sanford worked for the people of South Carolina but unless you work in the private aircraft industry or are a first class flight attendant, Sanford doesn't care about you.

    And why is it taking so long for the Republicans to seek this adulterer's head, give "family values?"

    August 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is it just me, or is Sanford fast becoming the new Sarah Palin of the media and the Republican party....Sanford lashes out at the media. Hmmm THAT sounds awfully familiar. Sanford states that this is just politically motivated. Hmmm, there's another one.

    August 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. AEK

    Hummmm... Republican politician lashing out at the media for his problems, go figure! He and Sarah should really try to come up with a more original strategy. That one is as old as Tricky Dick!

    August 28, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. JA/TN

    there is no shame in America among the arrogant, self-righteous, pig N pinstripe types anymore, how can you govern with the mess you stepped into, misallocated funds, how often does a theif get to replace the stolen, and get caught and get to carry on, you campaign on family values, and act like a pimp

    August 28, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. 60's survivor

    yeah well that is happening on all sides and you have done the same in the past. depends on what side of the fence you are on at the time. maybe in the future you'll keep your mouth shut

    August 28, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. AJ

    I guess introspection would be too much to ask from Governor Sanford.

    August 28, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Kate in San Diego

    He really doesn't get it, does he?

    August 28, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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