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. Byron

    Everything's an agenda once it becomes negative right?

    August 28, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. katy Heys

    This guy is a complete jerk. Do the people of his state really want someone with his obvious lack of judgement and character to represent them?

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

    Why is it EVERYTIME a Republican gets caught doing something illegal, something they have been found to have done, they always blame the media. Hey Gov did the media buy expensive plane tickets on the tax payers dime to fly out to another country to cheat on your wife? Was that the media that did that? Give me a break. You think because you got caught and after getting caught THEN paid back a small prtion of the money you are not complicit? And you run a state? I feel very sorry for your constituants...

    August 28, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Classic Republican manuveur. You do something wrong...blame the "liberal media".

    Mark, move to Argentina and stay there with your ho.

    August 28, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Mark Sanford

    It's the media's fault I cheated on my wife and went AWOL from my job! Stop acting questions that make look bad. Jesus told me he hates you!

    August 28, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. rednekhank

    "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."

    WRONG! if the reporter is a SC resident, "Fled Sanford" DOES work for him!

    August 28, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Brenda

    Oh No. Now he sounds like Sarah Palin – blaming the media for investigating him. Mean Mainstream Media - another pouter who won't take responsibility for their actions.

    August 28, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Dakota55

    Sanford knew it was going to get hot..he should have stayed out of the kitchen...or or Argentina! What does he want? Someone to babysit him.? If he had conducted himself in a responsible manner, he wouldn't be in this situation. He had no respect for his office and the media is not showing him any respect. Oh well! No point in him getting irritated about this mess, he caused it! I dont feel sorry for him at all.

    August 28, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    Ah yes, the evil media, it's always their news for reporting politicians shortcomings.

    August 28, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Pepou

    Get a life, Sanford, preferably in the Amazonian forest.

    August 28, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Ninos

    When in doubt, the GOP will blame the media! I thought Republicans were all about taking personal responsibilty? I guess not, huh?

    August 28, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Happy

    "What happens is really going to be in y'all's hands"

    I do declare! Governah Sanford is having the vapors. Someone get him a fan and a glass of sweet tea.

    When is this doofus going to grow a pair and resign. He just became the most obvious clown in the circus.

    August 28, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    "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."

    LOL...is the good governor serious? If the reporter is a tax-paying citizen of SC, guess what Governor Sanford? You do work for him!

    How good of a stewart is this chap when he leaves the country to fool around with his mistress on the taxpayer dole, leaving his post without telling anyone. This fellow is a blithering idiot whose sense of entitlement has gotten his posterior in hot water.

    August 28, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. msg

    I don't work for you??

    Well...FINALLY some honesty from Sanford. He is absolutely right. He hasn't "worked for ANY of us" in South Carolina since he took office. Think about it. What does he have to show in two terms: absolutely nothing.

    Oh yeah....except the whole cheated on his wife thing.

    This so ridiculous. Mark Sanford sat in the position, but did nothing but parade around the state with charts and graphs, pigs, horses and buggies...and skipped down to South America to see is "soul-mate".

    He fussed continuously about spending...and he took us through the whole "stimulous package standoff"...and all the while he's spending money on a whim...NOT TO TAKE CARE OF SOUTH CAROLINIANS...as was his SOLE duty as Governor....but to go and do God knows what with his South American lover.

    Please Mr. Sanford....

    Just go away.

    August 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. George Arlington, TX.

    Lets leave this man alone,

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

    Fascinating how the most Conservative types seem to think that they are so above the law (and generally what's right and wrong) that they try to shoo away reporters and their pesky facts.

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

    Again refusing to take responsibility. So he's the victim here. Right. Guess he just figured on manipulating the press coverage and thinks its unfair that he can't.

    August 28, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Carol

    That's it, blame the media. It's their fault you're in this position and not the fact that you, a man who wrote books on the morality of family life, had an affair and possibly at the tax payers expense.

    Yep, once again its all the wicked medias fault.

    August 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Shucks

    Yes Mr. Sanford it is everyone elses problem not brought on by your immoral behavior. Lets blame the media first, the democrats second, and President Obama third. I'm sure all of the above made you leave the country and have a torrid affair with your chippy. People like this should resign as their indignation is only outshined by their arrogance. The citizens of South Carolina should be demanding your resignation. Oh I forgot as long as you cry a little, hallelujah a little, and ask "god" for forgiveness all is OK. What a philosophy!

    August 28, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. JS007

    Typical GOP stages of denial and arrogance:

    1. Do something wrong or illegal
    2. Refuse to resign
    3. Blame the media

    True to his C-Street brainwashing, Sanford seems to think that he's entitled to power no matter how wrecklessly he behaves (I don't care about the affair, it's his personal business, but I don't like the 5-day disappearance and the wholier-than-thou preaching to others about "moral values").

    August 28, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. R Wolf

    He screws around, at the public's expense, and somehow this is the media's fault. This man is the epitome of hypocrisy. Yet, he refuses to leave office. I don't care that he cheated, that's his wife's issue, but he just left his office, went on a holiday, didn't inform anyone, and he thinks that's okay.

    August 28, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. RAG

    It is to laugh. The utter hypocracy of Soon-To-Be-Former Governor Sanford is simply amazing after all of his righteous indignation at President Bill Clinton. At least Clinton did it on his own dime!

    August 28, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. P. Mathew

    Wow...Sanford has a lot of nerve calling others hypocrites. I guess it takes one to know one.

    August 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Michael

    Sanford is mentally ill, and he should be dragged from his office in a straight-jacket, if necessary. Members of his own party have asked him to step down, but he is accountable to no one. The politicians have finally gathered the courage to tell their constituents what many of us already knew–they are untouchable. America is done.

    August 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Puck Falin

    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."

    Oh Really?? O'Connor lives in S Carolina, so yes, you do work for him. That darned media, reporting the facts

    August 28, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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