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. Soren

    Why don't they just kick him out.
    He is a dishonest, obviously not very intelligent and a total embarrassement to his family and the State.
    If he had any class, which he obviously does not, he would have
    disappeared into nowhere a long time ago.

    August 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Tom

    What he really wants us to believe is that he's not so bad compared to people who are worse, that other people have done the same kind of thing so it was OK that he did too.

    August 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. CASPER

    ive got to agree 100% ; i was on the bandwagon wanting him to pay the piper for his sins/ the politics... . and that to me was turning his back on the poor and the downtrodden in south carolina. the only good thing to come out of that state [S.C.] was my summer love......... [1968] . whom i had met in new york city while visiting my aunt .... farewell my summer love.. other than that this state has a golf tournament that is named after thee owners of the plantations down there "the masters" ..... thats right GOV tell all us hypocrites that when we point a finger, tell all of us to STAND in the mirror... i don't support your politics. but you were elected and you run the show SO STAY WHERE YOUR AT.

    August 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Steph

    Look at that...we have our next Sarah Palin, blaming the media and not taking responsibility for ones own actions. Hopefully, he continues to follow Sarah's lead and leaves office soon!

    August 28, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Frank

    A politician who cheats on his wife at the public's expense has nothing to complain about when the media exposes him.

    If this guy won't resign, he should at least shut up and take his medicine like a man.

    August 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Doesn't he know that holding press conferences just keeps you in the news much longer? The idea Mark is to get out of the news. Your up the creek without a paddle buddy.

    August 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. nora

    typical republican. he blames the MEDIA for his problems? Isn't it the media's JOB to look into this kind of stuff?

    I believe he used to say how much money he saved on his travel before all this came to light. Does he think trying to blackmail the senate with THEIR travel records will somehow make HIM look good?
    Sorry, Mark, it just makes ALL Y'ALL look bad.

    How many "y'alls" can one man have in a press conference? I guess he is trying to connect with the "ordinary" folks.

    August 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Steve in Kentucky

    Sounds like this dope is literally at the end of his political rope.

    I guess he won't be the Republicans' "Great White Hope."

    Nope.

    August 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Bubba

    Did he ever consider that maybe the media, the public, and the Bible are trying to tell him something? Like, time to resign? Like, you aren't as cool as you seem to think? Like, O'Connor's a voter, and you work for the voters?

    August 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. chris

    on the contrary Governor Sanford, if he is a tax paying citizen of SC you most certainly do work for him. The predictable conservative response when they get into any hot water is to try and turn it around on the media. It's redundant and everyone sees it coming from a mile away. Hopefully anyone that's not a Limbaugh-lackey can see right through it. Governor Stanford is at the very least guilty of abandoning his post without leaving anyone in charge, if I were to do that at my job I would not even have the chance to step down before being fired. Unfortunately this man's ego is too big for him to do the right thing and he'll end up being a headline until he's impeached. He should be embarrassed by the attention he has brought to the state of SC.

    August 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. WhoCares?

    Wow..Playing the victim role.

    Have you ZERO soul? You destroy your wife and kids and yet still have the gall to play victim?

    Enjoy your eternal lake of fire you waste of air.

    August 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Clint

    Mr. Sanford ;
    Being a native of the state of SC I've kept updated on your ongoing story since the story broke into the news. Now living in the Southwest United States I can assure you that I hear the joke about the gov. of SC. As an outsider looking in the best thing for you to do is to resign. I usually have things to be proud of when refering to my home state but let me tell you are by no mean someone to be proud of.

    August 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. Greg Honsa

    Sanford has admitted to lying and cheating on his wife. Nothing he says can be trusted. He should be booted out of office today! America and S.C. do not need untrustworthy people like him!

    August 28, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Gee, sounds like Sanford has something to hide. Ahhh, the openness of republican's...so refreshing. Let them reporters eat cake!

    August 28, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Gary

    Sanford destroyed his marriage and his career. It's now time for him to make something of his life. Serve the people, help the world, find a way to put aside his selfish desires to make the world a better place. I don't know if that is as governor or something else, but it is never to late to turn your life around. I hope he figures out how to do that.

    August 28, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Polly

    I think the "hounddogs" need to back off. Let the facts come out. Then go find another story to stick your nose into.

    August 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Well, it looks like if the state legislature has its way, Gov. Sanford won't be working for the people of South Carolina either.
    Look, if the reports have a tint of animosity or angle against the Gov., I get where he's coming from.
    If, on the other hand, the reports are reporting FACTS and not innuendo, then the Gov. has nothing to speak against.
    Either way, his wife is a lovely lady who probably didn't deserve to be humiliated. So, if she can take it, with grace, then the Gov. needs to lace up the boots he chose to put on and get to marching with a smile on his face as well.

    August 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. David in SC

    Poor Mark – when you get caught with your pants down, it's so hard to keep running without falling all over yourself.

    For your boys' sake, even though you wouldn't share Father's Day with them, resign and go be with them now. NOW!

    August 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Mike

    This constant whinning about the media by politicians is getting old. Maybe if this clown didn't bail on his state, not to mention his family, he wouldn't have to answer to his constituents through the media's coverage.

    August 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. roy

    My mom's fourth grade teacher at Runkle School:

    "You're not sorry. You're sorry you were caught!"

    August 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. bev

    Looks to me like Sanford has been loving the press. He and his wife both have been jumping in front of any camera they see.

    Sanford is just angry that he trashed his own reputation.

    August 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. bill

    adulterous jerk

    August 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Philly

    When will this sense of "entitlement" end among politicians? We in Philadelphia were just nausiated with the criminal activity of our own Vince Fumo who actually had his own nickname for using tax payer money; he referred to it as "OPM" (other peoples money). His sentence was a complete joke...a few months at best. Looks like the judge had his palm greased as usual and no one is ever really held accountable.

    August 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    And Charlie Rangel did not report a half a milliion dollars to the IRS and Nancy Pelosi has been investigating it for 10 months, but you won't see it on CNN. You will only see negative stories on Palin and Sanford (they are not liberals folks, so that is newsworthy to CNN).

    August 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Donna

    Sanford should step aside...so should Ensing...Both are hypocrites.
    Both did worse than Clinton and look what the Republicans did to you.
    Why dont they do the same their own party..Talk about double standards for the Republicans....They are both hypocrites....

    August 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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