August 28th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
6 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. Gary

    Come on Sanford, it's not the affair, it's not the unethical travel and money spending. It's plain and simple. You are a failure as a leader.
    South Carolina ranks at the worst for all measurments of any state.
    We listened to it for months before the election, Govenors are true leaders, not Senators. Remember? You are an embarasment to the state. When you bundle a package with the likes of Graham and DeMint. How can a state ever pull its self up.
    Sad to say the Good Old Boys club here in SC will stall and nothing will ever happen.
    Impeach Him Now!!

    August 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Barry

    Wow..."It's all the media's fault" Where have we heard that one before?

    Hey Gov. Sanford. Have you ever heard the notation that "weak people blame others"?

    August 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Tbone

    The Gov wants the facts reported. Ok Gov, here are some facts;

    1. You lied and said you were hiking the Appalachian Trail.
    2. You flew to Argentina without letting anyone in state govt know.
    3. You didn't show up for work.
    4. You lied and cheated on your family on more than one occasion.
    5. You have mocked the people who elected you.
    6. And as for John O'Connor, actually Gov, if he is a citizen of South Carolina, then, yeah, you do work for him and the rest of the people in the state of SC.
    7. You have obviously forgotten #6.

    August 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Mark

    South Carolina must be very proud. Sanford is a disgrace and should have already resigned. Hell, his wife wont even take him back. Jim Demint is just a plain racist and an idiot. Lindsey Grahm also and idiot. All three bring shame to the state. If it were not for the golf in Myrtle Beach, SC would be known as the Mississippi of the atlantic coast. Pathetic.

    August 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. carlos, that one

    that woman in alaska suggested to him: GO AFTER THE PRESS....but she was wrong-again-because the press is going full time against these two, what's the word...oh well...never mind........YOU GOT IT !!!

    August 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Gallimimus

    So don't lie, cheat on your wife and children and steal from the people. Dirtbag!

    August 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Jack in Florida

    Poor, poor Mark Sanford...........he is such a wuss.....time to man up and accept responsibility for your actions/inactions. Blame the media....that's right....anyone but yourself.
    What planet do you live on Mark??

    August 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Susan

    Wow. He sounds more and more like Palin every's all the media's fault that he is an adulterer and a liar about state funds. Maybe they should hook up..

    August 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. ek

    I presume John O'Connor, the reporter who asked the question, is a citizen of South Carolina. If so, Sanford certainly does work for him. Sanford is acting like a petulant child who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He should get off his high-horse and save the people of South Carolina the embarassment of his actions (past and present) and resign.

    August 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. carlos, that one

    there is absolutely NOTHING left of this person.....why doesn't he juswt go away......and the gop think it will help the party..............a horrendous NO.

    August 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Lacey Wa

    South Carolinians...why is he still in office??

    August 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Oh.......I get it. It's the fault of the media that he got caught with his pants down. Yeah.......right.

    August 28, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Garret

    "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.


    are you kidding me?
    i'm no saint. neither was clinton, yet when he had his fall from grace, you like others were snapping at him and stabbing him with the spurs in your boots.

    doesn't feel so good now that you ar going through the same thing.

    August 28, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. James

    When you dont have a legitimate argument or defense, just blame the media.

    August 28, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. john


    Poor little rich boy. Screwed over the people that elected him, and now he has the nerve to be annoyed that he's being asked questions and investigated?

    Don't do the crime if you can't handle the punishment, boy-o.

    August 28, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. FRANK, Las Vegas

    Sanford is the one who has turned this into a circus, not the press. This guy is a circus and the people of SC should be ashamed that they ever few for his lies. Then he tells a SC reporter, "I don't work for you", that's the problem right there, yes Mr. Sanford, You Do work for him! He's a citizen of SC you idiot. The people of SC are your boss, you're not theirs. As for the press, you're mad at them because they report exactly what you say? How dare they! And your defense about the travel is, well all the other governors did it. How stupid is that? You broke the law, true or false? TRUE! And to think this idiot had his eye on being president. How scary is that?

    August 28, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. P. D.

    Yeah sure Gov. Sanford! It's all the Media's fault! You cheated on your wife, took off without informing anyone, and you used tax money to fly you and your family around like a car service. But you can't blame yourself! It's all the media's fault!

    August 28, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. a progressive liberal and proud of it

    "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."

    Really Gov. Sanford????? Does John pay taxes? Then I would have to say that yes, you DO work for him! Just as you work for all the other tax-paying citizens of your state! The arrogance of this man! Is there anything that an elected Republican will take responsibility for these days without whining about how the "media" is out to get them???

    August 28, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Drew

    Yeah, Gov. Sanford. It is all about an agenda. You are the one who skipped out on his state to see your Argentine squeeze while villifing others' personal sexual lives. You are the one who misused state resources for your own personal satisfaction while preaching ethics and integrity. It's amazing, pathetic, and hilarious when public officials who are caught up in scandal (in both parties) love to blame to media. Governor Sanford, you are a hypocrite in the worst form and now you are being called out on it. You are a disgrace and you are being called out on it. Deal with it. I am from Illinois and as the country learned from our example, governors (especially ours) aren't above laws placed on them. Neither are you Mark.

    August 28, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Chris

    Liberalism doesn't work. This becomes more evident with each passing day of the current administration. When inflation and unemployment reach the same levels as we got to under Carter, liberals will run out of places to hide, and we will return to true capitalism and freedom. Americans have short memories, but are fast re-learners.

    August 28, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. mypitts2

    Don't blame the media for your self-created problems, champ.

    August 28, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Frisky

    it doesn't help him to be saying 'well, yeah, so what, other people do it too'...

    August 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. W. Art

    Ah, hello, earth to Gov. Sanford: You should have realized that once YOU allowed yourself to become entangled in the dirt YOU sown, YOU took on the responsibility of facing your own consequences.

    You are a man in position and yet you pointed fingers at everyone else, while doing your dirt. The problem was you thought you were above the law, you were indispensible. Well, as you can see, YOU ARE NOT.

    You were man enough to drop your pants, be man enough to face the consequences. Obviously you didn't have enough respect for your ownself, why should you expect others to respect you. MAN UP or shut up; better yet, just step down, cause if you were a man in the beginning you never would have done that to your family.

    August 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Jon

    Those crazy liberal reporters. I mean, the governor of a major state splits town without telling anyone for days to sleep with his Argentine girlfriend–in fact didn't even tell the Lt. Gov.–and maybe misappropriated state funds in the process, and these reporters have the moxie to ask questions about it. The nerve! They must work for or something. lol

    August 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. Greg in Houston

    Are all Republicans delusional liars or what?

    August 28, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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