The State newspaper of South Carolina has used a public records request to obtain emails sent to and from Governor Mark Sanford’s office during the hectic few days last month when he had gone missing. It’s not surprising that the emails underline the utter confusion that beset the governor’s hapless aides as they tried to ward off inquiries about their boss’s whereabouts, without themselves having any idea where he was.
But they also show something even funnier: an effort by the right-wing media to curry favor with Sanford’s office by dismissing the story as a storm in a teacup created by the liberal media. It’s fair to say that, as news judgments go, it would be hard to find one that turned out worse than this — given the subsequent revelations about Sanford’s Argentinian liaison and his abandonment of his post.
All the usual conservative-media suspects are there: FOX News, the Wall Street Journal editorial staff (which has done its best to minimize the enormity of the Sanford scandal), the Washington Times. And they’re all caught promising to spin this story in Sanford’s favor — a promise that they’re keeping.
But of course, those entities are all blatantly conservative. What about the allegedly "mainstream" press? Guess what, they’re carrying Republican politicians’ water, too. Look at the actions of ABC’s Jake Tapper:
ABC News White House reporter Jake Tapper e-mailed Sawyer twice on June 23, both to note coverage of competitor NBC.
With a subject line of "NBC spot was slimy," Tapper e-mailed Sawyer a "Today" show transcript of Sanford coverage, calling it "insulting." Later, Tapper forwarded Sawyer a Twitter post by "Meet The Press" host David Gregory.
Jeff Schneider, a vice president at ABC News, said Tapper was "carrying some water for producers who knew he had a relationship with the governor’s office."
But of course, the fact that the nationally-oriented portion of the US corporate-owned media constantly protects Republicans is no surprise to those who have been paying close attention. The same mainstream media that tirelessly and uncritically reports Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions’ efforts to paint Supreme Court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a ‘racist’ are silent as the tomb on Sessions’ own alleged (and far more extensive) history of racist words and deeds. And Attaturk reminds us that Ron Fournier, the guy who heads up the Associated Press’ Washington Bureau and thus gets to dictate how the AP covers political matters, is a good buddy of Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s chief domestic advisor.
This is why I call it "The GOP/Media Complex", folks.