The Conservative Media Game

Ken AshfordRight Wing and Inept MediaLeave a Comment

Conservative pundits and the conservative media like to profess that, unlike the "liberal media", the "conservative media" is, well you know the phrase, "fair and balanced".

But an interesting footnote to the whole Mark Sanford affair shows just how untrue, and how in-the-pocket conservative media outlets actually are.

The State, the South Carolina newspaper which broke the Sanford affair, obtained emails and correspondence from Sanford's office (through South Carolina's "open record" laws) during the time when there was widespread confusion about Sanford's whereabouts.  The communications from the conservative media outlets to Sanford's communication office were, uh, interesting:

Some outlets, hoping to outdo their competition, were volunteering to coordinate with the governor's office to spin the story to Sanford's advantage.

A staffer with The Washington Times wrote in an e-mail that "if you all want to speak on this publicly, you're welcome to Washington Times Radio. You know that you will be on friendly ground here!"

On June 23, a Fox News Channel correspondent wrote to [Sanford's communications director, Joel Sawyer], "Having known the Governor for years and even worked with him when he would host radio shows for me — I find this story and the media frenzy surrounding it to be absolutely ridiculous! Please give him my best."

The Wall Street Journal's Brendan Miniter emailed Sawyer to complain about his own newspaper's coverage of Sanford's disappearance. "Someone at WSJ should be fired for today's story. Ridiculous," Miniter wrote.

That's right.  Before the facts were ever known, the conservative news sources were lining up to back Sanford and help put a positive spin on the story… regardless of what the story was.

Josh Marshall appropriately calls the emails, "Hacks on Parade."