08/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sanford's Media Emails: News Orgs Offered Friendly Spin [UPDATE]

Remember, not too long ago, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford just disappeared off the face of the earth to gently strum Spandau Ballet ballads on his guitar and walk the "sex line" with his Argentinean ladylove, leaving his staff to spin wild lies about his whereabouts, the agreed-to story being that he was out wandering the Appalachian Trail, like a hobo? Well, during that time, all sorts of people were trying to get in touch with Mark Sanford -- something about him having "duties" as the "Governor" of "South Carolina" -- and the records of those calls and emails were released on Monday. The State has collected the best of these, and they include many inquiries from the media, some of which were essentially mash notes.

By June 22, four days after Sanford had left for his trip, dozens of media outlets were working to determine where he was.

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

You'll never guess who was hoping to coordinate with Sanford!

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!"

Translation: "Dear Mark Sanford, Feel free to "cross the sex line" on the "friendly ground" that is our second floor breakroom! (a sister publication of the Wall Street Journal) associate editor Brendan Miniter, in an e-mail to Sawyer, called the WSJ's first-day coverage bunk. "Someone at WSJ should be fired for today's story. Ridiculous," Miniter wrote.

I'm sure that the folks that staff Journal's newsroom have plenty of interesting things to say about Brendan Miniter's idiotic opinions on the company's human resources decisions!

On June 23, a Fox News Channel correspondent wrote to 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."

I know! What a meaningless frenzy! Naturally, there turned out to be no news there at all, right?

Anyway, other highlights include a personal call from Larry King, an invitation from Stephen Colbert for Sanford to clear the air on his show, and an email from the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza to Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer that reads, "Dude, is everything okay?"

UPDATE: Rachel Sklar emails with an update, Mediaite's Steve Krakauer identifies the unnamed Fox News correspondent as the often be-costumed Griff Jenkins. Krakauer reminds that "Jenkins is a features reporter (and a producer), rather than a hard news correspondent." Perhaps The State means "correspondent" as "person who corresponds."

The e-mails also show some reached out to the governor on how best to come to his defense.

"If he wants something more personal for the blog to push back, I'm happy to help," wrote Erick Erickson, a writer for On June 23, Erickson ripped "media speculation" about Sanford's whereabouts.

"I wasn't trying to be a reporter. I wanted to curtail the story," Erickson said by e-mail. "Well that didn't work."

After Sanford admitted an affair with an Argentine woman, Erickson struck and amended the original post, meditating that "we live in a fallen world."


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."

Credit Tapper with a forthright response, today on Twitter, saying, "Have apologized to [David Gregory] Bad form on my part."

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]