Like many scandals involving sex, politicians and extramarital affairs, it’s hard not to mention it each time the lawmaker pops up in the news. Think Weiner. Craig. Foley. Edwards. Vitter. Ensign. Condit. Spitzer. Hart. Clinton. Up front, bold and in the most clever manner possible is the way many publications go. But in the case of former S.C. Gov and Congressman Mark Sanford, news outlets appear to be scattered on how to handle the situation.
The Wrap poses a simple, entertaining question in an email promo for a story: “Can Stephen Colbert’s Sister Beat Disgraced Ex-S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford?” Drudge appears to be aligned with some of his GOP colleagues. They headlined it and highlighted the affair, calling him “philandering” in the headline. HuffPost‘s headline doesn’t have anything about philandering. But they do call it a “Race For the Ages” on the homepage.
National Journal, meanwhile, went with the refined, understated “Stephen Colbert’s Sister Could Beat Sanford” promo. The headline was similarly understated: “Why Stephen Colbert’s Sister Could Beat Mark Sanford.” But the deck went for the dirt: “Scandal-plagued candidates have a lousy track record winning elections.” Like HuffPost, NJ writer Josh Kraushaar calls it a “matchup for the ages.” Number of sentences it took before referring to Sanford’s cheating ways: 5. Number of references to the cheating or scandal in the 12-graph story: 8.
WaPo‘s conservative writer Jennifer Rubin humorously plopped down the news with no sensitivity whatsoever. “Well, you can’t say former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is trying to hide the woman with whom he had an affair and for whom he abandoned his office for several days and ultimately his wife and children,” she wrote in a sentence leaving a reader gulping for air. And later, this: “I can’t wait to hear Sanford explain his position on same-sex marriage and hear his definition of the institution (one man and one woman, a hike, and another woman ?).”
Capitol Hill pubs reacted as follows… Read more