Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What's the bigger news? Seriously: Mark Sanford's political career imploding, or the USA beating Spain in the Confederation Cup? I'll give you a hint: I learned about the soccer win on Colbert.

The Sanford drama has been playing itself out all over the news and internet today. I came home tonight to find it on every channel and, like witnesses to train wrecks everywhere, I just couldn't look away. I watched the coverage on Colbert's, Maddow's, Olberman's, Stewart's, and Chris Mathews' shows. Maddow, Olberman, and Mathews, MSNBC drones all (meaning they are *my* drones) each devoted as much as half their air time to the Sanford story. As usual Maddow was the most thorough, while also being the most biting and acerbic. Mathews was the most sober. Hell, his guests were Howard Feinman and Dan Rather: how much more sobering can you get? He called it "an affair of the heart", distinguishing it from the normal shenanigans with interns or hookers or undercover detectives in mens rooms, and treated it with dignity--probably far more than it deserved. Olberman, of course, mocked and gesticulated and feigned outrage.

So what is it about Sanford? Is it newsworthy? I've always said that a person's personal life is just that--personal. Where the governor of South Carolina dips his penis is between him, his god, his wife, and whomever he is dipping it into. And nobody else. This is really only news because he disappeared for five days and started a mini-national panic, and because it seems to make him out to be a hypocrite. But really, while his going "out of pocket" is certainly the business of the South Carolina voters, his affair is none of our business at all.

And yet I couldn't look away.

Only John Stewart on the Daily Show, who can never be accused of having dignity, treated the story as it deserved. He pulled out popcorn and a soda, made a bad joke about the governor being a bottom (via selective editing) and then played the clip where the governor said he'd been unfaithful to his wife. And Stewart said "that's it? You're human?" and moved on to talk to a little animated Kim Jong Ill, and then about Iran. In other words, he gave the story less than two minutes, which is about how much time was warranted, land went on to REAL fake news.

Oh, did I mention that the USA beat Spain?


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