December 12, 2009

The Sanford Trainwreck: All The Dish That Fits to Print, Post, Blog, Whatever…

If the divorce story has political relevance to Mark Sanford’s character, the pictures — of the couple going through the motions one last time at the Governor’s Christmas Open House before Jenny moved out — are pure tabloid.

FILE - In a Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 file photo,  South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, right, looks on as her husband Gov. Mark Sanford, takes a photo with guests at the Governor's Mansion in Columbia, S.C., during a Christmas Open House. Jenny Sanford announced Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 that she has filed for divorce, months after her husband publicly confessed an affair with Maria Belen Chapur. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick, File)

This is especially true of this second shot, the one the NYT chose to run, which frames South Carolina’s soon-to-be ex-First Lady in the most pitiable posture (though who knows what Jenny is really thinking or even looking at).

As I saw it, the ’08 campaign marked the rise and almost overnight, “no-questions-asked” institutionalization of the MSM/on-line newspaper blogs so that outfits like the NYT, WAPO, the LAT and the Chicago Trib could gain parity with the indy nets and the otherwise “wild west” blogosphere for dishing sleaze, rumor, innuendo and just general “Gawker-ness.”

What’s notable about these photos in particular, though, is that they actually appear in stories in what has remained the “grown-up” side of the house, one in a NYT piece in the National News section, and one each in WAPO in Entertainment (natch!) and (a more dishy blow-by-blow in) Arts and Living.

If the old bugaboo was a breakdown between editorial and sales, I’d say today’s potential meld between reporters/news and bloggers/blog is just as worrisome.

(photo Brett Flashnick/A.P.:  Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, S.C. , for a Christmas Open House on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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