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Correction to This Article
The article incorrectly said that ABC's Jake Tapper used Twitter to apologize to NBC's David Gregory for sending a critical remark of Gregory's to the office of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Tapper apologized by phone.

Just-Released E-Mails Show Journalists Shamelessly Wooing Sanford

(Courtesy Of Erick Erickson - Courtesy Of Erick Erickson)
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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 16, 2009

There are times when journalists badly want to land a hot interview.

Very badly.

A newly disclosed stash of e-mails to Mark Sanford's office shows media figures offering to be sympathetic, even sucking up, if he will grant them an exclusive. It was late June and the South Carolina governor had sparked a furor by vanishing for several days, but the world did not yet know of the affair with his Argentine soul mate.

"If you all want to speak on this publicly," a Washington Times staffer wrote, "you're welcome to Washington Times Radio. You know that you will be on friendly ground here!"

Griff Jenkins, a Fox News feature reporter and producer, wrote: "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."

Even Stephen Colbert, a South Carolina native, got into the act, starting with a joke about having declared himself governor but ending with an earnest pitch.

"I went power mad for about 40 seconds before learning that Gov. Sanford was returning today," the Comedy Central satirist wrote.

"If the Governor is looking for a friendly place to make light of what I think is a small story that got blown out of scale, I would be happy to have him on. In person here, on the phone, or in South Carolina. Stay Strong, Stephen."

Okay, it's easy to mock those who dismissed the uproar over Sanford supposedly hiking the Appalachian Trail as so much media hyperventilation. Even the Republican governor's own aides didn't know at the time that he was in Buenos Aires with his gal pal, Maria Belen Chapur.

Journalists, naturally, were checking in. The Washington Post's Fix columnist, Chris Cillizza, wrote to Sanford's communications director, Joel Sawyer: "Dude, is everything ok?"

"Yep. Slow news day," Sawyer responded.

But not for long.

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© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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