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The saga of Mark Sanford and his “hike on the Appalachian Trail” may be just another story of a lovesick family-values Republican. But some of the developments on the periphery are worth some attention. Columbia’s The State, which has done yeoman work on the story from the start, followed up with a routine Freedom of Information Act request. And what it netted is extremely revealing. For instance,
Gov. Mark Sanford’s chief of staff, Scott English, called the governor’s cell phones 15 times during the governor’s secret trip to Argentina to visit his lover last month. But the governor never picked up.
But still more curious is the evidence recorded of the reactions of media players. The comments make some of these journalists look like members of Sanford’s extended public relations team. Prominent examples:
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!”
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.”
Reflecting the curious state of relations between the editorial page and news room at the Wall Street Journal, the new flagship of the Murdoch print empire, “associate editor Brendan Miniter… called the WSJ’s first-day coverage bunk. ‘Someone at WSJ should be fired for today’s story. Ridiculous,’ Miniter wrote.”
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”