The newspaper business is a dying one. We’ve seen the papers in Seattle and Denver shut down and thousands of journalists have been laid off this year as publishers struggle to retain subscribers and advertisers as the public moves to online sources for news.
In light of this, I think it’s impressive that The State newspaper, the largest in South Carolina, has led the country in breaking the news about Gov. Mark Sanford and his lies about his extramarital affair. The Columbia paper has beaten out national media and every other news outlet in the state in covering this story, reporting exclusive, after exclusive.
The paper had a reporter ambushing the governor as he was getting off a flight from Argentina in Atlanta. They also obtained emails between the governor and his mistress, which they published on their website this evening.
The paper and its staff deserves a thank you from the people of South Carolina and the people who potentially would have voted for Sanford were he to run for President in 2012.
But I am troubled that the paper had these emails in its possession since December and held back in publishing them until today. Since they knew the Governor was having an affair, why did they defend him in this editorial when we thought he was on the Appalachian Trail? Why did the reporter sent to ambush him at the Atlanta airport not confront him with the emails and the knowledge of the affair at the airport?
I get that they want to sell papers — the Governor will help them with that, no doubt — but were some standards of journalism broken here? It seems to me they should have confronted the Governor as soon as the emails came into their possession. They should have investigated his previous state-funded trips to Argentina and they should have reported before now that the Governor and his wife were separated for the last two weeks.
Maybe I am being too hard on them. What do you think?