Morning Shows Devote Almost an Hour to Hyping Sanford Story
The three network morning shows on Thursday devoted a staggering 18 segments to the revelation that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was having an affair with a woman from Argentina, adding up to over 54 minutes of coverage. NBC's Today show spent the most time on the subject, highlighting the infidelity with six segments and 25 minutes of air time.
Co-host Matt Lauer even talked to disgraced former Governor Jim McGreevey to get his thoughts on the matter. (However, while NBC made sure to label Sanford a Republican, the Today anchors failed to do so for the Democratic ex-New Jersey governor who resigned under a cloud of scandal.)
ABC's Good Morning America touted the sex scandal for 17 minutes and 26 seconds, featuring seven stories on Sanford. (It should also be pointed out that GMA came within seven minutes of Today's total, despite the fact that the NBC program is four hours, double the time of ABC's show.) During one such segment, Sam Donaldson insisted that it's hard to forgive Republicans who get involved in sex scandals: "They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they- human- they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness."
CBS's Early Show had the least amount of coverage, offering only five segments over 11 minutes and 44 seconds. As the MRC's Kyle Drennen noted in his June 25 posting, all three morning shows repeatedly identified Sanford as a Republican. However, during the first week's coverage of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his prostitute scandal, he was labeled a Democrat only 20 percent of the time.