Michael Jackson swallowed the entire Fourth Estate. Whole.

So yesterday was my Writing Day, the day I usually try to go off the grid to get some actual WORK done. But by the time I got to my office, I already had four emails and five voice messages from reporters asking for comments on Governor Sanford’s lame confession. (You may remember that I wrote a book about this.)

In how many ways was it lame? Here are the top four…

1. Never said “I sinned.” Just, “I hurt people” (a good thing to admit, but makes it sound like an accident), “I apologize” (this is not the same as admitting sin; you can apologize for something you never even did), “I let people down” (again, an accidental-sounding sort of event). The closest he came to it was, “It was wrong.” Note the sudden shift into the impersonal as he approaches the heart of the matter.

2. Never said clearly whether the affair was now officially over. Or whether he had gone down there to break it off before a reporter spotted him at the airport. Or why it takes FIVE DAYS IN ARGENTINA to say, “It’s over.”

3. Did a nifty bit of blame shifting right at the beginning of his speech. Anyone else notice this? Reduced to its essence: “Obama’s stimulus plan caused me so much stress that I had to go to Argentina and see my mistress by way of recovery.”

4. Left us all wondering: Who did exactly pay for these jaunts to Argentina? And not just the plane tickets. Security? Hotel? Food? Breaking an oath to your wife is bad enough; playing around in the state treasury in order to do so is probably unforgivable.

Anyway, I went ahead and commented, as asked. Then worked at top speed for three hours. Then took a quick shower and headed off to an appointment in an old orange T-shirt with no makeup on and wet hair. As I was driving, Fox News called and asked me to do a TV interview. They’d already booked a studio near where I was heading. So I agreed.

Yes, I know you’re not supposed to powder your nose and put on mascara while driving. The orange T-shirt was past help.

Got to the TV studio only ten minutes late. Sat on stage under very very bright lights for over an hour while the studio solved technical difficulties. Earpiece didn’t work, so couldn’t hear interviewer in D.C. Had to put interviewer on Blackberry speaker-phone and hold it in my lap out of sight of cameras and then talk to picture of myself.

Out of all that, they decided to use a fifteen-second clip. And then the piece got bumped. Ah, well. (My friend Justin points out that Library Journal was kind enough to highlight the connection. Thank goodness Library Journal isn’t obsessed by celebrity passings.)

If I were Mark Sanford, I’d be offering libations/lighting candles/writing grateful requiems in Michael Jackson’s memory.

Showing 4 comments
  • Dave

    Sanford is thankful for Michael’s death as Sen. Ensign was thankful for Sanford’s South American jaunt.

    Meanwhile, the family of Farrah Fawcett is going, “Sheesh.”

  • Sarah

    1. What I couldn’t believe is that on every cycle of ‘I’m sorry I hurt soinso’ in the meandering newsconference, the mistress took top billing- wife and children were way lower on the list. Bad apology 101.

    2. I love the way his wife has dealt with it… but then it is easier to kick him out when you are independently wealthy (just sayin’). Her decision can be perfectly guided by right/wrong and personal dignity when she has both plenty of money to feed and house her children AND credentials/experience for earning a good living on her own if ness.

    3. I actually heard one talking head say ‘at least he didn’t do what Eliot Spitzer did… could someone clarify how the Sanford episode is better?

  • Heather

    You know, if this were a movie, such as Wag the Dog perhaps, Sanford’s people would have knocked Michael off to create a diversion. As it is, what a lucky man!

  • Linda

    There has to be a fifth reason, the apology was terribly lame….When publicly apologizing…ALWAY give your wife and children first billing when listing people you hurt.

    and ….I have to say…because, it bugged the heck out of me….

    Is there anyone in North America who really cared…”….this began innocent enough…with an e-mail of advise…and then developed into something much more.”? What is that all about? It sounds like he was caught in a great vortex….that a love greater than himself kept pulling him in…..pleeeeeeeze, give me a break.

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