The Situationist

Archive for June 29th, 2009

The Fortuitous Situation of News Cycles: From Mark Sanford to Michael Jackson

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 29, 2009

Mark Sanford Michael JacksonSteve Singiser of Daily Kos raises an interesting point: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford may have been an unintended beneficiary of Michael Jackson’s death last week, as the public’s outrage and bewilderment over Sanford’s affair and possible dereliction of gubernatorial duties suddenly waned upon news of Jackson’s death.  Could Sanford’s political future tangibly benefit by the completely unrelated death of a pop music legend?  We excerpt Singiser’s piece below.

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The conventional wisdom (which, as the inimitable Molly Ivins was fond to point out, is often wrong) says that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s political career can now be described in the past tense.

There is some reason to believe that this is not necessarily true.

An obvious political “break” for Sanford was the nature of this week’s news cycle. Within 28 hours of Sanford’s extraordinary news conference explaining the nature of his disappearance and the details of his bizarre case of infidelity, Michael Jackson passed away.

Sanford, on the verge of being the sole topic of conversation for days on end in the midst of a slow early-summer news cycle, instead was relegated to a spot far down the depth chart, along with every other news story NOT about the Jackson death. Indeed, yesterday afternoon, five of the top six stories on the list of most viewed stories were about Jackson. Sanford was not in the top ten.

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Of course, anyone reading the news this weekend might presume that [Jenny Sanford] no longer cares about the status of her husband’s political career. That said, it is worth noting that her comment comes less than 48 hours before she was humiliated in front of the national (heck, global) media. Time might function to heal those wounds. If he pushed the political issue two years from now, when GOP politicos were getting set for 2012, she may well sing a different tune.

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To read the rest of the piece, which raises a number of other interesting points, click here.  For related Situationist posts, see David Vitter, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Jon Ensign, and Now Mark Sanford: The Disposition Is Weaker than the Situation and The Undesirable Situation of “Weirdness” and Presidential Aspirations

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