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An hour and a half at the TV studio, a fifteen-second soundbite, and then…

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.
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