Several outlets reported this weekend that Fox News has hired former Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford as a contributor to its 2012 election coverage.
I know this is only a position as a commentator on a network that already has strong opinions both in support and opposition of it, but this type of hire does more harm to the brand than good. After denouncing CNN for giving Eliot "Client-9" Spitzer a position, why follow that trend by offering one to another former governor involved in a sex scandal?
The question here is an old one: does personal baggage really matter when we're evaluating anyone from presidential candidates to pundits? If we're deciding whether or not someone has a integrity, then their personal character is definitely worth taking into consideration. My fear is that Fox News will suffer by association. I can already see Stewart, Colbert, and Saturday Night Live continuing with their demagoguery of Fox News by showing clips of Sanford saying something somewhat judgmental, reminding their viewers of his affair, and furthering the audience's misguided perception of Fox News as illegitimate.
I know Sanford has apologized, and I'm willing to forgive people for their shortcomings and past mistakes. I ultimately hope he does well and provides great insights. I guess my issue with all this rests in Fox News' decision - especially with the Murdoch's and the phone-hacking still on people's minds - and adding fodder to the fire.
Those that like Fox News will probably be able to move on and take him for what he is now: a talking head on a news-channel. Those that swear against it now have more reason to do, and I guess we just have to ask if that matters.