When the stories about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's love of hiking and the ensuing revelations about line crossing and soul mates were first revealed, I think it's safe to say that most people never saw it coming. But what hasn't been a surprise is the resulting confirmation of how many in the media are willing to sell their journalistic souls for political access.
From his emails to Sanford's office, where he begs for an interview:
Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it's exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest.
... So coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to...and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.
In the middle of the breaking scandal, Gregory not only offered to let Sanford guide the story, he was willing to give him a platform to change the subject. And then Gregory would "move on."
What these emails reveal should raise the question of whether this is the standard offer made to every guest on Meet the Press. But of course now that the traditional media has been implicated in the story, chances are they will all be moving on.