Scandals, media and religion

Authored by: Paul A. Soukup

The routledge companion to media and scandal

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815387596
eBook ISBN: 9781351173001
Adobe ISBN:


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The idea of the news media’s reporting religious scandal carries more than a hint of irony. Scandal sells the news, attracting viewers and follow-up stories, but runs counter to a religious response to it. In popular usage, “scandal” typically refers to some, probably moral, wrong that causes a strong public reaction. In the words of Ingebretsen (2004, 30), “Scandal is, above all, a machinery of outrage.” And so, even attaching the term “scandal” to some behavior will most likely attract added attention and prompt the very reaction predicted by the reporting. And, since religion by definition upholds the moral order, it provides—depending on one’s perspective—either a tragic or a rich target for accusations of scandal.

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