Scandal, media effects and political candidates

Authored by: Clarisse Warren , Dona-Gene Barton

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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Public and media fixation on political scandals is not new, and yet the rise of candidate-centered campaigns, the evolution of journalistic norms, and rapid changes in today’s media environment have intensified the media’s spotlight on the moral mishaps of politicians (Allern et al. 2012; Sabato, Stencel, and Lichter 2000; Thompson 2000; Tumber 2004; Tumber and Waisbord 2004). Sabato, Stencel, and Lichter emphasize that “new technologies and competitive forces have turned the pressure cooker of daily news decisions into a microwave oven, especially when it comes to sensational and sensitive stories about the private lives of political figures” (2000, 34). These dynamics are amplified as journalists and the public struggle to keep up with what seems like a revolving door of scandals that are often initiated at the tweeting hands of politicians. Given the accelerated growth of scandal coverage, it is even more important to understand how media attention to the moral and at times legal line-crossing of political representatives impacts citizens’ evaluations and vote choices.

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