Political Scandal - Power and Visibility in the Media Era - Literature review Example

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Political Scandal - Power and Visibility in the Media Era

In contemporary politics and wider society, the story of a reputation or career undone by the publication of a scandal is familiar, but a key question is whether or not this phenomenon should be left to the tabloid journalists. I am inclined to agree with Thompson that the field deserves serious study. He was writing in the aftermath of the Bill Clinton sex scandal, and given the huge implication of that affair on American confidence in the President, and the way in which it gripped the attention of readers and watchers worldwide, the presence of the political scandal as a cultural phenomenon is worthy of study. Thompson acknowledges that for many academics, scandal constitutes ‘the froth of social and political life’ (2009, p.5), and can obscure the ‘real’ political and social events – the things really worthy of study. As he goes on to argue, scandal is one of these events, and should be considered ‘a social phenomenon in its own right’ (2000, p.6). From this solid starting point, Thompson embarks on a survey which ranges widely chronologically, if not, and this is to be regretted, geographically, and raises important questions about the role of media outlets in shaping contemporary political and public debate, and the changes in communication media that have brought scandals to the forefront on political life. ...Show more


Review Political Scandal: Power and Visibility in the Media Age. By J.B. Thompson. Cambridge: Polity. 2000. 324 pp. Index. ISBN 0745625495. Thompson’s work on political scandal is the first scholarly treatment of the subject in a comprehensive and full-length text, and does not disappoint…
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