Political scandal

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In politics, a political scandal is an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage. Politicians, government officials, party officials and lobbyists can be accused of various illegal, corrupt, unethical or sexual practices.[1] Scandalized politicians are more likely to retire or get lower vote shares.[2]


Scandal sells, and broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines and the electronic media have covered it in depth. The Muckraker movement in American journalism was a component of the Progressive Era in the U.S. in the early 20th century. Journalists have built their careers on exposure of corruption and political scandal, often acting on behalf of the opposition party.[3]

There are numerous contextual factors that make a scandal noteworthy, such as the importance of the people, the depth of conspiracy and the coverup strategies used.[4]

The political ideology of media owners plays a role—they prefer to target the opposition but will reluctantly cover their own side.[5][6] Journalists have to frame the story in terms of the audience's values and expectations to maximize the impact.[7]

Lists by country[edit]

Nathan confronts David over his sex scandal with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite, saying "by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14)

See also[edit]

In the spring of 1904, many parts of the northeastern United States experienced severe flooding. Bob Satterfield portrayed politicians, bureaucrats, etc., trapped in the floods – which are not of water, but of scandal (April 9, 1904


  1. ^ King, 1984
  2. ^ Gulati, Jeff; Brown, Lara M. (2 January 2021). "The Personal is Political: Reconsidering the Impact of Scandals on Congressional Incumbents". Congress & the Presidency. 48 (1): 25–49. doi:10.1080/07343469.2020.1788665. ISSN 0734-3469. S2CID 232223414.
  3. ^ Achter, P. J. (2000). "Narrative, intertextuality, and apologia in contemporary political scandals. Southern Journal of Communication, 65(4), 318–333.
  4. ^ Foster, C., Thrasher, J., Kim, S-H., Rose, I., Besley, J., & Navarro, A. (2012). "Agenda-building influences on the news media's coverage of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's push to regulate tobacco, 1993–2009," Journal of Health and Human Services Administration 35(3), 303–330.
  5. ^ Puglisi, R., & Snyder, J. M. Jr. (2011). "Newspaper Coverage of Political Scandals," Journal of Politics 73(3), 1–20.
  6. ^ Thompson, J. B. (1997). "Scandal and social theory" in J. Lull & S. Hinerman (Eds.), Media scandals: Morality and desire in the popular culture marketplace pp. 34–64). (Cambridge, England: Polity Press).
  7. ^ Yioutas, J., & Segvic, I. (2003). "Revisiting the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal: The convergence of agenda setting and framing." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 80(3), 567–582.

Further reading[edit]

  • Canel, Maria Jose and Karen Sanders. Morality Tales: Political Scandals and Journalism in Britain and Spain in the 1990s (2005)
  • Dagnes, Alison and Mark Sachleben. "Scandal! An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Consequences, Outcomes, and Significance of Political Scandals" (Bloomsbury 2013)
  • Dziuda, Wioletta; Howell, William G. 2020. "Political Scandal: A Theory." American Journal of Political Science.
  • Fisher, Trevor. Scandal: Sexual Politics of Late Victorian Britain (1995)
  • Giroux, Gary. Business Scandals, Corruption, and Reform: An Encyclopedia (2013)
  • Grossman, Mark. Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed (2008)
  • Heidenheimer, Arnold and M. Johnston. Political corruption: Concepts and contexts (2002)
  • King, Anthony. Sex, Money and Power: Political Scandals in Great Britain and the United States (1984)
  • Kohn, George C. The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal (2000)
  • MacMullen, Ramsay. Corruption and the Decline of Rome (1990)
  • Scott, James C. Comparative political corruption (1972)
  • Temple, Kathryn. Scandal Nation: Law and Authorship in Britain, 1750–1832 (2002)

External links[edit]