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Political Scandal: Power and Visibility in The Media Age

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... Be to, žiniasklaidos dalyvavimas skandale ištrina ribą tarp privačios ir viešosios sferų, suteikdamas galią masiniam matomumui, o politikos komunikacijoje leidžia įsigalėti melodramos režisieriams. Mokslininko įsitikinimu, skandalas yra viešosios komunikacijos kultūros nuosmukio ir brutaliosios žurnalistikos rezultatas, kurio paskirtis -iš darbotvarkės išbraukti tokias problemas kaip nedarbas, skurdas, badas, pilietinis karas (Thompson, 2000), pagaliau -ekonominė krizė. ...
... Kritiškus vertinimus prokuratūros atžvilgiu išsakė ir kiti įtakingi politikos komunikacijos dalyviai -teisingumo ministras 8 , visuomenės veikėjas, advokatas Kęstutis Čilinskas, 9 o Lietuvos Respublikos prezidentė savo poziciją pareiškė veiksmais -iškviesdama prokuratūros vadovą pasiaiškinti. 10 Moralinės panikos požymiu, įsiklausius į S. Coheną, laikomas pasidalijimas į priešingas stovyklas, kuris akivaizdus nagrinėjamo pedofilijos skandalo metu: TV3 kanalu transliuojamos skandalingų 11 kriminalinių tyrimų laidos "Akistata" kūrybinė grupė renka faktus, esą liudijančius teisėsaugoje egzistuojant pedofilų klaną. Tuo pačiu metu per LNK TV (t. ...
... Visuomenės informavimo priemonių atstovai, naudodami tokias manipuliacijos priemones kaip stereotipinis vaizdavimas, faktų iškraipymas, jais nepagrįstų versijų kūrimas, sureikšminimas, instinktų ir emocijų žadinimas bei kaltės, nuodėmių personifikacija, veikia savarankiškai ir, nepriklausomai nuo kitų politikos komunikacijos dalyvių, dideliu greičiu daugina skandalo diskursą, kol visose žiniasklaidos priemonėse sukuriama tapati naujienų dienotvarkė. Tuomet pradedami kartoti pranešimai (Thompson, 2000;Critcher, 2005), kurie palaiko įtampą. Jei skandalo akstinu visuomenėje yra moralinė panika, tuomet visuomenės interesų požiūriu reikšminga ir natūrali jo baigtis -įstatymų ar jų taikymo pataisos, o populistinė -pareigūnų atstatydinimas. ...
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Šiuolaikinė žiniasklaida dėl informacinių technologijų sukeltos raiškų konvergencijos dažnai susiduria su produkcijos problema: naujienų gamybos tempas ir žurnalistų profesinių vertybių komercializavimas lemia daugiau skandalų apie politikos veikėjų ir įžymybių gyvenimą, kriminalinių istorijų eksploatavimą, bulvarines tendencijas publicistikoje ir net tiriamojoje žurnalistikoje. Ir nors atrodytų, kad visuomenė ir politikos veikėjai priprato prie dominuojančios rėksmingos politinės kultūros, tačiau kartais pasitaiko tokių skandalų, kurie ne tik turi rimtų socialinių pasekmių, sukelia socialinių santykių krizes, tačiau sukelia rimtų padarinių ir medijų sistemai, lemia jos raidos sukrėtimus. Prie tokių reiškinių galima priskirti ne tik Prezidento Rolando Pakso skandalą (2004 m.), bet ir vadinamąjį pedofilijos skandalą (2009–2010 m.). Straipsnyje, pasinaudojant naujienų gamybos (Molotch, Lester, 1974) ir naujienų vadybos (McNair, 1998; Schudson, 2003; Balčytienė, 2009) teorinėmis įžvalgomis, skandalo (Thompson, 2000) ir moralinės panikos (Critcher, 2005) konceptais bei krizių komunikacijos teorija (Wilcox, Cameron, Ault, Agee, 2007), aptariamas pedofilijos skandalo (2009–2010 m.) atspindėjimas ir atskleidžiamos žurnalistų profesinės nuostatos. Straipsnio tikslas – išnagrinėti skandalo kilimui įtakos turinčius naujienų gamybos ir jų vadybos veiksnius, išryškinti šaltinių ir žurnalistų pozicijas proceso metu bei parodyti žiniasklaidos dalyvavimo socialinį vaidmenį.Esminiai žodžiai: pedofilijos skandalas, moralinė panika, krizių komunikacija, reputacija, politikos komunikacija, įvykių skatinimas.
... Throughout the USA's political tradition, scandals have been rather commonplace, although both the circumstances and consequences of scandals in the world of American politics appear to have changed significantly in recent times. As a general trend, morality itself and the cultural norms that delineate them seem to have shifted throughout the last two centuries, and as a result, so have the judgments that are made towards politicians who may find themselves being scrutinized in the midst of a public scandal (Thompson 2000). ...
... However, there are instances where what could normally be perceived as a scandalous activity simply fails to have any meaningful effect, and I would attribute this phenomenon to the fact that the politician's ostensible ethos and public persona were not contradicted as a result of the misdeeds. It is almost as if any wrongdoing could be dismissed because no one really expected any better from them to begin with-there was no expectation for them to be ethical in the first place (Thompson 1995). ...
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Throughout the evolution of public political discourse we have repeatedly seen the effects of scandals on the careers of many politicians. Although the cultural and societal norms that have traditionally dictated the results of such scandals have changed dramatically within the last two centuries, I believe that the aftermath of these scandals may be better understood by analyzing and comparing the politician’s previously established public image to the scandal at hand. I will argue that a negative impact only occurs if and when there is a clear contradiction of character that presents the politician as a deceitful or hypocritical person in the media sphere and therefore the eyes of the public
... In fact, many contemporary scandals (Thompson, 2000) emerge from this discrepancy between the intended ethos orators try to control and the produced ethos interpreted by audiences. Media shows examples of produced ethos that are not compatible to the initial, intended, rhetorical ethos. ...
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There are three main schools for the study of the ethos: the pragmatic-discursive; the symbolic interactionist, and the rhetorical one. This paper aims to give an encompassing and fuller perspective on the rhetorical ethos that can be useful to the contemporary uses of the persuasive communication, including media communication such as advertising or marketing communication. Primarily, it outlines the conceptual employments ethos has suffered by through different subjects. Subsequently, it briefly enumerates the major rhetorical traditions; lastly, it postulates the rhetoric ethos as a hybrid notion that includes both a projected and an intended dimension. We hope this distinction allows us to better will envisage the persuasive communication further than the forum/agora and its several digital uses in the 21th century.
... In fact, in countries in which a major effort to reduce corruption has been successful, the antigraft campaign may "produce an increase in the perception of corruption precisely at the time when actual corruption is declining" (Seligson, 2006, p. 390). By placing corruption in the realm of moral transgression, the uncovering of political scandals by the mass media leads to public condemnation against those involved (Thompson, 2000). Thus, in countries where governments or civil society actors focus on combating corruption-or when a corruption scandal has been salient-there might be a resulting increase in the perception of corruption triggered by the centrality of corruption as a government or societal priority. ...
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The September 2015 ousting and imprisonment of Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina and the subsequent election of television personality Jimmy Morales, who ran on an anticorruption platform, were interpreted as evidence of the salience of corruption as a popular concern in the country. Using the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) from 2006 to 2016, this article analyzes the evolution in the perception of corruption in Guatemala and its determinants to assess for changes after 2015. Perception of corruption remains a secondary concern for most Guatemalans and its determinants—age; education; rightwing ideology; and retrospective economic outlook—are stable overtime. The 2015 corruption scandal had a marginal impact on an already high perception of corruption. When perception of corruption is so widespread, the explanatory power of its determinants becomes less pronounced.
... This credibility is fundamental to NGOs' work: credibility in the eyes of political audiences is key to persuasion, credibility with publics is important for mobilizing outrage, while credibility with journalists gets media coverage and with volunteers and donors gets resources (Cottle and Nolan, 2007;Land, 2009). While credibility is a source of strength for human rights NGOs, it is also their Achilles' heel, as it is a precarious reputational resource that can easily be lost through poor performance, bad associations, and the discrediting discourses of opponents (Thompson, 2000;McPherson, 2016). ...
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Pre-print version of: McPherson, E. 2017 ‘Social Media and Human Rights Advocacy’ in Tumber, H. and Waisbord, S. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 279–88. The rise of social media has seen its concomitant celebration as a ‘liberation technology,’ namely a technology that supports social, political, and economic freedoms (Diamond, 2010). This chapter provides a framework for understanding how the use of social media intersects with the practice of human rights advocacy at NGOs. This framework is not to deny the disruptive possibility of human rights advocacy conducted over social media, but rather to ground related techno-optimism in the broad and complex terrain that influences this potential (Youmans and York, 2012; Madianou, 2013). This chapter begins by arguing that the view that social media liberates advocacy by creating new pathways to visibility rests on an incomplete conception of visibility, one which focuses on the production of communication and overlooks the corresponding transmission and reception of that communication necessary for visibility to take place (Hindman, 2010). The visibility of human rights advocacy can be understood as depending on the logics of the social media field, the target audience fields, and the political field(s) across and within which human rights communication takes place. This chapter overviews this field theory approach to communication before outlining in broad strokes what we know about each of these logics. Equally important, however, is what we don’t know. For different reasons, each of these logics is somewhat inscrutable – that of the social media field because of its novelty, mutability, and proprietary secrecy; those of target audience fields because social media advocacy effects are both hard to isolate and under-researched; and those of political fields because surveillance tactics are often covert. All of this inscrutability creates risk, and risk, as we shall see, is anathema to visibility. One of the benefits of the field approach is its concern with inequality (Bourdieu, 1993). As an actor’s ability to mitigate risk corresponds to his or her resources, it may be that – instead of being a leveler – social media advocacy is exacerbating inequalities of visibility within the human rights field (Beck, 1992; Mejias, 2012; Thrall, Stecula and Sweet, 2014). The chapter concludes by sketching a research agenda for the use of social media in human rights work.
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Organizational transgressions cause recurring scandals. Often disclosed by whistleblowers, they generate public outrage and force organizations to respond. Recent studies have tried to answer the question: “What happens after a transgression becomes publicly known?” They highlight organizational responses marked by recognition of the transgression, penance and reintegration of the organization. However, that research only deals with transgressions involving illegal organizational practices. This article broadens the field of study to include legal but unethical organizational practices. It is based on the case study of a recent scandal: LuxLeaks (2010–2018). This scandal concerns tax avoidance practices that were advised by the international audit and consulting firm PwC to hundreds of companies and made public by whistleblowers. The case data result from cross-comparisons of several organizational (PwC) and governmental (Luxembourg) communication documents as well as parliamentary, judicial and press documents. The article’s results highlight a legalistic organizational response that is so far under-explored in the literature. This response is marked by a rhetoric of denial, reformism and self-victimization and by judicial retaliation against the whistleblowers. It reveals the paradoxes of “legalization” in contemporary organizations, and its role in the perpetuation of unethical corporate practices.
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Krisen und Skandale können einerseits als Ausnahmesituationen der Mediengesellschaft betrachtet werden; andererseits treten sie prozessual wiederkehrend auf und beeinflussen sich wechselseitig: Krisen können Skandale hervorbringen und umgekehrt. In den vernetzten Öffentlichkeiten des Internet haben sie an Virulenz und Permanenz gewonnen. Ihr Verlauf und ihre Relevanz für die politische Kommunikation lassen sich in dem funktionalen Phasenmodell der Skandaluhr abbilden. Seiner Latenzphase mit Publikation der Schlüsselereignisse folgen die Aufschwungphase mit Kontextualisierung und die Etablierungsphase mit Bewertung der Vorwürfe auf der Klimax, bevor sich die Medienöffentlichkeit in den Abschwung- und Rehabilitationsphasen regeneriert. Das Zusammenspiel von Boulevard- und Nachrichtenmedien hat dabei großen Einfluss auf den Verlauf von Krisen und Skandalen. Sie kommunizieren mit moralischen Kollektiven aus den Bereichen Religion und Ideologie, Privatheit, Öffentlichkeit, Politik und Recht. Zunehmend artikulieren auch populistische Politikerinnen und Politiker bewusst politische Tabubrüche, um durch in den Intermediären potenzierte Krisen und Skandale mediale Aufmerksamkeit zu generieren.
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After focusing on the emergence of new mediators, we are now going to investigate more closely the visibility dynamics that emerges from that. Among the main discourses of the actors we interviewed on the use of social media during the 2013 protests in Brazil, one of them emphasized that this use had given voice to a number of new actors that could now publish and disseminate their own version of the facts. This emergence of new voices would create a bigger kaleidoscope of voices talking about the protests. But how does that really work? In this chapter we investigate that dynamic through the analysis of retweet and hyperlink practices.
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One popular genre of YouTube content in the Philippines is the Miss Universe reaction video made by queer fans during pageant viewing parties. The videos show hysterical and dramatic expressions of fans which are conceptualized as a form of queer expression, kabaklaan [Diaz (2018 Diaz, R. (2018). Biyuti from below: Contemporary Philippine cinema and the transing of Kabaklaan. Transgender Studies Quarterly, 5(3), 404–424.[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]). Biyuti from below: Contemporary Philippine cinema and the transing of Kabaklaan. Transgender Studies Quarterly, 5(3), 404–424]. By analyzing the circulation of the videos, the present study aims to identify the roles of YouTube users and digital platforms in the transformations of the queer expression. My findings suggest that the affordances of YouTube (visibility, participation, dissemination) contribute to the commodification of the reaction videos and the popularization of queer emotional performances. At the same time, YouTube provides a facility where users can participate in the politics of queer recognition. The study shows how circulation can account for cultural transformations and continuity on digital platforms.
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This paper discusses why despite the appalling way in which Mexican government managed the health crisis due to COVID-19, the levels of popularity of President Lopez Obrador where practically unaffected. The paper argues that his morning conferences, popularly known as mañaneras, serve as an instrument to frame the debate agenda of public affairs. The paper does so by analyzing some of the communicational elements of the morning conferences, to show that the real message the President transmits is symbolic and is central to his popularity. We show that the framing of public debate has made it extremely mediatized and oversimplified.
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Civil society organizations in England have faced an increasingly turbulent policy context in recent years. This chapter situates this scenario in relation to the legacy of legal structures, shifting ideological currents and a rapidly evolving discursive environment, as governments have changed over the past two decades. Drawing on evidence from charities operating in social policy fields, it shows how a striking gap has opened up and widened between the supportive rhetorical claims emanating from governments and the reality of delivering services and supporting disadvantaged groups on the ground. An emphasis is placed on how funding inadequacies, shortfalls in volunteering capacity, and the emergence of an increasingly intolerant policy climate fueled by both government and parts of the media have placed severe limitations on the ability of these organizations to collectively reach their potential.KeywordsSocial policyThird sectorCivil societyVolunteeringFundingPolicy climate
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Scandals that hit political institutions and their actors are likely to contribute to lowering political trust. However, few studies examine the accuracy of such relationship at the local level. This article aims to contribute to the field by assessing the impact of local scandals on trust in local government and the mayor in the context of a federal state, Belgium. The research relies on an original dataset that includes a selection of municipalities that were hit by a scandal and of municipalities that were not in the running-up of the 2018 local elections. Our findings suggest the existence of a 'scandal effect' on voters' trust in local government and mayor. First, trust in local institutions appears significantly lower in municipalities that were hit by a scandal. Second, the effect of scandals at the individual level appears to be reinforced by voters' perception of trustworthiness of local politicians: scandals more significantly affect trust in local government among voters who evaluate negatively local politicians.
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Most countries that possess intelligence services have encountered intelligence scandals involving actual or alleged intelligence activities. This paper offers a definition of intelligence scandal and creates a new analytical model for assessing intelligence scandals. Application of the analytical model to six key intelligence scandals in North Macedonia shows that various intelligence and political actors can commit a wide range of transgressions in largely internal and external political contexts with very broad political and security impacts. The case also shows the competitive nature of the triggers of the scandals, various kinds of actors’ defences, and the scandals’ long duration.
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In this article, former Austrian vice-chancellor’s H.C. Strache’s resignation speech and its media coverage in Austria, Germany, and the German speaking part of Switzerland are investigated. Strache resigned after the publication of a secretly recorded meeting with an alleged Russian oligarch during which he (and his closest political collaborator) discussed illegal ways of party funding. The analysis shows that Strache applies justifications (presenting him as victim of a plot) as well as excuses (presenting his demeanor as the normal behavior of a drunken male) in his resignation speech. These seemingly contradictory framing strategies, however, are shown to fit both into the right-wing populist rhetoric repertoire. Analysis of the media coverage of the speech shows country specific differences although media in all three countries did not adopt Strache’s framing strategies. The article also discusses the merits of integrating different data sources and methods in contrastive socio-pragmatic research.
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In 2010, the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf became the protagonist in a massive media scandal. It all started off by the reportage book Carl XVI Gustaf: Den motvillige monarken [The Reluctant Monarch], which claimed that the king and his upper-class male friends for some decades had been throwing wild parties, involving criminals, and maybe also prostitutes, so-called “kaffeflickor” (coffee girls), at the time undoubtedly crossing the line for what was considered as acceptable political behavior.
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Previous research reveals that political scandals often have negative consequences for political candidates and may even result in resignation. However, politicians like Donald Trump frequently survive accusations of political misbehavior and intensive forms of scandalizing news coverage. Scholars have so far neglected to explain this phenomenon. We argue that the media environment and political polarization plays a key role in this context. In the present chapter, we discuss whether we are entering a post-scandal era and introduce a dwindling effects hypothesis which describes the decreasing likelihood that a politician’s norm transgressions develop into a political scandal in high-choice media environments and in times of high levels of political polarization. We additionally examine if certain types of scandal coverage that can actually increase polarized views among news consumers.
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The Italian Political System has been marked by several important corruption-mediated scandals. However, the journalistic coverage of corruption cases is not constant over time and, above all, does not provide a linear account of all phases of the investigation and the judicial proceedings. Through this study we propose an analysis of the so-called newspapers' “attention cycle”, namely an analysis of the amount of articles that the main Italian newspapers dedicate to a sample of Italian corruption cases. Our data will demonstrate that Italian newspapers produce a “parallel trial”, namely a limited and incomplete storytelling of the event, which focuses on the mechanisms of revelation and the initial phase of the scandal, but offers little coverage of the actual sentences of legal trials or of any consequences of the event.
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Corruption is one of the most serious challenges facing contemporary democracies. In this chapter, we will provide an overview of the concept, focusing on the “environment” that favors or limits its spread. Indeed, anti-corruption policies can only be effective if they find a fertile ground capable of receiving and implementing them. Our chapter will largely turn around the concept of public opinion, in particular on the role it plays in relation to corruption, because it has been largely demonstrated that an aware and receptive public opinion is the best tool to “fertilize” the ground to grow civic sense and respect for rules. For this reason, particular attention will be paid to the role of the media in presenting the phenomenon to the public opinion. Finally, we highlight some distortions in the mediated narration of the phenomenon that make the political system impervious to sanction mechanisms and that inhibit anti-corruption measures.
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Existing empirical research on voters’ responses to individual politicians’ moral transgressions pays limited attention to moral emotions, although moral emotions are an integral part of voters’ moral judgment. This study looks at U.S. voters’ discrete moral emotional responses to politician’s moral violations and examines how these discrete moral emotional responses are dependent on voters’ own moral principles and the extent to which they identify with a political party. We report on a 5 × 3 between-subjects experiment where 2026 U.S. respondents reacted to politicians’ violations of one of five moral foundations defined by Moral Foundations Theory. We randomly vary which moral foundation is violated and the partisanship of the politician. While voters’ own moral principles somewhat condition moral emotional responses, we find that voters’ moral emotional responses mostly depend on partisan identification. When voters share party identity with a politician committing a moral violation, they respond with less anger, contempt, disgust and shame than when they do not share party identity. The effect is greater among strong partisans. However, we find limited evidence that specific moral emotions are activated by violations of particular moral foundations, thereby challenging Moral Foundations Theory.
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Mit dieser literaturwissenschaftlich beheimaten Arbeit wird ein Beitrag zur Erschließung der Literaturgeschichte als eine Geschichte literarischer Skandale geleistet. Angesichts der nach wie vor festzustellenden Forschungslücken auf dem Gebiet der literaturwissenschaftlichen Skandalforschung muss sich für diesen Beitrag zunächst allgemein mit dem Phänomen (Literatur-)Skandal an sich beschäftigt werden. Entsprechend werden theoretische Grundlagen ausgelotet, begriffliche Klärungen vorgenommen und einige Ansätze skizziert, mit denen die angestrebten Erschließungen produktiver vorgenommen werden können. Dies erfolgt u. a. im Rückgriff auf skandalogische Forschungen in anderen Wissenschaften (wie etwa in Politik-, Sozial-, Kommunikations- und Religionswissenschaften) sowie durch Anwendung dieser Überlegungen auf das sogenannte literarische Feld. Es zeigt sich, dass konkrete (Literatur-)Skandale ohne eine Beachtung ihrer Umstände kaum hinreichend zu verstehen sind. Folglich erscheint es zweckmäßig, eine weitergehende Untersuchung auf eine bestimmte Zeit einzugrenzen. Hier wird der Fokus auf Kontexte, Skandalösitäten und Skandale in der Literatur in der Weimarer Republik gerichtet. Angestrebt wird, dass durch diesen Fokus weitere, über die bloße Theorie hinausgehende Aufschlüsse über Literaturskandale gewonnen werden können. Außerdem mögen dadurch die bisherigen Erkenntnisse zu den Jahren 1918 bis 1933 ergänzt werden. Beispielhaft vertieft werden die Ergebnisse zu Literaturskandal und zur Weimarer Republik durch Blicke auf zwei prominente Skandalfälle der besagten Zeit. Namentlich schauen wir auf die Skandale um erstens Arthur Schnitzlers Reigen als Theateraufführung in Berlin (1920/21) und um zweitens Erich Maria Remarques Roman Im Westen nichts Neues (1928/29) sowie dessen Verfilmung All quiet on the Western Front (1929/30).
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Twenty-first-century politics have been defined by celebrity leaders such as Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder, and Barack Obama. How have ‘traditional’ politicians like ‘Mutti Merkel’, who embody the opposite of star status, still managed to compete with these celebrity politicians in an attention economy in which politicians continuously vie for media exposure? Scholarship on concepts such as ‘mediatisation’, ‘personalisation’, and ‘celebritisation’ explains the emergence of charismatic media personalities, but fails to explicate the success of ‘conventional’ politicians within systems of mediatised politics structured according to a celebrity logic. Based on an analysis of newspapers and both historical and contemporary political actors, this article argues that celebrity politics produced an antithesis, the ‘anticelebrity’. This political figure constitutes an ‘authentic’ alternative to the supposed mediatised ‘superficiality’ of celebrity politicians, but could not have the same appeal without the latter superficiality to contrast itself with. The text constructs an ideal type of the anticelebrity figure within different political and media systems, distinguishing between ‘reactionary anticelebrities’ and ‘natural anticelebrities’. By focussing on the anticelebrity concept, the article shows the photographic negative of the celebrity politician, which also enables us to see the contours of the notoriously blurred phenomenon of celebrity more distinctly.
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Recent criminological research has developed a processual model of scandal to analyse policing and criminal justice transgression and its attempted management. Through media analysis and in-depth interviews with police and non-police stakeholders, this chapter applies criminological theories of scandal to a case of police excessive force filmed at the 2013 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and uploaded to YouTube. The chapter renders scandal more complex than existing models, emphasizing outrage and surprise in cases of bystander social media-generated police scandals involving police excessive force, in conjunction with Mawby’s processual model. However, the chapter argues that despite the mobilizing force of outrage through social media, police capture of police complaints mechanisms, and political opportunism can normalize police transgression and blur lines of responsibility. Individual transgressions can be linked to a macro, ‘chronic’ scandal of police excessive force, diminishing scandal’s conceptual and practical purchase as a police accountability lever.
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How often are politicians confronted with public allegations of integrity violations? Which types of violations, government levels, and parties do these scandals involve? The Political Integrity Index developed in The Netherlands offers information about the number and types of political integrity scandals in the country since 2013. This article presents a brief overview of the relevant literature on integrity and corruption and on political scandals, with a summary of the conceptual framework and methodology used in our research, as well as some of the results. In the years 2013–2019, 355 political integrity scandals were documented, primarily at the local level of government (79%), involving almost all political parties but with the liberal–conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie [VVD]) most prominent (90 scandals), and containing all types of integrity violations, with as the most prominent type “misconduct in the private sphere” (30%). The topic of integrity scandals involving politicians is relevant but nearly absent in research on public integrity and corruption. This is a challenge and an invitation to researchers in other countries to do comparable research, which might result in a theoretically and practically useful international political integrity index. For that research, the framework of the Political Integrity Index seems useful.
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The standard account in whistleblowing research fixes the birth of the whistleblowing concept in the early 1970s. Surprisingly, there are no efforts to discuss why whistleblowing emerged as a distinct new action repertoire at this particular moment in time. Whistleblowing is a historical latecomer to an ethos of field transgression, which includes well-established forms of intervention such as watchdog journalism and political activism. Whistleblowing has strong affinities with these practices, but also holds its own unique place in ethics and democracy. We can only appreciate these qualities in full if we trace the historical origins of the concept. The article argues that the concept of whistleblowing crystallized at the intersection of a set of trends that picked up speed in the 1960s–1970s: individualization, changing perceptions of loyalty, declines in authority trust, new participation patterns, and a growing awareness of the dangers and complexities in human production and organization. This is not simply an exercise in disciplinary history. Whistleblowing is on the rise in these years, just as digitalization creates a whole new range of opportunities for disclosure. It takes an increasingly steady hand to isolate the distinct ethical-democratic contribution of whistleblowers within this complex reality. To achieve this, we need to be able to place whistleblowing on a broader sociological and historical map.
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For historians of empire, scandals provide a useful starting point for investigating how the operations of imperial power were contested and reworked in moments of crisis. Yet, existing scholarship on imperial scandal consists mostly of case-studies that do not always reflect on the larger trend of which they are a part. This review draws on six accounts of imperial scandals to produce a general picture of the characteristics and functions of scandals in the historiography of the nineteenth-century British empire. What this comparison suggests is that imperial scandals possessed distinctive stakes and seem, as a result, to have represented periodic ruptures in longer-term patterns of local silence and complicity. Scandals, if used cautiously, can therefore provide evidence to support ongoing discussions about the logic of colonial concealment. At the same time, scandals also remind us that publicity is not a simple cure-all. By including a wider range of actors and non-governmental sources, future studies of scandal might elucidate the political limits of transparency, as well as exploring how imperial subjects negotiated gendered and racialized access to public and political platforms.
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While a number of studies reveal that incumbent members of the House of Representatives are adversely affected by scandal, rarely do these studies analyze a scandal’s impact both on election outcomes and the decision to run for reelection. Studies of retirements in particular, moreover, rarely analyze separately the effects of private (i.e., sex and other moral scandals) and public (i.e., corruption and procedural) scandals or consider media coverage of the scandal. This research proposes that members of Congress involved in private and public scandals will be more likely to retire and win a smaller percentage of the vote than members not involved in a scandal, that private scandals will be more impactful than public scandals, and that the higher level of media coverage further harms an incumbent’s congressional career. Also explored is whether the consequences of sex and other scandals were greater for accused members in the 115th Congress than in past Congresses because of heighted awareness and attention to sexual assault in the workplace since the 2016 presidential election and subsequent #MeToo campaign. From data collected over 10 Congresses (106th–115th Congresses) and elections (2000 through 2018), the results show that incumbents who are involved in a sex scandal or other private scandal are substantially more likely to retire than members not involved in a scandal but that public scandals do not matter. In addition, both sex scandals and corruption scandals reduce the incumbent’s vote share in the general election but that sex scandals matter slightly more. Higher media coverage affects both the decision to retire and the share of the vote. There is no evidence of a more pronounced direct effect of sex scandals on retirement decisions in the 115th Congress and scandals more generally on the share of the vote in the 2018 elections.
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Der vorliegende Beitrag beleuchtet die Rolle von Bildern in der politischen Kommunikation aus unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln. Neben verschiedenen theoretischen Zugängen wird die generelle Relevanz der visuellen politischen Kommunikation verdeutlicht. Inhaltliche Aspekte sowie Wirkungen visueller Darstellungen politischer Akteure werden unter Rückgriff auf empirische Daten dargelegt, wobei drei Darstellungsebenen (formale, personengebundene, inhaltliche Ebene) unterschieden werden. Die Bedeutung jeder Darstellungsebene wird zudem aus der Perspektive politischer und medialer Akteure sowie der RezipientInnen aufgezeigt und anhand von Beispielen aus der politischen Skandalforschung vertieft.
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This chapter discusses the consequences of US President Donald Trump for our understanding of media and politics. It sets out by discussing the mediatisation of politics, highlighting the importance of political conditions and the development of celebrity politics. The chapter highlights the aftermath of the 2007 economic crash and the consequent rise of anti-government populism. In Trump’s exploitation of these anti-establishment sentiments, the chapter stresses the stigmatisation of specialist knowledge allied to developments in media affordances. The chapter also argues that Trump’s use of subjective discourses against expertise relates to developments around authenticity and sincerity. The chapter concludes that Trump’s media-centred politics amounts to a “pseudo-presidency”, which confounds orthodox forms of political accountability.
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Policymakers often engage in blame avoidance behaviour that affects the ways in which they structure their organisations, adopt policies and operating routines, and present their work to the public. The linguistic aspects of such behaviour have received relatively little academic attention. In this paper, I seek to advance blame avoidance scholarship by introducing to its analytical toolbox useful conceptual instruments from linguistically informed discourse studies. Based on a multidisciplinary literature review, I show how the discursive study of policy-related blame games is situated within the wider scholarship dealing with a variety of blame phenomena. I provide an inventory of the micro-level building blocks of blame games: discursive strategies of persuasion, and narratives of cause, failure, and scandal. I suggest that by treating government blame games as mediated ‘language games’, policy scholars can complement the analysis of various political variables traditionally discussed in policy literature with detailed understanding of the micro-politics of presentational blame avoidance.
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Der vorliegende Beitrag beleuchtet die Rolle von Bildern in der politischen Kommunikation aus unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln. Neben verschiedenen theoretischen Zugängen wird die generelle Relevanz der visuellen politischen Kommunikation verdeutlicht. Inhaltliche Aspekte sowie Wirkungen visueller Darstellungen politischer Akteure werden unter Rückgriff auf empirische Daten dargelegt, wobei drei Darstellungsebenen (formale, personengebundene, inhaltliche Ebene) unterschieden werden. Die Bedeutung jeder Darstellungsebene wird zudem aus der Perspektive politischer und medialer Akteure sowie der RezipientInnen aufgezeigt und anhand von Beispielen aus der politischen Skandalforschung vertieft.
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In general, politicians involved in scandals of various natures are punished by voters. Good-looking politicians, on the contrary, are rewarded by voters. Almost fifty years of empirical research has shown that ill-informed voters will use the physical attractiveness of candidates, as well as readily-available information on scandal allegations involving candidates running for office, as a heuristic shortcut to determine their voting behaviour. This article represents the first attempt to link the existing literature on the electoral effects of scandals with the existing literature of the electoral impact of candidate attractiveness. Using data on U.S. House of Representatives elections between 1972 and 2012, we find that candidate attractiveness mitigates the negative electoral effects of involvement in scandal; this implies that attractive politicians do get a “break” when involved in scandals. Of all type of scandals, we also find that candidate attractiveness has the largest moderating role if the incumbent is embroiled in a sex scandal.
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