The line dividing public life and private behavior in American politics is more blurred than ever. When it comes to questions about sex, substance abuse, and family life, anything goes on the political desk in many newsrooms, including uncorroborated hearsay disguised as news. Peepshow looks behind the scenes at news coverage of political scandals ...
The line dividing public life and private behavior in American politics is more blurred than ever. When it comes to questions about sex, substance abuse, and family life, anything goes on the political desk in many newsrooms, including uncorroborated hearsay disguised as news. Peepshow looks behind the scenes at news coverage of political scandals, analyzing what gets reported, what doesn't, and why. The authors talk with top news editors to get a fix on what will make the evening news and what we're likely to read about in the next campaign season.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-03-20 Here, joining forces with news editor Stencel and media analyst Lichter, Sabato (University of Virginia) revisits questions he originally raised in his 1991 book Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics. In that text, he proposed that a politician's private life should be subject to public scrutiny only in limited circumstances, such as when it comes to health and use of public funds--not regarding internal family matters and past sexual activity. In this latest analysis of the relationship between the media and electoral politics, the authors attempt to make sense of the state of the media and several recent political contretemps, and show how the guidelines laid out in Feeding Frenzy are less and less applied. Today's accelerated news cycles, they suggest, contribute to the escalation of reporting with weaker standards of proof (they also assert that candidates who campaign on popular television shows--think Leno and Letterman-- cheapen political discourse). The authors flesh out their arguments with case studies: press coverage of Georgia attorney general Michael Bowers's adultery, they argue, was legitimate (if overemphatic), since he admitted publicly to the infidelity and supported state laws criminalizing adultery; reporters' accusations that New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani committed adultery, on the other hand, were questionable, since there was no evidence. Even with these salutary standards, the authors acknowledge that gray areas remain; deciding what constitutes hypocrisy, they note, can be highly subjective. Still, treading carefully through complex terrain, Stencel, Lichter and Sabato manage to illuminate workable guidelines for navigating the line between public and private. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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