Unreported scandals: the power of personality and legal bluster

Townend, Judith (2019) Unreported scandals: the power of personality and legal bluster. In: Tumber, Howard and Waisbord, Silvio (eds.) The Routledge Companion to media and scandal. Routledge Media and Cultural Studies Companions . Routledge, New York, pp. 202-211. ISBN 9780815387596

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Legal factors do not alone explain why journalists and the media avoid the publication of particular facts concerning the dishonest, abusive and corrupt behaviour of high profile individuals. Their social and political relationships must also be considered: some of these individuals have been generous charitable donors and even described as ‘national treasures’. They have powerful charisma and extensive personal networks, which have secured them favourable column and screen space. These protagonists of scandal wield social power with the assistance of the British media, and this power helps protect them from being exposed. The sociology of media can be drawn upon to understand the way in which scandal is reported (or unreported), but theoretical explanations of newsgathering decisions have often overlooked the specific characteristics and relevance of the law and legal threats. What follows is a preliminary effort to identify common features in two UK case studies, which can help us understand the media’s role in reporting scandal more generally.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: media scandal, journalism, libel, privacy, chilling effect
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Depositing User: Judith Townend
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2019 09:23
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2020 01:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83298

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