Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Presidential Scandals, Coverage of
Maurine H. Beasley
Every American President has been subjected to some form of scandalous comment, either about his personal life or political activities, spread by whispering campaigns and, frequently, by the news media. Some scandalous charges have been relatively unimportant and are easily traced to venomous attacks by political opponents. For example, historians today totally discount charges made by opposition newspapers that George Washington (1789–97) wished to be a monarch and behaved like one. Other scandals have changed the course of American history. The degree to which the news media reports on presidential scandals has differed with changes in social mores, media technology, and ideas of what is appropriate for discussion in a public forum. Major scandals marked by allegations of disgraceful conduct have emerged in both Democratic and Republican administrations. The Watergate scandal of the 1970s led to the resignation of Republican Richard M. Nixon (1969–74). Lying about his dalliance with a ...