Is the media's excessive interest in personal scandal really at the root of the superficiality and viciousness of today's politics? I'm not convinced. Yes, tabloid-style coverage is a problem, but I see much bigger factors at play
Photos of women's unclothed body parts drive traffic and readership. It doesn't matter whether it's an ex-girlfriend's bare boobs on a revenge porn site or an Emmy award-winning actress caught off guard on the Red Carpet. Every woman is fair game.
Murdoch's name is now synonymous with a perversion of the journalistic ideal, an incarnation of the profession obsessed with information at any cost and unfettered by the constraints of law, propriety and a commitment to discovering the truth legitimately.
When there is publicity associated with a criminal prosecution, the ability for jurors, judges, and prosecutors and yes, sometimes even defense lawyers, to presume innocence becomes even more circumscribed.
The Obamas won't be the last book to corral a legion of unnamed alleged inside sources to spin their personal grudges and wounded slights into a juicy tangle of rumor, gossip, and exaggerations to sell a book.
There are plenty of things that make Tabloid newsworthy -- sex, Mormons, kidnapping, cloning -- but it was by total chance that Errol Morris' documentary opened in theaters just as the tabloid-worthy "British hacking scandal" was descending.
Tabloid tells the true story of Joyce McKinney, a former small town beauty queen with an IQ of 168 whose obsessive love for a Mormon missionary caused a tabloid scandal that took Britain by storm in late 1977 and '78.