100 books like Media Scandals

By James Lull (editor), Stephen Hinerman (editor),

Here are 100 books that Media Scandals fans have personally recommended if you like Media Scandals. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of On Scandal: Moral Disturbances in Society, Politics, and Art

Igor Prusa Author Of Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual

From my list on scandal and why it matters.

Who am I?

I'm a Czech scholar in Japanese studies and media studies who became spontaneously interested in the way media scandals unfold in Japan. For ten years, I was studying Japanese scandals at The University of Tokyo (Ph.D. 2017), and I developed a new approach to Japanese scandal as a highly mediatized social ritual that tends to preserve the status quo while generating commercial profit. After my return from Japan, I continued my scandal research at the Czech Academy of Sciences, and I'm currently teaching media & communication theory at Ambis University Prague. In 2023, Routledge finally published the results of my decade-long research in my new book titled Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual.

Igor's book list on scandal and why it matters

Igor Prusa Why did Igor love this book?

I discovered this book more than ten years ago, when I was still a stressed PhD student in Tokyo, and reading the book gave me some great relief.

The book was the first to show me that scandals can indeed reveal a lot about the society that produces them. Further, it taught me how to approach scandal as “moral disturbance” (the author’s term), and it updated my knowledge on the role of scandals in the art world (Oscar Wilde).

I love the book because it provides great insights into how the social structure defines individual agency, and what happens when structure and agency clash in a form of scandal.

Despite dealing with somewhat difficult concepts, the book is easy to read and has a clear, compelling, and engaging narrative. Highly recommended!   

By Ari Adut,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Scandal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scandal is the quintessential public event. Here is the first general and comprehensive analysis of this ubiquitous moral phenomenon. Taking up wide-ranging cases in society, politics, and art, Ari Adut shows when wrong-doings generate scandals and when they do not. He focuses on the emotional and cognitive experience of scandals and the relationships among those who are involved in or exposed to them. This perspective explains variations in the effects, frequency, elicited reactions, outcomes, and strategic uses of scandals. On Scandal offers provocative accounts of the Oscar Wilde, Watergate, and Lewinsky affairs. Adut also employs the lens of scandal to…


Book cover of Political Scandal: Power and Visability in the Media Age

Igor Prusa Author Of Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual

From my list on scandal and why it matters.

Who am I?

I'm a Czech scholar in Japanese studies and media studies who became spontaneously interested in the way media scandals unfold in Japan. For ten years, I was studying Japanese scandals at The University of Tokyo (Ph.D. 2017), and I developed a new approach to Japanese scandal as a highly mediatized social ritual that tends to preserve the status quo while generating commercial profit. After my return from Japan, I continued my scandal research at the Czech Academy of Sciences, and I'm currently teaching media & communication theory at Ambis University Prague. In 2023, Routledge finally published the results of my decade-long research in my new book titled Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual.

Igor's book list on scandal and why it matters

Igor Prusa Why did Igor love this book?

The author of this book, John B. Thompson, is one of my favorites.

I love his 1995 masterpiece Media and Modernity which offers a general social theory of the media. In 1997, Thompson published a chapter on the social theory of scandal, and finally in 2000, he published the book I am now recommending here.

What I love about Political Scandal is that the book is both incisive and disturbing, and that the author succeeds in showing us how scandal unlocks essential secrets about power and politics today. This book is a very useful source for the students in media, political, and critical discourse analysis.    

By John B. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Political Scandal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Political scandals have become a pervasive feature of many societies today. From Profumo to the cash-for-questions scandal, from Watergate to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, scandals have come to play a central role in politics and in the shaping of public debate. What are the characteristics of political scandals and why have they come to assume such prominence today? What are the social and political consequences of the preoccupation with political scandal in the public domain?

In this major new book Thompson develops a systematic and wide-ranging analysis of the phenomenon of political scandal. He shows that the rise of political scandal…


Book cover of The Routledge Companion to Media and Scandal

Igor Prusa Author Of Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual

From my list on scandal and why it matters.

Who am I?

I'm a Czech scholar in Japanese studies and media studies who became spontaneously interested in the way media scandals unfold in Japan. For ten years, I was studying Japanese scandals at The University of Tokyo (Ph.D. 2017), and I developed a new approach to Japanese scandal as a highly mediatized social ritual that tends to preserve the status quo while generating commercial profit. After my return from Japan, I continued my scandal research at the Czech Academy of Sciences, and I'm currently teaching media & communication theory at Ambis University Prague. In 2023, Routledge finally published the results of my decade-long research in my new book titled Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual.

Igor's book list on scandal and why it matters

Igor Prusa Why did Igor love this book?

I strongly recommend this book to all those scholars and students who aim to take “scandalogy” seriously. I discovered this book just when I was finishing my own book on Japanese scandals, and it helped me overcome all my doubts and uncertainties about scandal research.

There are 50 chapters in this edited volume, and they constitute pretty much the best you can find in the scandalogy discourse today. I found this book particularly useful and enlightening because the chapters cover practically every single detail related to the topic of scandal, and they are written in a very accessible way by prominent scholars from various fields beyond scandalogy.   

By Howard Tumber (editor), Silvio Waisbord (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Routledge Companion to Media and Scandal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Howard Tumber is Professor in the Department of Journalism at City, University of London, UK. He is a founder and co-editor of Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism. He has published widely in the field of the sociology of media and journalism.

Silvio Waisbord is Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, USA. He was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication, and he has published widely about news, politics and social change.


Book cover of Media Scandals

Igor Prusa Author Of Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual

From my list on scandal and why it matters.

Who am I?

I'm a Czech scholar in Japanese studies and media studies who became spontaneously interested in the way media scandals unfold in Japan. For ten years, I was studying Japanese scandals at The University of Tokyo (Ph.D. 2017), and I developed a new approach to Japanese scandal as a highly mediatized social ritual that tends to preserve the status quo while generating commercial profit. After my return from Japan, I continued my scandal research at the Czech Academy of Sciences, and I'm currently teaching media & communication theory at Ambis University Prague. In 2023, Routledge finally published the results of my decade-long research in my new book titled Scandal in Japan: Transgression, Performance and Ritual.

Igor's book list on scandal and why it matters

Igor Prusa Why did Igor love this book?

I believe that this book is a nice starting point for students (starting with undergraduates) who are interested in learning more about media scandal via particular examples.

I was attracted by the book because it focuses on some of the most influential and notorious media scandals in history. What I found particularly useful for my research was the detailed timeline that helped me to put the wide-ranging scandals into historical perspective.

This is why I personally recommend this book to anyone interested in the social phenomenon of media scandal.      

By Alan Bisbort,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Media Scandals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This fascinating volume offers an overview of the most influential and notorious media scandals, from newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger's groundbreaking 1735 trial for printing and publishing false, scandalous, malicious and seditious statements to Dr. Phil McGraw's 2008 thwarted attempt to force his television cameras inside Britney Spears' hospital room, from the attempts to ban literature by the likes of D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Henry Miller, and Allen Ginsberg to the excesses of gossip mongers like Walter Winchell, Hedda Hopper, Geraldo Rivera, and Matt Drudge. It delves into the tabloid press and walks through the minefields of political opinion shapers,…


Book cover of The Age of American Unreason

Joel Stein Author Of In Defense of Elitism: Why I'm Better Than You and You Are Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy This Book

From my list on saving democracy from populism.

Who am I?

I started worrying about populism in 2008, when vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin chastised the elitists, whom she defined as “people who think they’re better than anyone else.” Meanwhile, she thought she was so much better than anyone else that she could serve as backup leader of the world despite the fact that she believed that the political leader of the United Kingdom is the queen. After she lost she vowed, “I’m never going to pretend like I know more than the next person. I’m not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I’m going to fight the elitist.” She was unaware that there is a third option: to study so that you know more than the next person. 

Joel's book list on saving democracy from populism

Joel Stein Why did Joel love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered if people today are dumber than people in the past, you should watch Idiocracy. And then read this book. It shows how we’ve devolved into people who look at lists of the best five books and never actually read those books. In 2008, for a column for the L.A. Times, I had her take a quiz from the author of the book How Dumb Are You?: The Great American Stupidity Quiz and she got two wrong. I got 11 wrong. The point is: Read her book instead of mine.

By Susan Jacoby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Age of American Unreason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreasonfocuses on the convergence of social forces—usually treated as separate entities—that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of “junk thought” that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.


Book cover of The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls

Philip Graves Author Of Consumer.ology: The Truth about Consumers and the Psychology of Shopping

From my list on understanding consumers and your consumer self.

Who am I?

Having studied statistics in the 1980s and realised that forecasting energy reserves wasn’t for me, I stumbled into a career in market research. A chance reading of a book on psychoanalysis opened my eyes to how little we all understand ourselves and I started to look for better ways to identify how consumers think. After developing techniques from psychoanalysis and behavioural science I started my own consultancy firm in 2005. Over the last seventeen years I’ve been lucky enough to advise some of the world’s biggest brands, make regular appearances in the media discussing consumer affairs and, with my book Consumer.ology, to upset some of the biggest market research companies.

Philip's book list on understanding consumers and your consumer self

Philip Graves Why did Philip love this book?

Early in my career I was responsible for running the UK brand tracking and customer experience studies of a global brand. I was constantly battling to reconcile what the research told me with what the real data from the business showed was actually going on. This book, written by someone who was a senior editor at the Gallup market research company for years, helped me appreciate some of the reasons that survey results are inaccurate. It also reveals how opinion polls can be used to distort elections and manipulate people – scary stuff.

By David W. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Opinion Makers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a new afterword by the author

Drawing on over a decade's experience at the Gallup Poll and a distinguished academic career in survey research, David W. Moore—praised as a "scholarly crusader" by the New York Times—reveals that pollsters don't report public opinion, they manufacture it. In this highly critical book, he describes the questionable tactics pollsters use to create poll-driven news stories-including force-feeding respondents, slanting the wording of questions, and ignoring public ignorance on even the most arcane issues. More than proof that the numbers do lie, The Opinion Makers clearly and convincingly spells out how urgent it is…


Book cover of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Jean Kilbourne Author Of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

From my list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture.

Who am I?

In 1968, I saw an ad that changed my life. It was typical—insulting to women, demeaning. Yet, at that moment, it somehow crystallized so many of my experiencesthe sexist slights, the terrible jobs, the sexual harassment, the catcalls, the objectification. I thought, “This is atrocious … and it is not trivial.” I started collecting ads and lecturing on the topic.  I made my first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women” in 1979 (and have remade it three times since). Eventually I wrote and made films about alcohol and tobacco advertising. In 2015, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jean's book list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture

Jean Kilbourne Why did Jean love this book?

This is one of the most brilliant and important books I have ever read!

Way ahead of his time, Postman described the increasing and detrimental role of entertainment in every aspect of American life. His predictions have been realized beyond his wildest nightmares. 

Although not a book about advertising, it helped me understand that advertising has been a key player in the trivialization of American culture and the corruption of the way we think. I had the privilege of knowing Neil, which certainly added to my appreciation of his genius.

By Neil Postman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Amusing Ourselves to Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

"It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell…


Book cover of Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell

Howard Sounes Author Of This Woman: Myra Hindley’s Prison Love Affair and Escape Attempt

From my list on biographies to put you in the mind of a criminal.

Who am I?

The author of biographies, histories, and true crime books, Howard Sounes is best-known for Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, now in an updated edition; Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life; and Fred & Rose, the bestselling story of married English serial killers Fred and Rose West. Other books include Amy, 27, Seventies, Heist, and biographies of Paul McCartney and Lou Reed.

Howard's book list on biographies to put you in the mind of a criminal

Howard Sounes Why did Howard love this book?

The best true crime books are similar to any good biography, in that they are crafted, powerfully-researched lives of unusual people. With true crime, the life of the subject usually goes awry, however, by degrees from childhood, culminating in disaster, which affects others. Crime takes different forms. This gripping book charts the downfall of the brilliant but unscrupulous media baron Robert Maxwell, ending in his mysterious death in 1991. Had he lived, he may well have gone to jail, like his daughter, Ghislaine. Author John Peston has an eye for grotesques and a nice sense of humour. 

By John Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the UK’s 2022 Costa Prize for Biography

“A portrait of one of the most enigmatic figures in the annals of white-collar crime. . . . A well-researched, compelling book that uncovers many mysteries about a media tycoon.”—Kirkus Reviews

From the acclaimed author of A Very English Scandal, a thrilling and dramatic true-life account of the rise and fall of one of the most notorious media moguls of all time: Robert Maxwell.

In February 1991, Robert Maxwell triumphantly sailed into Manhattan harbor on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, to buy the ailing New York Daily News. Taxi drivers stopped…


Book cover of Myth, Media, and the Southern Mind

John Shelton Reed Author Of Mixing It Up: A South-Watcher's Miscellany

From my list on on the South that you’ve probably never heard of.

Who am I?

I’ve written a couple of books about other subjects, but most of my professional life has been devoted to writing, speaking, and teaching about the South. I’ve been doing it ever since I went north to college and graduate school in the 1960s. My early books and articles were written as a sociologist, mostly for other sociologists, but in the 1970s I started writing what I learned to call “familiar essays” for a more general readership, and lately I’ve been writing about Southern foodways—three books about barbecue (so far), one of them a cookbook. I’ve also written several country songs (only one of them recorded).

John's book list on on the South that you’ve probably never heard of

John Shelton Reed Why did John love this book?

Smith, professor of communications at the University of Arkansas, examines the stories that Southerners have told about themselves—the “myths” of the South. The Old South/Lost Cause/New South myths “controlled Southern culture and Southern rhetoric for one hundred fifty years,” he argues, but by the mid-twentieth century, the strain between myth and reality finally became too great and “a period of mythic confusion,” ensued. By the 1970s, however, Southern artists, scholars, journalists, politicians, and preachers—both Black and white—had forged a new myth, based on the themes of distinctiveness, racial civility, and community. When Smith wrote, he was confident that there will always be some myth of the South, that it won’t become a mere quadrant of the U.S. with a "dysfunctional amythic culture." We shall see.

Book cover of The War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War Against Nazi Germany

Richard Fine Author Of The Price of Truth: The Journalist Who Defied Military Censors to Report the Fall of Nazi Germany

From my list on American war reporting.

Who am I?

I’ve been curious about how reporters covered D-Day, and their interactions with the army, for more than thirty years, and my research into media-military relations, begun in earnest fifteen years ago has led to more than a dozen archives in several countries. Most accounts suggest that the press and the military fully cooperated during World War II, but documentary evidence reveals a far more nuanced story, with far more conflict between officials and the press than is supposed. After publishing work about the campaign in French North Africa, and a book about Ed Kennedy’s scoop of the German surrender, I’m now back where I started, working on a book about press coverage of D-Day.

Richard's book list on American war reporting

Richard Fine Why did Richard love this book?

This is a book I wish I had written, far and away the best book about coverage of the Second World War in Europe. 

It is based on a wealth of archival research and features both celebrated reporters like Ernie Pyle and Edward R. Murrow, and less well-known ones like Homer Bigart and Don Whitehead. Although award-winning scholarship, Casey’s work is accessible to any curious reader. Casey is English but understands well the American military, the American press, and American culture generally.

Casey explores the war in the Pacific theater in a subsequent book, The War Beat, Pacific: The American Media at War Against Japan.

By Steven Casey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War Beat, Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the North African desert to the bloody stalemate in Italy, from the London blitz to the D-Day beaches, a group of highly courageous and extremely talented American journalists reported the war against Nazi Germany for a grateful audience. Based on a wealth of previously untapped primary sources, War Beat, Europe provides the first comprehensive account of what these reporters witnessed, what they were allowed to publish, and how their reports shaped the
home front's perception of some of the most pivotal battles in American history.

In a dramatic and fast-paced narrative, Steven Casey takes readers from the inner councils…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mass media, morality, and pop culture?

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