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Department of Comparative Politics

NEW RESEARCH

- The person-focus of the media creates more political scandals

According to Professor Tor Midtbø of the Department of Comparative Politics, journalists have become more interested in the political game and what happens offstage, and this leads to more political scandals. Midtbø was recently interviewed by newspaper Mandag Morgen about a new Nordic research project on political scandals in which he is engaged.

Professor Tor Midtbø's 2007 book 'Skandaler i norsk politikk', published by Universitetsforlaget
Photo:
Hilmar L. Mjelde

- Threefold increase in the number of political scandals

Newspaper Mandag Morgen writes April 11th about a new Nordic research project on political scandals in which Professor Tor Midtbø of the Department of Comparative Politics collaborates with Nordic colleagues. Mandag Morgen reports that the number of political scandals has increased threefold since the 1980s, and that the increase is due not to politicians doing more wrong than earlier, but rather the increasingly person-focused media being more interested in the political game than policy issues. What happens offstage becomes as important as what happens onstage.

- The politicians share more with the journalists, since they want attention. Then it is not surprising that more scandals find their way to the media, Midtbø says to Mandag Morgen.

 

- Doesn’t affect the parties

Midtbø says to Mandag Morgen that political scandals do not really affect the parties’ support, although they can be detrimental to the affected politician’s career. There are only weak and short-term negative effects for the parties, which Midtbø also found in his 2007 book ‘Skandaler i norsk politikk’.

Midtbø notes that many of the “scandals” really are about insignificant matters, but stresses that scandals can also have positive effects for democracy, given that they are about serious policy issues.