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The Scandal Machine

From backstage to front page, criminologist Chris Greer traces the evolution of the scandal machine, revealing how scandals have changed - and how they might be changing us.

From backstage to front page, from printing press to digital age, criminologist Chris Greer traces the evolution of the scandal machine, revealing how scandals have changed - and how they might be changing us.

He's joined by a cast of scurrilous scandal mongers, investigative journalists and Westminster insiders, each with their own experiences of the inner workings of the scandal machine. Among them, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, author and former parliamentary insider Michael Dobbs, screenwriter Amanda Coe and writer, broadcaster and former MP, Matthew Parris.

Social media has pushed the scandal machine into overdrive. Each day brings a deluge of fresh allegations against celebrities, politicians and institutions. But what exactly is a scandal and how did we get to this point?

Scandals are, in essence, morality tales. They bring the powerful to their knees, destroy reputations and end careers. Fear of being named and shamed in a front-page scandal is a powerful check on behaviour. But the shape and nature of scandal, and the way it is reported, is changing. Where scandals once mainly focused on the misconduct of individuals, today entire institutions are more commonly in the spotlight.

From Profumo to Weinstein and beyond, Chris Greer uses the archive to create a soundtrack of scandal.

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

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58 minutes

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