Political scandals have become a very common phenomenon in recent years. They excite public attention, and form headlines in mass media. The very important characteristic of political scandal is that they artificially form a political agenda and divert public attention away from real problems. It is hard to ignore political scandals, especially now in the age of informative technology. Social network is able to deliver and exaggerate any rumor to tremendous sizes. Most of political scandals end in resignation of public officials, as they carry a shade of crime. American political history is full of political scandals. The most well-known are, of course, Watergate and Iran-Contra Scandal. Especially after Watergate scandal most of the political scandals are given endings of “-gate”, such as the most recent “Bridgegate” over the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Political scandals occur worldwide. Already within 2 months of this year, we have witnessed various political scandals that differ in aim and reasons. Scandals are centered on wiretapping, espionage, coups, and secret affairs of statesmen and are very divergent in nature. Corruption scandal in Turkey, affairs of President of France Francois Hollande with actress and unrest in Ukraine—all of these are the examples of the most sensational news.
One of the recent scandals took place in Germany. This political scandal is known as “Edathy scandal” from the headlines. Criminal proceedings were instituted against the parliamentarian Sebastian Edathy, who is suspected as an accomplice of a child pornography investigation. This information was leaked by Minister of Agriculture Hans-Peter Friedrich. Revealing such kind of information is forbidden by the government and is considered as the breach of law. Despite the words of Friedrich that his actions were guided by legislative norms, he was obliged to resign from his post. He officially announced his resignation on 14th of February.
Another political scandal has influence over relations between USA, Russia, Ukraine and many other countries. This scandal is connected to the leakage of the telephone conversation of the USA diplomat for Europe Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Ukraine. In the video posted on YouTube website, the discussion went through regime change in Ukraine and who is appropriate candidate for Ukraine according to USA. This wiretapping was controversial in its sense. However, Nuland was attacked with critique at that point when the conversation went on mediation efforts of European Union towards managing the crisis in Ukraine. By referring to the European Union with a swear word, she provoked the outrage of many European government officials.
Political scandals arise when there are no precise boundaries between government secret data and public information. Here arises the question of the legitimacy of democratic government. Undoubtedly, democracy advocates establishment of an open, transparent state, however, does it get better when people become aware of what they should not know? People begin to doubt the government and blame for bad governance, because political scandals damage people’s credibility towards the government.
Carol J. Williams . "Russians gloat over U.S. diplomacy scandal, deny bugging Nuland's call." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. <http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-russia-ukraine-victoria-nuland-eu-diplomacy-scandal-20140207,0,6452625.story#axzz2u8T7wdOs>
Deutsche Welle, Germany. "German Agriculture Minister Friedrich offers potential resignation amid Edathy scandal." Deutsche Welle. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. <http://www.dw.de/german-agriculture-minister-friedrich-offers-potential-resignation-amid-edathy-scandal/a-17430631>.
Euronews. "German minister quits over alleged leak of confidential information on porn probe." RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. <http://www.euronews.com/2014/02/14/german-minister-quits-over-alleged-leak-of-confidential-information-on-porn-/>.
Faiola, Anthony. "Germans displeased by Victoria Nuland gaffe." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/germans-not-amused-by-nuland-gaffe/2014/02/07/66885a02-900d-11e3-878e-d76656564a01_story.html>.