The News Cycle and Volume of Coverage of Scandals/Crises and When They Fall Apart

The Washington Post “WonkBlog” today, took a look at “scandals” and how they are covered using research from political scientist Brendan Nyhan. While this is focused on how they look at scandals, it can be applied to most ‘crisis’ situations that we deal with.

This is demonstrated using the media coverage surrounding the “IRS Scandal” in targeting some groups for scrutiny based on political affiliation.  The point is that when scandals actually turn out to be much less than originally thought, the volume of coverage to communicate that is significantly less than there was in kicking off the scandal. See in the chart below how as evidence that contradicted the original narrative was introduced, it was covered much less widely than the original.


Image from Wash Post Wonk Blog


Conclusion:  Much more evidence to get your story out, and get it right up front.


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