(OCT 23) Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson all had affairs before, during, or after their presidencies. Their extramarital relationships were common knowledge among the journalists who covered them–but they were never exposed by the press. Over the past 25 years, however, sex scandals have become kryptonite to elected officials and catnip for the media. How did politicians’ private lives become public, and how did politics become fodder for the tabloids? In 1987, Gary Hart was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president when rumors broke of his infidelity, along with a photo of a 29-year-old model perched on his lap. Did Hart’s political disgrace–which coincided with the rise of the 24-hour news cycle–mark a more profound shift in American politics? And are we worse off for our contemporary emphasis on the character of our politicians? Yahoo! News national political columnist Matt Bai, author of All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid, visits Zócalo to discuss the American media’s obsession with sex, and how it’s changed our democracy.
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