“From this virus puddle…”
This paper studies the media scandal about the water quality of Lake Balaton in June 2014. After the Hungarian Swimming Day in Balatonfüred, several participating athletes fell ill, including nationally known swimmers. The Hungarian media began to cover the incident vigorously, with several news reports on the diseases and the water quality of Lake Balaton. The research presented here analyses the debate in the media and the emerging social discourse. It identifies four modes of speech, including: lay and expert discourse on water quality and disease; the media policy discourse of local politicians, tourism actors and commenting readers; and the lay discourse on the tourism implications of the scandal.
Médiakutató Autumn-Winter 2021 pp. 151-158
Smear vs. scandal: What is the difference?
Smear is often mistaken for scandal, as the two indeed share a number of similarities. Both expose alleged transgressions of social and legal norms, both are made public by the media, and both may harm one’s reputation. Smear, however, is widely seen as a malicious practice, while scandal—or, more precisely, political scandal—is generally accepted as a legitimate and necessary instance of democratic journalism. How can one tell smear from scandal, if at all? This paper attempts to delineate and to distinguish these two concepts. It argues that the former practice is an instance of lapdog journalism, whereas the latter is one of watchdog journalism.
Médiakutató Summer 2022 pp. 7-13