Can Sensationalism Save Democracy?

The Case for Reporting on More Scandals, Worrying Less about Page Views, and Fighting Audience Apathy at Every Turn

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Earlier this year, Stephen Colbert triumphantly declared “the first real scandal” of the Obama administration after CNN reported that veterans had died while waiting for care in the Phoenix Veterans Affairs system. In a classic Colbert satire, he then ran through a laundry list of White House scandals: “I know I’ve cried wolf before, what with Benghazi and the IRS, and the AP and Fast and Furious and Solyndra and Obama’s uncle and Obama’s aunt and Obama’s birth certificate … . But this one is different. It’s backed up by …

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