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A scandal can be broadly defined as an accusation or accusations that receive wide exposure. Generally there is a negative effect on the credibility of the person or organisation involved. Society is scandalised when it is made aware of blatant breaches of moral norms or legal requirements. In contemporary times, exposure is often made by mass media. Such breaches have typically erupted from greed, lust or the abuse of power. Scandals may be regarded as political, sexual, moral, literary or artistic but often spread from one realm into another. The basis of a scandal may be factual or false, or a combination of both.Contemporary media has the capacity to spread knowledge of a scandal further than in previous centuries and public interest has encouraged many cases of confected scandals relating to well-known people as well as genuine scandals relating to politics and business. Some scandals are revealed by whistleblowers who discover wrongdoing within organizations or groups, such as Deep Throat (William Mark Felt) during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s in the United States. Whistleblowers may be protected by laws which are used to obtain information of misdeeds and acts detrimental to their establishments. However, the possibility of scandal has always created a tension between society's efforts to reveal wrong doing and its desire to cover them up.

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