Reporters and news anchors from the New York Times to Radio New Zealand this week interviewed Paul Apostolidis, Judge. T. Paul Chair of Political Science, for his perspective on politics and scandal in the wake of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s sudden fall from grace for his sexual indiscretion and possible legal violations.
Apostolidis and Juliet Williams, associate professor of women’s studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, are co-editors of “Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals.” (Duke University Press, 2004). The book looks at sex scandals as a basis for understanding core features of contemporary American politics, culture and citizenship.
“Public affairs — or sex scandals — involving prominent politicians are as revealing of American culture as they are of individual peccadillos,” the publisher notes on the book’s back cover. “Implicated in their unfolding are a broad range of institutions, trends, questions and struggles, including political parties, Hollywood, the Christian right … and the meaning of public life in the ‘society of the spectacle.’”
The New York Times was the first media outlet to seek out Apostolidis for his views on the broad issue of politics and scandal. Reporter N.R. Kleinfield quoted the Whitman politics professor in a March 11 story titled “Politics, and Scandal, as Usual.”
“There is a broader anxiety about what is private anymore,” Apostolidis said in the story. “It’s not that politicians are behaving more badly. We’re just learning about it more often.”
Asked why politicians continue to commit misdeeds knowing the potential ramifications of their actions, Apostolidis replied: “I don’t see why we would expect politicians to be more free of the psychological contradictions of other humans beings. People do self-destructive things that are not rational.”
Apostolidis also provided perspective for a San Francisco Chronicle news analysis titled “Why do political wives stand by their men?” by staff writer Joe Garofoli.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jill Rosen called on Apostolidis to address the same theme in her story, “Why do they stand?”
Radio New Zealand, which broadcasts over three nationwide networks, contacted Apostolidis soon after the Spitzer story broke. Kathryn Ryan’s wide-ranging, 11-minute interview featured Apostolidis exclusively in a cogent analysis of U.S. culture and privacy for the station’s “Nine to Noon” daily international news segment. He also had a six-minute interview with KCBS News in San Francisco.
Los Angeles Times reporter Stephanie Simon also interviewed Apostolidis for one of a series of stories about the Spitzer scandal, as did Sandro Contenta of the Toronto Star. The latter article appeared in Saturday's edition of the Star.
Apostolidis and Williams’ book was prominently featured in a story Wednesday on Fox News Network’s affiliate station in Los Angeles. Since news of the Spitzer scandal broke, “Public Affairs” has climbed in sales rank on Amazon.com from the range of 800,000 to 47,000 among all book titles.
To learn more about the book, visit Amazon.com.