A new paper in the journal Political Psychology by Beth Miller argues that scandal coverage isn't purely soft or negative, but can actually lead people to learn more about policy-related developments. This argument, if the findings are replicated in further studies, would significantly change the way we think about scandal coverage.
Up to now we've assumed that scandal coverage is a distraction from real news events such as policy changes and international events. Perhaps, however, learning more about any news helps people by giving them the tools to encounter further information about the world around them. That may be a benefit we haven't yet fully explored.
(h/t Monkey Cage)