Each episode of ABC’s political drama Scandal typically contains a news media element, whether it’s a reporter digging for a juicy scoop or a politician trying to spin a story. The second-season kicked off late last week with a media subplot that played out the way former Rep. Anthony Weiner wished his own scandal might have.
To catch you up to speed, Scandal centers on Olivia Pope, a professional fixer of problems for high-profile figures in Washington. She’s also sleeping with the President, but that doesn’t matter right now.
In Thursday’s episode Pope and her firm are hired by a handsome Democratic Delaware senator who finds out his congressional office was bugged with a hidden camera. The senator fesses up to having had sex with a woman in his office. Pope discovers that a conservative blog is readying itself to share the video online and fails to have it blocked by court order. Instead, the senator is instructed to use the media feeding frenzy to dismiss the video and address policy issues, such as the high number of uninsured Americans. The strategy works and the senator’s profile is raised in the public eye.
It almost goes without saying that this would never happen. Here’s how it would happen: An average-looking congressman would send a shirtless photo of him flexing his bicep to a woman he met on Craigslist. When the photos were made public, the congressman would deny it before shamefully admitting it and resign after everyone calls him gross and he’s mocked on the Daily Show.