For some, former cyclist Lance Armstrong is like an annoying stain you can’t get rid of, and for others, he is just a good story—the archetype of a modern scandal. For me, he is both, but mostly the latter. I still believe that the Armstrong story has something to tell us about the media’s uncritical desire for scandal.

The media have a penchant for scandal because it’s easy to angle: for or against, right or wrong, good or evil. Furthermore, the media has a proclivity for finding someone personally responsible. When a single person is highlighted, the journalist—and we, the readers or fans—need not worry so much about the context, the surrounding culture. Very conveniently, we can distance ourselves from the scandal.

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