The Scamgate Connection

As the Reagan Administration copes with its burgeoning scandal, pundits are + facing a minor but nonetheless sticky problem of their own: what to call it. Ever since Watergate, the suffix -gate has been used to label virtually any hint of governmental wrongdoing (from the Koreagate bribery scandal to Lancegate, the flap over President Carter's former Budget Director). News of secret U.S. arms shipments to Iran was initially dubbed, unsurprisingly, Irangate. But as the scandal has broadened, the nicknames have multiplied: Armsgate, Contragate, Budgate (for McFarlane), Northgate (for Oliver).

Everyone's second favorite suffix, -scam, as in Abscam, has also had a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!