Gotcha journalism focusing on the scandalous and sordid gets rough treatment from Don Henley, in this 1982 song. The line, “Is the head dead yet,” is thought to refer to the near assassination of President Ronald Reagan.
Since this song, the rise of the 24 hours news cycle has further “tabloidized” the news and changed the focus from lengthier policy analysis and discussion to being more about image and personalities.
“Dirty Laundry” is also a political term in the context of not airing it in public. Because it smells. Thus, politicians and political parties and governments should keep their internecine squabbles behind the proverbial “closed doors.”