The Information Environment and Negativity

John G. Geer

in In Defense of Negativity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780226284989
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226285009 | DOI:
The Information Environment and Negativity

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This chapter serves two critical goals. First, it establishes a set of normative standards for assessing the quality of information in campaign appeals, standards that allow people to judge the relative informative potential of negative and positive appeals. Second, the chapter contends that there is an asymmetry between negative and positive appeals—that negative appeals are more likely to have documentation supporting them than positive appeals—and it provides considerable evidence to support this claim. This asymmetry, in turn, affects how candidates frame their attacks and self-promotional arguments, which produces a series of important and testable hypotheses about the differences between negative and positive campaign rhetoric.

Keywords: negativity; information environment; debate; advertising

Chapter.  9035 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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