Evaluating Character Attacks

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:
Evaluating Character Attacks

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This chapter assesses the merits of personal attacks, arguing that personal attacks are not excessive in presidential campaigns and showing that they are not on the rise. So, despite all the common assumptions that modern campaigns are increasingly fueled by harsh personal criticism, the evidence simply does not support such a view. Even so, about a quarter of all attacks involve some reference to the traits of presidential candidates. The question becomes, then: Are these attacks inflammatory or do they deal with reasonable concerns that any informed voter should think about? It appears that these attacks are defensible and are usually not a subject of concern.

Keywords: negative advertising; paid commercial; presidential campaigns; personal attacks

Chapter.  8201 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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