Aggressive Communication in Political Contexts

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Contribution to Book

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Arguments, Aggression, and Conflict: New Directions in Theory and Research



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One of the delightfully niggling snags you encounter when writing a chapter about politically aggressive communication, especially close to an election, is that new examples of antagonistic political ploys keep flooding in, demanding to unseat those that have already found their way into introductory paragraphs.To be sure, there is no shortage of political aggression. In 2008, for example, potential voters saw the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, ribbed on account of his age, his lack of computer literacy, his temper, his erratic behavior, and for the number of houses he owned (or did not know he owned).Meanwhile, his opponent, Barack Obama, was compared to celebrity tarts(Paris Hilton and Britney Spears), rumored to be a Muslim, accused of advocating sex education for kindergartners, palling around with domestic terrorists, attending a church with a radical anti-American minister, and insinuating thatSarah Palin, Alaska’s governor and McCainy’s running mate, was “a pig with lipstick.”

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