This article compares the two main cases of deceitful negative campaigning that characterized the American Presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008. These are, respectively, the attacks led by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against the military career and the subsequent pacifist turn of John Kerry; and the smear, initially spread around the Web, that claimed that Barack Obama was Muslim. This research describes the origins, developments, and outcomes of the two smear campaigns, focusing on the differences and similarities between them in terms of their content and their communication strategies. It then investigates the role played by the different media platforms, the importance of a prompt answer by the recipients of the accusations, and the response of public opinion. Finally, the comparison of the cases allows pointing out some conditions for the success or failure of mudslinging in contemporary American political communication.

The Power of Smears in Two American Presidential Campaigns

VACCARI, CRISTIAN;
2014

Abstract

This article compares the two main cases of deceitful negative campaigning that characterized the American Presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008. These are, respectively, the attacks led by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against the military career and the subsequent pacifist turn of John Kerry; and the smear, initially spread around the Web, that claimed that Barack Obama was Muslim. This research describes the origins, developments, and outcomes of the two smear campaigns, focusing on the differences and similarities between them in terms of their content and their communication strategies. It then investigates the role played by the different media platforms, the importance of a prompt answer by the recipients of the accusations, and the response of public opinion. Finally, the comparison of the cases allows pointing out some conditions for the success or failure of mudslinging in contemporary American political communication.
2014
C. Vaccari; M. Morini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/112407
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