Sense of outrage worse among rightwing politicians

February 13th, 2011 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) “Outrage talk” is common across the entire political spectrum but is worse among rightwing politicians, new research says.”Outrage talk” refers to bids to provoke anger, righteousness, fear or moral indignation, through overgeneralisations, sensationalism, misleading or patently inaccurate information, and partial truths about opponents.

Sarah Sobieraj, sociologist and assistant professor at the Tufts University and political science professor Jeffrey Berry scrutinised what they call “outrage talk” in leading radio talks, news analysis, political blogs and newspaper columns, according to a Tufts’ statement.

Their analysis of both ideologically right and liberal left revealed that outrage talk, often infused with hateful terminology and imagery, is pervasive, and not just an occasional emotional eruption, the journal Political Communication reports.

Unexpectedly, the Tufts researchers found that outrage language is now common among the nation’s leading newspaper columnists.

During a 10-week period in the spring of 2009, four researchers reviewed evening cable TV, national radio talk shows, ideological political blogs and mainstream newspaper columns for 13 variables, such as insulting language, name calling and misrepresentative exaggeration.

Almost nine out of 10 cases sampled, or 89.6 percent, contained at least one outrage incident. Hundred percent of TV episodes and 98.8 percent of radio talk programs contained outrage incidents, while 82.8 percent of blog posts incorporated outrage writing.

When it comes to inflammatory language, is one side really worse than the other? “Taken as a whole, liberal content is quite nasty in character. Conservatives, however, are even nastier,” the Tufts researchers found.

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