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Television and Uncivil Political Discourse

Assessments of the tone of contemporary politics often focus on the words used by politicians, members of the media, and average citizens.  From this vantage, things cannot be worse than in the past.  Goodness, the things that were said about candidates and elected officials in the nineteenth century!  Comparison of this sort can be tricky, however, because the way messages are transmitted has changed.  Diana Mutz argues that images on television and the internet violate face-to-face norms for disagreement.  These acts draw greater attention, which means that uncivili conflicts are more likely to be diffused though the population.