In the rumor bomb I argued that American politics, and increasingly global politics, is marked by PR-driven games of scandalous accusation. Unlike the Nazi's "big lies" repeated incessantly until believed by many, these statements are of an ambiguous factual status; their veracity is in question. They are often not even policy-related, as is the case with rumors of adulterous affairs, though claims of weapons of mass destruction relate directly to consent for war policy. These strategies are to preoccupy publics by branding opponents negatively and oneself positively, in order to produce consent for or diversion from current political agendas. These PR strategies cater to contemporary tabloidized news market values. Their effects are catastrophic for media diffused public debate and democratic forms of public deliberation. This paper illustrates this theory by analyzing the seemingly ludicrous claim that John Kerry was "French-looking" or "seems French" in the 2004 American presidential election.
This one is under review at a journal. For a draft, email me:firstname.lastname@example.org