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Controlling the MessageNew Media in American Political Campaigns$
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Victoria A. "Farrar-Myers and Justin S. Vaughn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479886357

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479886357.001.0001

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Sparking Debate

Sparking Debate

Campaigns, Social Media, and Political Incivility

(p.245) 12 Sparking Debate
Controlling the Message

Daniel J. Coffey

Michael Kohler

Douglas M. Granger

NYU Press

This chapter examines the effect of political campaigns on contemporary perceptions of mass incivility online. More specifically, it considers how presidential election campaigns influence the nature of citizens' political discussions about politics in social media. It first defines what civility is before discussing the opportunities and challenges provided by social media with respect to promotion of democracy and mass participation online. It then explores the effect of campaigns on civic discourse and on new forms of Internet-based political participation and suggests that the effects of citizens' exposure to campaign messages may spill over to their conversations and social civility in general. It also asks whether living in a battleground state, with intense exposure to advertising, canvassing, visits, and media attention, affects the level of political incivility in online comment forums. The chapter shows that campaign spillover accounts for the relative negativity of comment forum rhetoric.

Keywords:   political campaigns, presidential election, social media, democracy, civic discourse, political participation, campaign messages, social civility, political incivility, online forums

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