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The Language of Defamation Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391329.001.0001

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Widow of a Murdered Man Sues a Local TV Station

Widow of a Murdered Man Sues a Local TV Station

(p.55) 4 Widow of a Murdered Man Sues a Local TV Station
The Language of Defamation Cases

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The widow of a murdered man was said by the police to be the “only suspect” in the murder, even though the police were unable or unwilling to bring charges against her. A local TV station and later, a national news program, aired the story, quoting the officer saying much the same things but adding, “the suspect killed the man.” The linguistic issues were whether the defamatory statements were presented as opinions or as facts, the effect of discourse framing, the failure of the media to request clarification of ambiguous statements of the officer, and the conveyed negative meanings of certain words used in the programs.

Keywords:   opinion, discourse framing, grammatical referencing, ambiguity, conveyed meaning

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