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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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A Religious Leader, the TV Media, and the FCC

A Religious Leader, the TV Media, and the FCC

(p.69) 5 A Religious Leader, the TV Media, and the FCC
The Language of Defamation Cases

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Although this case was a complaint by the religious group to the FCC for equal airtime to respond and was not tried as a defamation case, it had most of the same features. The group claimed that a national news program had serious accused it of many illegal things and therefore was defamatory. Linguistic analysis of the program demonstrated that the program made accusations, failed to provide specifics about these accusations, conveyed that the group had something to hide, implied that the group's resources were tainted, used ambiguous expressions that could frame the group very negatively, took quotations out of context, provided only partial visual evidence of documents that led the audience to have only a negative opinion of what was on them, and used certain words and expressions that were considered malicious.

Keywords:   accusation, conveyed meaning, ambiguity, malicious language

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