Cross-cultural mudslinging

15 Oct

Jim Horton has published a paper on ‘mudslinging‘ (PDF format) and he’s asking for comments.

It’s a good read based on recent US election campaigns, but I’ve been trying to interpret it in an international perspective. Here’s my take: there is a robustness about communications in anglo-saxon societies that few others can match, even though their English may be excellent.

The US tends to be even more robust than Britain, for reasons that Jim argues. Having thrown off a colonial authority, the fledgling nation took its liberties seriously. (There’s a case for saying that the UK media may be top dog in the muckraking stakes.)

We in Britain are now in turn learning lessons of directness and informality from the US. But it’s not easy to train students from Mediterranean countries or the Far East to turn their hands at anglo-saxon news writing. As for mudslinging, where do I begin?

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