Mud Slinging


[called Ad Hominem in Philosophy – Latin for against the person] Information manipulators often resort to insulting opponents.

Example - See www.junkscience.com/, The Junk Science Home Page… created by a hireling of the tobacco industry, it uses “school-yard taunts and accusations of “mindless anti-chemical hysteria, [it] routinely attacks the world’s most prestigious scientific journals” (Rampton & Stauber, 249). He accuses them of “using unsound science to advance various political agendas” (Rampton & Stauber, 249).

Example - “”Junk science” is the term that corporate defenders apply to any research, no matter how rigorous, that justifies regulations to protect the environment and public health” (Rampton & Stauber, 223). [and hurts corporate profits]

A VARIATION of ad hominem is to paint the enemy as not human. It makes it easy to mistreat them, take advantage of them, declare war on them, kill them… used by all governments when gathering support for a war.

Example quote: "Ann Coulter, "the blond leading the blind"... assertions such as "there is only one thing wrong with liberals: they're no good."" (McWilliams, James. "Machinations". Book review of Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth, by Joe Conason. The Texas Observer, 9/26/03, 18).

Another example: "Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Senator who gave Vietnam the old stiff arm with a "football injury," defeated Max Cleland, who lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam, by questioning his loyalty to America" (McWilliams, James. "Machinations". Book review of Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth, by Joe Conason. The Texas Observer, 9/26/03, 19)


"Congresswoman McKinney.. cited our [BBC and Guardian stories about Bush protecting the Saudis] on the floor of Congress, calling for an investigation... She was labeled a traitor, a freak, a conspiracy nut and "a looney" -- the latter by her state's Democratic Senator, who led the mob in the political lynching of the uppity Black woman... She.. suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known in advance about the September 11 attacks but had done nothing so his supporters could make money in war... Dan Rather had warned her, shut up.. She didn't and it cost her her seat in Congress.

"McKinney's electoral corpse in the road silenced politicians [and] the media" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 105-106).


Another example of mudslinging is A Guide to the Political Left a right-wing site for bashing left-wing scholars and teachers.


Colby Glass, MLIS