The Tonya Harding controversy: An analysis of image restoration strategies

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Memorial University of Newfoundland] On: 31 July 2014, At: 20:18 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Communication Quarterly Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcqu20 The Tonya Harding controversy: An analysis of image restoration strategies William L. Benoit a & Robert S. Hanczor b a Associate Professor in the Department of Communication , University of Missouri , Columbia, MO, 65211 b Doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication , University of Missouri , Columbia, MO, 65211 Published online: 21 May 2009. To cite this article: William L. Benoit & Robert S. Hanczor (1994) The Tonya Harding controversy: An analysis of image restoration strategies, Communication Quarterly, 42:4, 416-433, DOI: 10.1080/01463379409369947 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01463379409369947 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the âContentâ) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/ page/terms-and-conditions http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcqu20 http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/01463379409369947 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01463379409369947 http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions
  • The Tonya Harding Controversy: An Analysis of Image Restoration Strategies William L. Benoit and Robert S. Hanczor This essay critically analyzes Tonya Harding's defense of her image in Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung, applying the theory of image restoration discourse (Benoit, 1994). The principle strategies employed on her behalf are bolstering, denial, and attacking her accuser (defeasibility plays a relatively minor role). While these strategies are generally appropriate, they were not developed very effectively in this instance. The discourse portrayed Harding in a fashion that was inconsistent with the audience's probable impression of her. Her lie about when she first learned of the attack severely undermined her credibility, and the discourse did not remedy this obstacle. Several others contradicted her assertions, and she did not challenge apparently incriminating evidence. Accordingly, we evaluate this as ineffective, and public opinion polls confirm our judgment. Finally, we discuss implications of our analysis. KEY CONCEPTS Tonya Harding, Eye-To Eye with Connie Chung, Nancy Kerrigan, image restoration, Olympic skaters WILLIAM L. BENOIT (Ph.D., Wayne State University, 1979) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. ROBERT S. HANCZOR is a doctoral candidate in the same department. Communication scholars have displayed a keen interest in sports generally, and sportsand the media particularly. A variety of studies have been conducted into therelationship between communication and sports (see, e.g., Brummett & Duncan, 1990; Bryant, Brown, Comisky, & Zillmann, 1982; Bryant, Comisky, & Zillmann, 1977; Gantz, 1981; Hocking, 1982; McDermott, Hocking, Johnson, & Atkin, 1989; Parente, 1977; Prisuta, 1979; Reid & Soley, 1979; Trujillo & Ekdom, 1985; Wanta & Leggett, 1988). However, relatively little work has been conducted on image restoration discourse (apolo- gia) by sports figures. Kruse (1981) examined the occurrence of apologia in team sport, concluding that apologia of sports figures "do not differ strategically from the character defenses offered by those in the sociopolitical wor ld" (p. 280). She identified bolstering (attempts to offset negative feelings by portraying oneself in a favorable light) and expressions of regret or remorse as recurrent features of the relatively brief image restoration discourses of sports figures. After disclosure of Billie Jean King's affair with her former secretary, Nelson (1984) analyzed defensive discourses by King and her husband, her peers, and the media. King used bolstering and differentiation (she may have been a lesbian in the past, but she was not an active lesbian). Both her peers and the media tended to use bolstering and transcen- dence (arguing that her privacy is a more important issue than her sexual practices). Thus, scholars have shown an interest in communication and sports generally, and only 416 Communication Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 4, Fall 1994, Pages 416-433 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • modest interest in apologia by sports figures specificallyâdespite multiple opportunities for such work (e.g., the "Black Sox" scandal, Mike Tyson's conviction for rape, Pete Rose's gambling on baseball, Michael Jordan's huge losses betting on golf). Nevertheless, sports figures, when engaged in defensive rhetoric, do dominate the news. As such, their rhetoric provides a venue for image restoration that is deserving of close analysis. Understanding rhetoric's functionâwhat works and what doesn'tâmay be gained from a close analysis of celebrity discourse as well as from political discourse. Thus, this study examines Tonya Harding's image restoration efforts following the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. The 1994 Winter Olympic Games were indelibly marked by the tumultuous contro- versy over the possible involvement of American figure skater Tonya Harding in the attack on her teammate and rival, Nancy Kerrigan. This story, which dominated the discourse surrounding the Olympic Games, continued to surface in the popular press and in made-for-television dramas long after the Olympics were over.1 Harding has emerged as one of the most notorious figures in America today. On February 10, 1994, Harding presented her side of the story on Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung. This particular controversy merits scholarly attention for several reasons. First, the fact that the Olympic Games are a cultural spectacle guarantees enormous public exposure. Katz (1980) characterized the Olympics as a media spectacle, a "high holiday" in television broadcasting. Farrell's (1989) description of the Olympic Games as a "social drama" suggested how public emotion can be stoked by the media to raise ratings. Rothenbuhler (1988) developed a "celebration" hypothesis, in which viewers see the Games as a holiday or celebration where they attend to the schedules and rituals of the Games, watch the events with groups of close friends and family, and share in the Olympic ideology of sportsmanship, self-sacrifice, and competition. Rothenbuhler (1989) also described how the Olympics became a "civil religion" that enables spectators to overcome their inherent cynicism of most televised sports and approach the Games with reverence. Riggs, Eastman, and Golobic (1993) argued that resolution of the political conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union has forced the media to contrive new and unnecessary conflicts to perpetuate the social drama of the Olympics. During the 1994 Winter Olympics, the media shamelessly exploited the suspicions that Tonya Harding was involved in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan to fuel conflict and interest in the Games. A Gallup poll on January 26 found that 73% had seen or heard a great deal about "the controversy surrounding Tonya Hardingâthe Olympic figure skater whose ex-husband was arrested for attacking another figure skater," and 20% had seen or heard some about it. Only 2% said that they knew nothing about it.2 This is hardly surprising, because in addition to the many newspaper articles on the topic, Harding's possible role in the attack was the topic of 16 stories on the major television networks news programs in the second half of January.3 The February 10 episode of Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung was widely watched, garnering a 17.4 rating and a 28% share, the highest rated show in its time slot ("Ratings Week," 1994, p. 31). This controversy buoyed the ratings of the Olympics: "Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan combined with the gold medals of Tommy Moe, Bonnie Blair, and Dan Jansen to produce the highest-rated Olympics in the history of U.S. television" ('"94 Winter Games," 1994, p. 1B). Thus, the possible involvement of Tonya Harding in the attack on Nancy Kerriganâinteresting in itself but hyped by the mediaâwas in the forefront of the American consciousness. A second reason for studying this controversy is that it is possibly the first and certainly the most prominent example of a sports figure accused of involvement in the deliberate injury of a rival. Athletes have been disqualified before, as Eye-to-Eye pointed outâand Harding was threatened with disqualification ("Harding Suffers Setback," 1994)âfor use of Tonya Harding's Image 417 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • drugs or felonious actions. Never before, however, has an Olympic athlete been suspected of attempting to injure a teammate. Such action, if it occurred, jeopardizes American (and Olympic) ideology concerning sportsmanship and fair play in competition. Consequently, this controversy is significant because it disturbed the social order and violated the ideals of sport. A final reason for critically analyzing Harding's self-defensive discourse is to add to our knowledge of this pervasive persuasive phenomenon. Investigations of political image restoration discourse are fairly common (see, e.g., Benoit, 1982, 1988, 1994; Benoit, Gullifor, & Panici, 1991; Brummett, 1981; Cold, 1978; Harrell, Ware, & Linkugel, 1975; Heisey, 1988; Rosenfield, 1968; Vartabedian, 1985a, 1985b). Research has recently begun to examine corporate image repair efforts (see, e.g., Benoit, 1994; Benoit & Brinson, 1994; Benoit & Lindsey, 1987; Dionisopoulos & Vibbert, 1988; Foss, 1984; Sellnow, 1993). Apart from occasional work in other areas such as scientists (Holloway, 1988), religious figures (Burke, 1988), or legal battles (Lessl, 1988), relatively little effort has been made to see if our understanding of self-defense discourse is useful beyond these realms. Therefore, we investigate Harding's self-defensive discourse amid the controversy following the attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. This essay critically analyses Tonya Harding's image restoration discourse broadcast during her interview on the network television show Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung. First, the literature on image restoration discourse will be reviewed. Then the method used in this study will be described. Next, the allegations made against Tonya Harding will be sketched to provide a background for understanding and evaluating her defense. This will be followed by an analysis of Harding's image repair efforts. Her defense will be evaluated and, finally, implications of this analysis will be discussed. Image Restoration Discourse A common form of rhetoric is designed to restore image, face, or reputation after alleged or suspected wrong-doing. By "image" we mean the perceptions of the source held by the audience, shaped by the words and deeds of that source, as well as by the actions of other relevant actors. Brown and Levinson (1978) observe that "people can be expected to defend their faces if threatened" (p. 66). Goffman (1967) explains that "When a face has been threatened, face-work must be done" (p. 27). Similarly, Schlenker (1981) writes that predicaments "can damage his or her identity . . . adversely affecting relationships with the audience" (p. 131). Therefore, when our image is threatened, we experience motivation to offer explanations, defenses, justifications, rationalizations, apologies, or excuses for our behavior. These utterances are an important form of persuasive discourse, image repair rhetoric. Various approaches have been devised for understanding verbal self-defense, some developed in the discipline of rhetoric and some in sociology. The works of Burke (1970), Ware and Linkugel (1973), and Scott and Lyman (1968) lay out several verbal image restoration strategies, but each of these theories includes options neglected by the others. Benoit (1994) sets forth a typology that is based on this early work, but goes beyond specific orientations, such as Ware and Linkugel (1973) to provide a more comprehensive theory (for a more complete discussion with several applications, see Benoit 1994; Benoit & Brinson, 1994; Benoit, Gullifor, & Panici, 1991). Image repair strategies are organized into five broad categories, three of which have variants or subcategories: denial, evading responsibility, reducing offensiveness, corrective action, and mortification. 418 Benoit and Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • Denial One option for restoring a tarnished image is to simply deny performing the wrongful act, as Ware and Linkugel (1973) suggested. Goffman (1971) observed that the accused may either deny the act occurred or deny that the accused committed it (see also Schonbach, 1980; Schlenker, 1980; Semin & Manstead, 1983; Tedeschi & Reiss, 1981). Whether the accused denies that the offensive act actually occurred or denies that he or she performed it, either option, if accepted by the audience, should absolve the rhetor of culpability. Therefore, one possibility for responding to persuasive attack is simply to deny the offensive act. A second option is to shift the blame. Burke (1970) discussed victimage or shifting the blame (see also Schonbach, 1980). This option may well be preferable to simple denial, though. First, it provides a target for negative feelings the audience may have. Second, it answers an important question that may occur to auditors upon hearing a simple denial: "Well if you didn't do it, who did?" So, another variant of denial generally is shifting the blame. Evasion of Responsibility Rhetors who cannot (or do not wish to) deny performing the offensive act may be able to repair their image by evading or reducing their apparent responsibility for it. Four variants of this general strategy exist. Scott and Lyman's (1968) version of scapegoatingâwhich we rename provocationâsuggested that the rhetor may claim that the wrongful act was a response to another offensive act, and argues that the rhetor's act can be seen as a reasonable reaction to that provocation. Here, the provocateur may be held responsible instead of the actor, helping to restore the rhetor's image. Schonbach (1980) and Semin and Manstead (1983) also discussed provocation as an option. A second variant of evading responsibility is defeasibility (Scott & Lyman, 1968). Here, the rhetor claims a lack of information about or control over important elements in the situation. Other writers (Schonbach, 1980; Semin & Manstead, 1983; Tedeschi & Reiss, 1981) identify a number of variants of defeasibility, in which the rhetor attempts to claim that lack of information, volition, or ability means that he or she should not be held completely responsible for the offensive act. This claim, if accepted, should reduce the perceived responsibility of the accused for the offensive act and help restore the tarnished image. A third possibility is to claim the wrongful act occurred as an accident (Scott & Lyman, 1968; Semin & Manstead, 1983; Tedeschi & Reiss, 1981). We tend to believe that others are responsible only for factors that are reasonably under their control. If the accused can persuade the audience that the failure event occurred accidentally, this should lessen his or her apparent responsibility and ameliorate the damage to his or her reputation. Fourth, the accused can suggest that the offensive action was done with good intentions (discussed by Ware & Linkugel, 1973, as a part of denial). In this option the audience is asked to relieve the actor of some responsibility for the act because it was done with good intentions. People who do bad while trying to do good are usually not held as accountable as much as those who intend to do bad. Reduction of Offensiveness Rather than deny or reduce responsibility for a wrongful act, a rhetor who is accused of misbehavior may attempt to reduce the perceived offensiveness of that act. This general Tonya Harding's Image 419 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • image repair strategy has six variants: bolstering, minimization, differentiation, transcen- dence, attacking one's accuser, and compensation. Each one will be briefly explained here. First, bolstering (Ware & Linkugel, 1973) attempts to strengthen the audience's positive affect for the rhetor, hoping to offset the negative feelings associated with the wrongful act. People accused of wrong-doing could describe positive characteristics they possess or positive actions they have taken in the past. While the amount of negative affect from the accusation remains the same in this variant, increasing positive feeling toward the actor may help offset those negative feelings, creating a net improvement in the rhetor's reputation. A second possibility is to minimize the negative feelings evoked by the wrongful act. If the audience comes to believe that the act is not as bad as it first appeared, the amount of ill feeling associated with that act is reduced, and the damage to the rhetor's reputation should similarly abate. Sykes and Matza (1957), Scott and Lyman (1968), Schonbach (1980), Schlenker (1980), Tedeschi & Reiss (1981), and Semin and Manstead (1983) all discuss denial or minimization of injury and/or victim. Third, one can engage in differentiation (Ware & Linkugel, 1973). Here the rhetor distinguishes the act he or she performed from other similar but more offensive actions. In comparison, the act in question may seem less offensive, reducing the audience's negative feelings toward the actor. Transcendence is a fourth option for reducing offensiveness (Ware & Linkugel, 1973). It functions by placing the act in a different, and more favorable context. Ware and Linkugel specifically discuss placing the action in a broader context, but it can also be useful to simply suggest a different frame of reference. For example, a person accused of wrong-doing might direct the audience's attention to other, allegedly higher values, to justify the behavior in question (Schlenker, 1980; Schonbach, 1980; Scott & Lyman, 1968; Semin & Manstead, 1983; Sykes & Matza, 1957; Tedeschi & Reiss, 1981). A positive context may lessen the perceived offensiveness of the act and thereby improve the accused's reputation. Fifth, those accused of wrong-doing sometimes attack their accusers (see Rosenfield, 1968; Schonbach, 1980; Scott & Lyman, 1968; Semin & Manstead, 1983; Sykes & Matza, 1957; Tedeschi & Reiss, 1981). If the credibility of the source of allegations can be damaged, the damage to the rhetor's image may be reduced. Compensation is the sixth strategy for reducing the offensiveness of an action (Schon- bach, 1980). Here the rhetor offers to reimburse the victim to help nullify the ill feeling arising from the offensive act. This redress can be valued goods or services as well as monetary reimbursement. If the inducement is acceptable, the negative affect from the wrongful act should be eliminated, restoring the rhetor's reputation. Corrective Action In this image repair strategy, the rhetor promises to correct the problem. Such corrective action may take the form of restoring the state of affairs existing before the objectionable action or promising to take action to prevent the recurrence of the offensive act or both. Goffman (1971) mentions this as a component of an apology. However, rhetors may take corrective action without confessing or apologizing, as Tylenol did when it introduced tamper-resistant containers for their product after the poisonings (Benoit & Lindsey, 1987). Willingness to correct and/or prevent recurrence of the problem is likely to improve the rhetor's reputation (this differs from compensation in that corrective action offers to correct/prevent the problem, while compensation seeks to pay for it). 420 Benoit and Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • Mortification As Burke (1970, 1973) recognizes, another option for those accused of wrong-doing is to confess to committing the wrongful act and to beg for forgiveness, which he labels mortification. If we believe the apology is sincere, we may choose to pardon the wrongful act. Schonbach (1980) also discusses concessions, in which one may admit guilt and express regret. It may be wise to couple this strategy with plans to correct (or prevent recurrence of) the problem, but these strategies can occur independently. Thus, the rhetor who desires to restore an image through discourse has five basic options: denial, evasion of responsibility, reducing offensiveness, correction, and mortifica- tion. Several of these basic strategies have variants. These strategies for restoring sullied reputations are summarized in Table 1. TABLE 1 Image Restoration Strategies Denial Simple Shift Blame Evade Responsibility Provocation Defeasibility/Biological Accident Good Intentions Reduce Offensiveness of Event Bolstering Minimization Attacking One's Accuser Differentiation Transcendence Compensation Corrective Action Mortification The Allegations Against Tonya Harding On January 6,1994, Nancy Kerrigan was practicing at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan. A man struck her just above her right knee on the leg she uses to land from jumps. Frank Carroll, Michelle Kwan's coach, had just pointed out Kwan and Kerrigan to a stranger, and Carroll said that "the next thing I heard was Nancy screaming, screaming, screaming" (Adler, 1994, p. 19). The world was shocked as the meaning of this event began to sink in: someone had "tried to fix the Olympics" (Adler, p. 19). It took a while for the conspiracy to begin to unravel. However, as Adler explained, "The person who stood to benefit from the attack, obviously, was her longstanding rival" Tonya Harding. She was "23 and this year would almost certainly be her last shot at her lifelong dream of an Olympic gold medal" (Adler, p. 19). The United States was only allocated two slots in 1994 because it had not done well at the 1993 world championships. Thus, it may have appeared that Harding had a motive for participating in the attack. As the drama unfolded, allegations began to surface in the press linking Harding to the attack. In an interview published on January 20, Shawn EckardtâTonya Harding's body- guardânot only implicated Harding in the plot but declared that she complained about the delay. According to Eckardt, Harding said "You know, you need to stop screwing around with this and get it done" ("Guard," 1994, p. 12A). Four days later, Jeff Cillooly, Harding's ex-husband, reportedly "told investigators that he could serve her [Harding] up on a silver Tonya Harding's Image 421 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • platter" ("Harding's Ex-husband," 1994, p. 4A). On January 30, Cillooly's brother, John, reported that Jeff "implicated his former wife, Tonya Harding, in the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan only after the FBI proved to him that Harding had double-crossed him in an alibi pact" ("Harding Broke Pact," 1994, p. 10A). Thus, not only was Harding alleged to be a conspirator, but a double-crosser as well. On February 1, Jeff Gillooly's attorney joined in the attack on Harding: "The truth is, Tonya was in on it from the beginning. . . . That's what Jeff has said, and I believe that to be the truth" ("Lawyer," 1994, p. 1 A). Thus, accusations throughout the end of January and into February accused Harding of participating in the attack. There also appeared to be some physical evidence corroborating Harding's involve- ment in the plot. Although Kerrigan was actually attacked at Cobo Arena, it was revealed that "investigators in Detroit reportedly have information that Harding asked for Kerrigan's hotel room number before the attack and made several calls to her bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt, the day of the assault" ("Harding Broke Pact," 1994, p. 10A). On February 3, we learned that some paper scraps found in the trash at a restaurant had been turned over to the FBI including an envelope addressed to Gillooly and notepaper with "Tony Kent Arena, Cape Cod," written on it. Gillooly said that Harding had called the Tony Kent Arena to learn Kerrigan's practice schedule ("Paper Scrap," 1994, p. 6A). Thus, there seemed to be physical evidence in support of the accusations against Harding. Thus, at the time of her televised interview with Connie Chung, it appeared that Harding had a motive for attacking Kerrigan. Those implicated in the attackâincluding her bodyguard and ex-husbandâaccused her of being a co-conspirator. Finally, tangible evidence appeared to link her to the planning of the attack. Given the shocking nature of the allegationsâone Olympic athlete possibly involved in an attack on anotherâHarding's image was clearly at risk. Harding's Image Repair Efforts on Eye-to-Eye With Connie Chung As indicated earlier, Tonya Harding's image restoration efforts in Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung5 were widely watched. Our analysis reveals that she employed three primary image restoration strategies: bolstering, denial, and attacking her accuser. Defeasibility also appeared in one passage. Her use of these strategies in the interview will be described in this section.6 Bolstering Harding's interview with Connie Chung bolsters her reputation in five ways. First, she reports that her ex-husband and her mother had verbally and physically abused her, and that she had had a hard time growing up. Second, she describes her long, hard work on behalf of her dream: to compete at the Olympics. Third, she expresses concern for Nancy Kerrigan and sorrow over the attack. Fourth, Harding embraces the ideals share by many in her audience: to have children and make a better life for them. Finally, Harding promises to contribute to the Special Olympics. Each of these attempts to place Harding in a favorable light will be described briefly. Connie Chung reported that "Over the years Tonya has filed police reports charging Jeff with abuse and harassment but she later retracted her complaints." She then asked how Tonya could think that staying with Jeff was "the right thing to do if he was beating you and abusing you?" She replied "1 thought I must have been doing something wrong, and so I'd try even harder to be good, you know, to be nice . . . ask permission to go places, ask permission to spend money." Harding also alleged that her mother had been both verbally 422 Benoit and Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • and physically abusive to her. Later, she reported that her "life was not easy growing up," and she explained that she and her parents had collected bottles and cans to pay for skating expenses. Harding revealed that she had had few friends and moved frequently: "1 never got to sleep the night at anybody's house. You know, go to slumber parties or dances or anything." When asked what she would do if she was not allowed to compete at the Olympics, Harding replied, "I don't know. Cry." In fact, Harding explained that even at her age she wanted new parents, and that her friend "Stephanie's parents are gonna adopt me soon." These statements, if accepted, may have earned Harding some sympathy from the audience, encouraging them to bolster her image. Chung asked Harding whether she had "tried hard enough to express to Nancy Kerrigan how you feel about this incident?" Harding replied that "I feel really sorry. I really do. I even wrote her a small letter and I don't know if she received it or not. But I tried to say I'm sorry that this all happened." If accepted by the audience, these statements portray Harding as concerned about Kerrigan's well-being, helping to bolster Harding's image. When asked why she wanted to skate at the Olympics, Harding replied that "I've worked twenty years for it. I mean, it's my dream and I think I deserved it. I mean I went to nationals and I . . . I won." Later, she repeated both that it was her lifelong dream and that she had worked twenty years for it. Her determination to work hard and succeed shows in her continued work ethic: "I just go out and do the best that I can. Do the best that anyone expects me to do." Working long and hard for one's dreams is an American ideal, and therefore these statements function to portray Harding in a favorable light. During the latter half of the program, Harding revealed her dreams for after the Olympics. "You know, I just want to have a good life for myself, and maybe someday a family. I just want to not have to worry. I don't want it to be the same when I was growing up for my children." This not only reminds the audience of Harding's difficult childhood, but strikes a chord that many share: the desire to have children and to secure a better life for them. At the end of the report, Chung reported that "Harding. . . intends to use some of the money she receives from her current notoriety to set up a trust for Special Olympics children." This is obviously a worthy cause, and this statement suggests that Harding is not greedy and wants to help needy children. Thus, this program attempted to bolster Harding's reputation in five ways. First, it argued that she had endured a hard life, seeking sympathy. Second, Harding discussed her long and hard work to realize her Olympic dream. Third, Harding expressed sorrow for Nancy Kerrigan. Fourth, she mentioned her long term dream of having children. Finally, it was revealed that she planned to use part of her earnings to help the Special Olympics. Denial Harding's defensive strategy repeatedly denied wrongdoing. She rejected accusations by Gillooly and Eckardt. She reiterated the claim that she had not violated the Olympic code of conduct. Furthermore, she asserted that she had no prior knowledge of the attack. Each of these instances of denial will be described in this section. First, she specifically denied allegations by her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly and Shawn Eckardt: "What Jeff and Shawn say is not true. Anybody who knows me knows it's not true." This latter statement seems to be an attempt to suggest, without actually providing, corroborating testimony for her denial. Chung reported that "You said in your statement I have done nothing to violate the standards of excellence and sportsmanship that are expected in an Olympic athlete." Tonya Harding's Image 423 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • Harding responded that "I said what I believe . . . what I believe to be true," agreeing with Chung's quote. This is clearly another instance of denial. However, the exact nature of Harding's denial had shifted from her initial stance. Chung observed that "What may keep Tonya Harding off the ice are her own words after the attack. Then a video-tape of an earlier statement by Harding is played: "I didn't do anything wrong, and neither did anybody else. I don't know anything. I don't know for sure anything about what's going on, at all." This is clearly a blanket denial of wrong-doing. Chung then observed that these were "words she later contradicted with her own damaging admission." Again, a video tape of another, later, statement by Harding is played: "On Nancy Kerrigan. I am responsible, however, for failing . . . for failing to report things I learned about the assault when I returned home from nationals." Chung then asked Harding, "Did you have prior knowledge of the planned attack on Nancy Kerrigan?" Again, the skater used denial: "No, I did not. . . . Absolutely not." Thus, Harding specifically rejected accusations by Cillooly and Eckardt. She reaffirmed her statement that she had not violated the Olympic code of conduct. While she no longer flatly denied all knowledge of wrong-doing, she still maintained that she was unaware of the attack before it happened and that she had not helped plan it. Attacking Her Accuser Harding's principal accuser was Jeff Cillooly, her ex-husband. In four separate places, he was explicitly or implicitly made to look bad. This could have the effect of undermining his charges against Harding, thus helping to restore her image. First, when Harding denied accusations against her, she stated that Gillooly and Eckardt were lying. "What Jeff and Shawn say is not true. Anybody who knows me knows it's not true." Accusing them of falsehood puts her accusers in an unfavorable light. Second, when Chung described the hardships Harding had endured, these included alleged abuse from Jeff Cillooly. In addition to attempting to reinforce Harding's image (discussed above as a form of bolstering), that information tended to attack Gillooly. Should we believe the accusations of someone who abused his wife? Indeed, if it is true that Cillooly tried to hurt Harding before, perhaps his accusations in the Kerrigan attack are simply another attempt to hurt her, rather than the truth. Third, early in the program, Harding said: "I just want to know why. I never did anythingto hurt him. If I ever did anything it was to stick up for him and protect him. And he does this to me." This was said with tears in Harding's eyes. If these statements are accepted, Gillooly's image suffers. If his reputation is damaged, his accusations against Harding may be discounted. Finally, Chung asked why Harding didn't "go to the authorities immediately?" Harding responded that she "was scared" and afraid of "being hurt" presumably by Gillooly and possibly others. Again, these statements tend to place Gillooly in an unfavorable light, possibly lessening the impact of his allegations. Thus, Harding's statements attacked her accusers in four places. First, she charged Gillooly and Eckardt with lying. Second, she reported alleged abuse by her ex-husband. Third, she claimed he treated her unfairly despite the fact that she was always good to him. Fourth, she reported that she was afraid some person or persons (and the audience probably would think of Gillooly here) would hurt her if she reported what she learned after the attack. If she can make the audience dislike and not trust her accusers, the accusations may be undermined. 424 Benoit and Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • Defeasibility As mentioned previously in the discussion of denial, Chung pointed out that Harding had lied when first asked about knowledge of the attack. She asked Harding "Why didn't you go to the authorities immediately?" Harding offered two excuses to justify her inaction. First, she suggested that "Everything just happened so fast." In other words, she claimed that she felt that events were out of her control. Second, as discussed in attacking her accusers, she reported that she wasn't forthcoming because "I was scared" of "being hurt." Both of these excuses suggest that events were out of her control, that she couldn't act freely, and as such are instances of defeasibility. Evaluation of Harding's Image Restoration Attempts This section will return to the strategies identified in our analysis of Harding's defensive discourse, and develop arguments to support our evaluation. We make no attempt to answer the question of whether she was telling the truth about her innocenceâher plea bargain probably means that the truth will never be known ("Harding's plea," 1994)â although we will consider whether she probably appeared to be telling the truth to the audience. Furthermore, it is important to acknowledge that Harding has much fewer resources for presenting her side than the media has to report the accusations against her. First, we consider whether the three image restoration strategies Harding relied upon were well chosen. Then we evaluate how effectively she developed these three strategies in her defense. Next, we consider whether she could have developed her image repair effort in other ways that might have been more effective. Finally, we examine public opinion poll data on Harding to see if it is consistent with our evaluation. These three strategiesâbolstering, denial, and attacking one's accuserâare clearly appropriate. Those accused of committing heinous acts may help their reputations through denial (assuming, of course, that they are innocent). Similarly, showing oneself to be a good person (bolstering) may counterbalance any residual negative feeling, and it could also reinforce one's denial (a good person isn't likely to do bad things). Attacking one's accuser(s) may lessen the effectiveness of the accusations, thereby helping to restore one's good reputation. Defeasibility makes the claim that events beyond one's control are actually responsible for offensive actions, and is a plausible way to avoid blame. Previous research has established that, when operationalized appropriately, denial (Benoit, 1994; Benoit & Lindsey, 1987), bolstering (Benoit, 1994; Benoit & Brinson, 1994; Benoit & Lindsey, 1987), and attacking one's accuser (Benoit, 1994) can be effective image repair strategies.7 Thereforeâagain, unless Harding was guilty, a possibility beyond the scope of this analysisâshe selected appropriate strategies for repairing her image. Having discussed her choice of strategies, we now consider how well they were developed. Harding's development of her defense was generally weak for two reasons. First, the picture of Harding built in the interview clashes with the impression most audience members probably have of her. To those who have followed her careerâand those exposed to brief recapitulations of it in recent media treatments and in £ye-to-£ye with Conn/e ChungâTonya Harding was a brash, independent rebel. She was headstrong and proud, a strong competitor who went her own way regardless of what others may have thought. In this regard she may be considered somewhat similar to other sports figures, like tennis star John McEnroe. However, the impression created in the interview was one of a meek, tentative, frightened person who tried her best to meet the expectations of her husbandâ "I'd try even harder to be good, you know, to be nice . . . ask permission to go places, ask permission to spend money"âand fansâ"Do the best that anyone expects me to do." Of Tonya Harding's Image 425 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • course, we can never know which is the "real" Tonya Harding, and some viewers may have felt sympathy for the Harding portrayed in this show. However, the impression of Harding created in the interview was dramatically at odds with what most viewers probably thought of her, and its effectiveness was probably undermined for them as a result. The second reason we consider these strategies to be ineffective is that virtually all of Harding's defense rested (only) on her words. Consider her attempts at bolstering. Her apparent attempts to gain sympathy rested on her assertion that Gillooly and her mother had abused her. No corroborating evidence was presented (she even withdrew complaints to the police about Gillooly). She claimed to feel compassion and sorrow for Kerrigan, butâother than Harding's assertion that she sent a "short letter" that Kerrigan might not have receivedâthe audience had to take her word for this. Even displaying a copy of the note could have provided some support. She said she wanted to have children, and to make a better life for them. She promised to contribute to the Special Olympics. If she had made a specific commitment, like a dollar amount, that could have helped. But, again, the audience only had Harding's word for these things. Should we expect her audience to accept her assertions? It seems unlikely that most viewers would believe her, for several reasons. First, several others contradicted her statements. Both Gillooly and Eckardt implicated her in the plot. After Harding alleged that her mother abused her, her mother was shown in the program saying "I wouldn't call myself an abusive mother. Not abusive, but corrective, maybe." Harding disagreed here, saying that "there's a lot of people out there that know different." However, because she doesn't name any of them, ultimately it becomes Harding's word against Gillooly's word, Harding's word against Eckardt's word, Harding's word against her mother's word. While Harding's accusers may not have uniformly high credibility, several people disputed her assertions. Should the viewers be expected to believe Harding? Harding's audience probably had serious reservations about her credibility for reasons other than the fact that several people contradicted her statements. When Gillooly's alleged abuse of Harding was discussed, Chung explained that "over the years, Tonya has filed police reports charging Jeff with abuse and harassment but she later retracted her com- plaints." This may have led the audience to wonder whether Harding was telling the truth when she charged Gillooly with abuse, or when she retracted the complaints? Why retract the complaints if they were true? Although Chung did not report how many times this happened, she did state that it happened repeatedly "over the years." This information does not create the impression that Harding tells one story, the truth, and sticks with it. Even worse, as Chung points out, Harding's initial blanket denial was later "contra- dicted with her own damaging admissions," surely the single biggest threat to her credibility. Early in the controversy, Harding denied all knowledge of the attack. Later, she was forced to admit that she had lied, and she changed her denial from "I knew nothing about the attack" to "I did not know about the attack before it happened." Chung brought up her initial denial, and a videotape of Harding uttering it was played on the show. Incontrovert- ibly, Harding had lied about her knowledge of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan before. Why should viewers believe her now? Furthermore, the audience may have believed that evidence was available to contradict Harding's statements. Harding's telephone calls and the scrap of paper about the Tony Kent Arena were both reported in newspapers as indicated earlier. Furthermore, the Eye-to-Eye program brought up both of these points. Harding may not have known that these ideas would be included in the programâbut she clearly knew that they had been reported in the media and she failed to offer any explanation for them in her defense. 4 2 6 Benoitand Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • Finally, it is not clear why Harding waited until February 10 to present her defense. Our brief summary of the allegations suggests that her reputation was significantly threatened during late January. It is possible that she was constrained by the production or broadcast schedule of £ye-to-Eye with Connie Chung, although she was not forced to rely on that particular television show to present her defense. The public's interest in the story, coupled with media attention to it, surely would have provided her with a choice of media forums. Thus, a variety of factorsâthe statements of others, Harding's own statements, and evidence that might have appeared to prove her guiltâcombined to undermine Harding's credibility. Could Harding have been more persuasive? Given the retracted police reports, her retracted blanket denial, and the (apparent) physical evidence, it would not have been an easy task to win the audience's trust. But could she have done a better job? We think this defense could have been developed more effectively. Her first mistake was to deny all knowledge of the attack. This lie seriously damaged her credibility. However, even after this error it was possible that she could have developed her image repair efforts more effectively. Harding might have denied that she had a motive to participate in the attack on Kerrigan. Two skaters would advance from the United States (Adler, 1994), and it seemed unlikely that Harding would place third. Harding could thus have argued that she had no reason to try to injure Kerrigan. She might have even tried to reinforce this claim by declaring that not skating against Kerrigan would have cheapened her success at the competition, thereby playing into the sports ideal of "winning on the field." Thus, rather than simply denying that she did anything wrong, she could have also denied that she had any reason for wrong-doing, and in fact that she had reason to want Kerrigan to compete against her. This could have reinforced her denial and made it sound somewhat more plausible. Second, she could have coupled this denial of motive with an attack on her accuser, suggesting that unlike Harding, Eckardt did have a motive to attack Kerrigan, because he hoped to get rich as a bodyguard to other athletes who became fearful as a result of the attack on Kerrigan (this could have been an actual motive; see "Three Men Plead," 1994). This may have appeared more plausible than simply calling her accusers liars and claiming to be afraid of them. It could have allowed her to explain why her accusers had motive to harm Kerrigan even though Harding did not. Third, she could have attempted to bolster her image by stressing her skating ability. Notice that pointing out that she was able to perform a triple axel jump could be seen to reinforce her claim that she had no motive to injure Kerrigan (Adler, 1994). Furthermore, if she had ever contributed to any charities or donated her time or name to good causes, Harding should have brought that up. Then, her promise of a donation to the Special Olympics could have been made in a more convincing manner. It would have helped to specify the amount of the donation she planned to make. It is possible that some of the more cynical members of the audience might have thought, "Well, even if she isn't lying about this donation, Harding will probably make $10 million on a TV movie and donate $10." Thus, Harding's attempts at bolstering could also have been more effective. Finally, when Chung brought up the fact that Harding had lied in her initial flat denial, Harding could have engaged in mortification, expressing remorse. She did admit that "I am responsible, however, for failing to report things I learned about the assault when I returned home from nationals," and she tried to excuse her behavior with defeasibility ("Everything just happened so fast," "I was scared"), but she never said she was sorry for lying. Tonya Harding's Image 427 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • Of course, had Harding attempted to restore her image with these strategies rather than the defense she actually used, it would not have convinced all viewers of her innocence. Nevertheless, we believe other choices would have been more successful in repairing her image than the defense she presented in the interview. How did the public react to Harding after her defense? Most people did not believe her denials. According to a CNN/US/\ Today national poll on February 24, 31 % of respondents believed Harding was involved in the plot from the beginning and 35% believed she knew about it before it happened (but did not help plan it). Only 20% believed that she learned about it after it happened. While we cannot know for certain why the public rejected her defense, it may well be significant that Harding's credibility was very low prior to the broadcast. A CBS News national poll of February 6 (just prior to the broadcast) reported that more people believed Gillooly than Harding: 43% believed Jeff Gillooly was mostly telling the truth (32% believed he was mostly lying), while 63% thought Tonya Harding was mostly lying (only 19% thought she was mostly telling the truth). Our analysis reveals that she did little to enhance her damaged credibility in her defense. Implications of the Analysis In this section we will discuss what insights can be derived from our analysis. Specifi- cally, we draw seven implications from our critical analysis of Harding's image restoration efforts, each of which will be discussed separately. First, this approach to image restoration was better suited for displaying the full range of image repair strategies than previous analyses of such discourse. Burke (1970, 1973) only discusses mortification and shifting the blame (victimage), and thus would not have been able to identify any of the strategies Harding employed. Ware and Linkugel (1973) do discuss both denial and bolstering, although attacking one's accuser is not included in the four strategies in their theory of apologia.8 Second, especially in relatively recent years as sports have become an increasingly important part of the American social fabric, athletes are often called upon to defend themselves. Michael Jordan was accused of gamblingâand losingâwhat seemed to many to be preposterous amounts of money. Pete Rose was accused of betting on games in which he participated. Vince Coleman threw a firecracker into the stands. The New England Patriots engaged in behavior toward a female reporter considered by many to be sexual harassment. O.J. Simpson currently stands accused of a brutal, double murder. Thus, sports figures frequently need to defend their images, and the discourse they produce is a legitimate object of study. Third, in some of these cases, the "truth" may never come out. This means that our judgments of these figures is dependent upon the discourse that they generate. In this analysis, we do not believe she was successful at creating the belief that she was innocent with most of her audience. The notion that rhetoric is epistemic, or constitutive of knowledge, is hardly a new one (see, e.g., Brummett, 1976; Cherwitz & Hikins, 1986; Farrell, 1976; Gregg, 1984; Leff, 1978; Railsback, 1983; Scott, 1967, 1977; Weimer, 1981). Nevertheless, the concept that rhetoric is epistemic is reinforced in incidents such as the controversy over Harding's alleged involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan: the public's "knowledge" of the attack was shaped by the media discourse. Harding's defense attempted to create a different set of understandings of this event, so as to repair her image, although she was largely ineffectual in her bid to shape our knowledge of her involvement in the attack. 428 Benoit and Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • A fourth implication of this analysis is that it is possible that in some circumstances it is counterproductive to attempt to establish a new and different impression of oneself. Many of her viewers had an image of Harding as a brash, outspoken, "bad girl" of ice skating. This clashed sharply with her portrayal in the interview as a tentative, dependent, frightened and helpless person. Of course, if the audience believes that she is not truly in control of her actions, they may tend to hold her blameless. However, if that picture is rejected as false, it will quite possibly backfire (i.e., viewers could think, "Not only did she help plot to injure poor Nancy, but then when the truth starts to come out, she lies about it"). Fifth, when one commits wrong-doing, it is often better to admit it and express remorse than attempt to lie about it. The truth often comes out, and when it does, the accused is doubly to blame: once for the offensive act and once for lying about it. President Nixon continued to deny involvement in Watergate and eventually was forced to resign (Benoit, 1982). President Reagan denied knowledge of the Iran/Contra affair, and his approval ratings slipped until the Tower Commission Report forced him to admit that he had made a mistake and take corrective action (Benoit, Gullifor, & Panici, 1991). AT&T initially blamed low-level workers for the long distance service interruption, and later apologized (Benoit & Brinson, 1994). Similarly, Harding lied about when she became aware of the attack, and we believe she would have been better off admitting that she had erred, expressing remorse, and apologizing. A sixth implication concerns a rhetor's credibility. When a person has an obvious credibility problemâthe program revealed that she lied about when she had first learned about the attackâit is imperative to effectively address that problem. Harding ineffectually attempted to claim that fear kept her silent. Apologizing for making a mistake and asking for forgiveness (mortification), as suggested above, as well as making a commitment to fully cooperate with the investigation (corrective action) might have helped her image with some of her audience. It is unwise to permit important allegations or incriminating evidence to go unchal- lenged, a seventh implication of this analysis. Newspaper stories mentioned the evidence of telephone calls to determine Kerrigan's hotel room and practice schedule and telephone calls to Shawn Eckardt on the day of the attack. These were reiterated in the television program. The paper scraps found in the trash were also mentioned in newspapers and in the television. Both of these seemed to be serious enough that Harding could not afford to ignore them, but she did. It is possible that some allegations will be forgotten if ignored, and that rhetors would be better advised not to bring them up. However, apparently "hard" evidence like this, evidence that is clearly in the audience's mind, should not be ignored. Conclusion We critically analyzed Tonya Harding's image repair effort in her interview on Eye-to- Eye with Connie Chung, applying the theory of image restoration discourse. She primarily used bolstering, denial, and attacking one's accuser, although defeasibility also appeared in her discourse. While the strategies she selected were generally appropriate, the defense she constructed to operationalize them was not very well developed. The discourse created an impression that was inconsistent with the picture most people probably had of Harding, and thus was relatively ineffectual. The fact that she lied about when she first learned of the attack severely undermined her credibility, and she did not rebuild it in this discourse. Several others contradicted her statements, and she left apparently incriminating evidence unchallenged. Thus, we evaluate her defense as ineffective, and public opinion poll data Tonya Harding's Image 429 D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
  • confirm this assessment. In sum, this instance of rhetoric from a sports celebrity provides insight into the effectiveness of image restoration discourse. NOTES 1 From October 1, 1993 to May 1, 1994, 138 different Associated Press articles contained references to Harding and the attack on Kerrigan (Grollier's CD Newsbank [CD-ROM database], 1994). 2 All public opinion poll data were obtained from "Public Opinion Online" (on-line database) from the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut via Nexis/Lexis. 3 This information from the Vanderbilt television archives was obtained via Gopher (tvnews. vanderbilt. edu). See also Television News Index and Abstracts, 1994. 4 Burke discusses the purgative-guilt cycle, in which humans inevitably violate the social order, requiring redemption. Burke (1970) sees two primary methods of purification, mortification and victimage. They have an important similarity in the way in which they deal with guilt: symbolically "killing" it. Burke suggests that they are both a form of death: mortification a kind of suicide, and victimage a kind of homicide (1970, p. 248). For our purposes, we separate them because of the different effects: mortification places the blame on one's self (the "bad" self) and begs forgiveness; while victimage shifts the blame elsewhere, to a scapegoat. Hence, we see victimage, or shifting the blame, as closer in effects to denial than mortification. 5 We have no reason to believe that Tonya Harding had complete control over the content of this television program. She could well have made other utterances that attempted to develop the image restoration strategies we found in this program in other ways or that employed other image repair strategiesâbut that were edited out before broadcast. Similarly, Connie Chung may have made some statements or asked certain questions that tended to undermine Harding's image restoration efforts. The visuals presented before, during, and after Harding's statements may not have reinforced her defense. In other words, it may be best to consider that her defense was mediated by the television show. Nevertheless, the show that was broadcast served as her defense, whether it was entirely to Harding's liking or not. Even if Harding had wished to alter it, this program was the defense she was able to present. It is also important to realize that Harding may well have had several different purposes. Although we cannot know for certain, she presumably wanted (1) to avoid being prosecuted in the Kerrigan attack, (2) to skate at the Olympics, (3) to gain sympathy from her judges at the Olympics, and (4) to restore her reputation with the public. Harding engaged in other actions to secure her ends (e.g., she sued the American Olympic Committee for $10 million to force them to let her compete; see Duffy, 1994), and her utterances during this interview could have been intended to achieve several goals. In our analysis, we focus only on how her appearance on this television program functioned to repair her image with the public, while acknowledging here that she may have had other goals as well. Looking at the statements Harding made in the television program, it is difficult not to agree with Connie Chung that "this interview was obviously Tonya Harding's attempt to make her case to the American public" (1994). Finally, while Harding's appearance on Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung was not the only statement she made on her behalf (and video-taped quotations from Harding's previous statements are played in this show), she limited her appearances and interviews, as indicated by a T-shirt with "No Comment" on it. Thus, her discourse on this television program was the single most important image restoration attempt Harding employed. 6 We do not claim to have insights into Harding's thoughts and intentions. However, we will use constructions like "Harding used three image repair strategies" as more felicitous than "Whether she intended it or not, Harding's discourse may well have been interpreted as including three image restoration strategies." 7 ln other instances, however, when operationalized inappropriately, these strategies have been found to be ineffective. See, e.g., studies of Exxon (Benoit, 1994), Nixon (Benoit, 1982), Pepsi-Cola (Benoit, 1994), Reagan (Benoit, Gullifor, & Panici, 1991), Union Carbide (Benoit, 1994). 8 Ware and Linkugel (1973) mention the fact that Clarence Darrow vilified his accusers in "They Tried to Get Me." However, this is not conceptualized as one of their four strategies, as an attempt to undermine the accusations by attacking the source of those accusations, but rather as an instance of transcendence. We feel that the strategy of attacking one's accuser deserves a separate, conceptually distinct category. While Ware and Linkugel have an instance of this strategy, they do not provide a conceptual discussion of it. 430 Benoit and Hanczor D ow nl oa de d by [ M em or ia l U ni ve rs ity o f N ew fo un dl an d] a t 2 0: 18 3 1 Ju ly 2 01 4
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