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Conciliatory aggression and the rhetoric of public apologies: A rhetorical analysis

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This article provides a rhetorical analysis of a public apology that was issued by conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh in response to criticism of on-air comments that he made in February 2012. I argue that Limbaugh deployed his apology as a plea for moral exoneration, not as a formal admission of misconduct. Hence his apology was meant to absolve Limbaugh from blame by offsetting acknowledgements of wrongdoing (along with expressions of remorse) with an appeal to truth as a force for exculpation.
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Keywords: Rush Limbaugh; apology; conciliatory aggression; public apology; rhetoric; rhetorical analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419367494 Simon Fraser University

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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