ERIC Number: ED061751
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1972-Apr-19
Reference Count: 0
Rumor Construction: An Analysis of a Case History.
Blake, Reed H.
Rumor can be viewed as a collective transaction whose component parts consist of cognitive and communicative activity; it develops as men caught together in an ambiguous situation attempt to construct a meaningful interpretation of the situation by pooling their intellectual resources. Of central importance in the construction and acceptance of a rumor is a state of high tension existing in the rumor's public during the time of its formation. The widespread rumor that John F. Kennedy was still alive (in a heavy guarded hospital room in Dallas) is perhaps an example of a rumor which formed during a time of low excitement, but which still achieved public acceptance. Probable reasons for the acceptance of the rumor are that 1) it formed a plausible explanation for the incongruous behavior (with that of her previous White House image) of Jacqueline Kennedy in marrying Onassis, 2) it did not require the public to accept a large departure from where they last saw the president or from his last known--before death--condition and 3) the report was legitimized by nationally or regionally known "authorities" and purportedly by the mass media. (SH)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT.
Identifiers: Kennedy (John F); Onassis (Jacqueline Kennedy); Rumors
Note: Paper presented at the International Communications Association Annual Convention (Atlanta, Georgia, April 19-22, 1972)