Patterson, Thomas E. Review of In-Your-Face Politics: The Consequences of Uncivil Media, by Diana C. Mutz. Journal of Communication, 66.2, April 2016: 19-21.
Good writing is uncommon enough in an academic book to be praiseworthy. When coupled with solid research on an important topic, a book is to be celebrated. Diana Mutz's In-Your-Face Politics: The Consequences of Uncivil Media is of that type, though one might wish that the thoughtful analysis of the research findings had carried over to the prescriptions and the assessments of where in-your-face incivility fits into the larger picture of political polarization. In-Your-Face Politics examines what everyone who follows politics has noticed—the rising level of incivility in political discourse. Mutz cites the example of turncoat Democratic Senator Zell Miller's angry appearance on Hardball where he shouts at Chris Matthews, “I wish I could challenge you to a duel.” Incivility is broadly criticized, which, to Mutz, presents a research opportunity. Is incivility as destructive of democracy as is widely claimed?