Death: a great career move

From The Boston Globe:

Lewisin__1235790828_4054 NEVER SPEAK ILL of the dead, at least if they had some redeeming qualities. That's the pattern that emerges from research that asked people to evaluate biographical summaries of hypothetical leaders. In general, leaders were viewed more favorably when they were known to be dead. This halo even helped mitigate perceptions of incompetence. However, there was an opposite reaction – a more negative posthumous attitude – to leaders who had acted immorally before they died. When asked to explain their evaluations, people viewed death as a sort of final verdict, as if “the jury was still out” during life. Likewise, in an analysis of media coverage of celebrities who died in the 1990s, the researchers found that there was more positive coverage several years after death than several years before, especially in the case of Princess Diana, JFK Jr., and Tupac Shakur. The one exception: Richard Nixon.

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