By comparing the papers produced by the laboratory teams of Robert Gallo and Jean Luc Montagnier during the AIDS virus hunt, we have an opportunity to discern the fine line between a bold, explicit rhetoric that may convince as well as offend and a bald, reserved rhetoric that may actually conceal important implications. Going too far in either direction may create misunderstandings and ethical dilemmas as will be demonstrated in a textual analysis deepened by an exploration of historical context and interviews with key participants. Since a public health crisis calls upon communication that thwarts misunderstandings, scientists should understand the nuances of particular contexts and the blessings and banes of specific rhetorics employed in those contexts.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Quarterly Journal of Speech, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00335639809384201.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/carol_reeves/5/