Shooting the messenger  

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"Shooting the messenger" is a metaphoric phrase used to describe the act of lashing out at the (blameless) bearer of bad news.

In earlier times, messages were usually delivered in person by a human envoy. Sometimes, as in war, for example, the messenger was sent from the enemy camp. An easily provoked combatant receiving such an overture could more easily vent anger (or otherwise retaliate) on the deliverer of the unpopular message than on its author.

"Attacking the messenger" is a subdivision of the ad hominem logical fallacy.

See also

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