Film – the Persuaders: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/persuaders/
Week 5 Lecture 1: Rhetoric, Persuasion, and the Relationship Between Media and State
Decipher fallacies in arguments, looking at how some questions can bear very confusing and irrelevant answers • Understand basic concepts of rhetoric and learning to “read between the lines” of arguments presented in the media.
WhatTFis Rhetoric, Anyway? • People use “rhetoric” as shorthand for something that isn’t true, or is spun ins ome way “Oh, that’s just rhetoric.” • That definition is only half right – as some of you may already know, rhetoric refers to the study of “the specialised use of language” or the “study of the effective use of language.” • If you are into it, tons of classical rhetorical devices: http://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/rhetoric.html
Rhetoric and Politics – Indirect Speech, Connotation, and Competitive Framing • Indirect Speech: “Anything concrete a politician says is bound to offend some sector of the population. …the art of a lot of political rhetoric is to say things that are vague enough that there is plausible deniablity…” • Connotation: The way you say something can make it like a swear word in a given context. • Competitive Framing: “just about any issue can be framed…different ways.” • What is called “Spin Doctoring.” • Steven Pinker (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS4xVcko9qw )
History of Political Rhetoric • The ancient Greeks valued public political debate and thus convincing others of one’s position was an important skill. • Aristototle’s idea of enthymeme • People don’t spend the time reasoning every point out when speaking to a large audience. They leave the major premise implied: • Eg “"Foreign aid is in the best interest of Brazil because it will stabilize Brazil's democracy.” Would be a legitimate enthymeme to a US audience because it would be unspoken to that audience that promoting democracy is a legitimate goal. • Aristotle identified three genres of rhetoric • Deliberative • Forensic • Epideictic
Deliberative Rhetoric • The classic “political” rhetoric (though we will see that forensic and epidictic play a role). • Focused on future action. • The deliberative speaker is trying to convince her audience to do something: communicating for, or against, a given action. • “an "embellished" statement of facts, with great vivacity, to persuade the audience of the honor and advantage that will accrue to them if they choose to initiate a particular mode of action for the future.”
“deliberative rhetoric must engage what is controversial, because the possible means to given ends are always more or less subject to doubt and disagreement. ” Holloway, Carson. “The Dangerous Vacuity of our Public Discourse.”http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/06/1346
For example, Churchill 1940 • Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 (facing invasion by Germany as well as France leaving the war.) • “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
Forensic Rhetoric • Focused on the past. • Judicial, charged with determining the truth or falsity of events that took place in the past. • For example, in a court of law.
Epidictic Rhetoric • “rhetoric of praise and blame” • Epidictic speech is about promoting common values – rather than making an argument one way or the other. • Strengthens already existing points of view. • You aren’t trying to convince anyone of anything.
Example: Football Songs • Arsenal – “By Far the Greatest Team” • http://fanchants.com/football-songs/arsenal-chants/arsenal-fc/
Example: Swedish Extremist Stickers • “The stickers are more to be seen as statements about the world than as attempts at persuading citizens to change opinions. “ Vigso, Orla. “Extremist Stickers: Epideictic Rhetoric, Political Marketing, and Tribal Demarcation.” Journal of Visual Literacy, 2010 Volume 29, Number 1, 28-46
Vigso, Orla. “Extremist Stickers: Epideictic Rhetoric, Political Marketing, and Tribal Demarcation.” Journal of Visual Literacy, 2010 Volume 29, Number 1, 28-46
With the rise of the Christian Church in the West the nature of rhetoric changed. • Rhetoric was criticized, and only seen as useful when it promulgated “correct doctrine.” • Epidectic rhetoric thus became more common: not making an argument, but reinforcing an already existing stance. • With Reformation/Enlightenment, movement toward the modern liberal nation state, deliberative rhetoric again took center stage.
Is Political Language Getting Dumber? • Susan Jacoby on the use of the word “folks” – trying • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVRQal-2_28&feature=channel
Rhetorical Fallacies • Going to examinesome of each type that might have been more complicated. • Since you’ve the worksheet with you, we’ll go backwards – show they example and then show which it is. • Three types: • 1. Emotional Fallacy • 2. Ethical Fallacy • 3. Logical Fallacy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-23kmhc3P8U&feature=related - George Bush • Either/Or Choices
Scare Tactics, maybe also bandwagon (as they even have a gay woman) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp76ly2_NoI - Gathering Storm
Sentimental Appeal (what do these cute kids to do with banking?) Indian Twins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSs_16SclII&playnext=1&list=PL235373B5881A0883
Ethical Fallacies • Advance the speaker’s own authority or character
False authority/Personal Authority as Proof Rand Paul – Doctor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwC-kBeLkgg
Ad hominem (attacking his character – lots of houses – rather than his policies). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpmFd25tRqo (John McCain)
Equivocation: Equivocation happens when two different meanings of a single term are used in the proposition or argument (Maboloc, et. al, 2006). • A is B • B is C • A must be C (but meaning of B has changed.) • (B = “sexual relations” in this case) Bill Clinton – sorry, I can’t help it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiIP_KDQmXs
Saying the same thing again, but presenting it as a reason. • Begging the question: to restate the original claim in a different way (presenting as true a premise which needs proof). • It DOES NOT MEAN “raising a question.” “British troops should stay in Afghanistan as long as they are needed. ” This is why I’m hot. I'm hot 'cause I'm fly, you ain't cause you not.” - MIMS
Rhetoric’s origins in the West are closely tied – at least mythologically – with our earliest democratic systems “ancient Greece.” • The modern broadcast media moves the art of rhetoric to center stage, and thus changed the relationship between rhetoric, media, and democracy. • Example: Nixon/Kennedy Debate (1960) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHGs4535W_o&feature=related
Models of Democracy - Changing • Direct Democracy: Ancient Athens. 15th Century Switzerland. Certain communes. All citizens vote (but in most contexts, not all residents are citizens. Land owning males in ancient Greece, for example –women, slaves, etc are SOL). • Representative Democracy: US, India. “The modern norm” for democracy. Adapted from notes from a lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Can a large scale democracy exist without media? • Possibly not – • How else could candidates present their views to voters? • How else could voters know what their representatives do? • How else could problems get attention? • How else could different points of view be debated? Adapted from notes from a lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
In order to have functioning democracy, then • Technology: There must be mass media • Access: It must be equally accessible to all • Content: It must offer opportunities for opposing views to be heard. They must cover public affairs (not just Big Brother all the time) • Legal: They must be free to criticize power. Lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Two ways of understanding the relationship between Media and Democracy • 1. As “the Fourth Estate” • 2. As “a Public Watchdog” Lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Media as the Fourth Estate • Reference to media as the “fourth estate” • Refers to the relationship between media and power. • Media is essential to understanding the democratic process: it plays a critical role. • This comes from the idea that media keeps power “in check” • Carlyle wrote in his history of the French Revolution. "A Fourth Estate, of Able Editors, springs up; increases and multiplies, irrepressible, incalculable.” (The other three being church, aristocrats, and bourgeois – though those first two obviously don’t apply still today we still use the term). Lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Media as the Fourth Estate • In this model, media is part of the political model – but this makes it a non-preresentative“estate” (unlike say, a Parliament or the Judiciary). Lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Media as Public Watchdog • This theory takes the media outside of the political process. • The media acts on behalf the the public. • This theory does not see the media as part of the elite – but it also doesn’t see them as part of the public. • Does the mass media really play such a role in contemporary societies? • Individual journalists and editors might. • But who are they accountable to? Lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Tradition of muckracking journalism arose in late 19C – a tradition many journalists still see themselves as part of: speaking truth to power. • Growth in “watchdog” style reporting – where the press holds government accountable for wrongdoing – in post-Soviet countries. • But democracies don’t hold a monopoly on this style of reporting:
Watchdog Journalism in China Coronel, Sheila S. “The Media as Watchdog.” Harvard-World BankWorskshop 29031st May 2008. Harvard Kennedy School of Government
…and not all democracies can protect their journalists • Phillipines, Mexico, Columbia, Russia – journalist deaths are common. • In 2010, 57 journalists were killed world wide – according to Reporters Without Borders- Criminal gangs and militias were increasingly to blame, while the number killed in war zones fell.
Alternatives to “Watchdog” Theory of Relationship Between Media and Government • “Development Journalism” schoolarguesthatin poorer countries, the media have a duty to “promote development goals” (Coronel 3) – and that being a watchdog to the government might at times go against this. • “Asian Values” school: in1990s, some people argued that the “Watchdog” theory might work for Western democracies but in Asia, “the media’s role is to promote social consensus for strong governements in persuit of economic growth” (Coronel 3)
In Summary: Principals of Liberal Theory of the Media • Press provides a range of information • Press acts as a watchdog • Press are in private hands, operated by private property • LIMITATIONS • Might not make sense in every political context. • Adversarial press can disillusion voters. • Media owners are interested in profit – is this democratic. • What role does advertising play (as we saw in Murrow film). • If media are watchdogs to the state – what about business? How to account for investigative journalism that will hold them accountable as well. Lecture by GholamKhiabany, “Media, Power, and Democracy” as Part of Political Communication course 18 Jan 2010.
Film today is called The Persuaders, it’s a 2004 documentary on PR and marketing but also talks about political advertising and political communication. • It will tie in nicely with our next lecture on Political Campaigns and Communications.
Briefly: • Marketing is about selling a product. It has a short term focus. It’s goal is to sell a product, person, or thing. • Public Relations (PR) is about managing a reputation. It has long term focus. Its goal is to maintain a positive reputation for the product, person, or thing. • Lots of overlap, obviously, but they are fundamentally different things.
Rushkoff’s “Media Virus” • The guy who made the documentary we’re going to watch is named Doug Rushkoff. • Came up with a theory in the early 1990s (ancient times) that still keeps popping up…
From 1994 – before the modern internet! • “Wrapped around any great media virus, there is a provocative outer casing or "shell" of media.” • Inside is “the viral code” the message.
As Rushkoff notes, it wasn’t always this way: “branding and advertising were simply ways to publicize and identify one's products.” • But with broadcast media – mainly TV – the way we sold things changed. • “Things” including: dish soap. Political candidates…
I leave you with the words of David Ogilvy • most people cannot tell the difference between their own "favorite" whiskey and the closest two competitors': "Have they tried all three and compared the taste? Don't make me laugh. The reality is that these three brands have different images which appeal to different kinds of people. It isn't the whiskey they choose, it's the image. The brand image is ninety percent of what the distiller has to sell.”