Political polarization is a major problem in American society today. Americans tend to socialize with others who share their political beliefs, and social media tends to present us with viewpoints that match our own. President Trump has called into question the objectivity even of major news organizations, suggesting that the media is dishonest and skews information for political purposes. More than ever, it's important for us to be able to think about the way writers communicate with and attempt to persuade audiences on cultural and political issues.
For your first major paper, you should write a rhetorical analysis of one of the following articles:
"Whatever Happened to Common Sense?" by Robert Curry (Links to an external site.) (written from a conservative viewpoint)
"The Right Has Its Own Version of Political Correctness. It's Just as Stifling" by Alex Nowrasteh (Links to an external site.) (written from a liberal viewpoint)
The point of your analysis should be to discuss how the author uses techniques, strategies, or devices in communicating with a specific audience. In other words, what kinds of writing choices are made by the author, and why have those choices been made?
Before beginning your paper, you should think about questions like these:
Who is the target audience of the article?
What is the main idea (i.e., thesis of the article)?
What other purposes does the author seem to have?
What assumptions does the author make about the target audience of the article?
What does the author wish the audience to believe about him or her?
What techniques does the author use to make the article more convincing to the audience?
Many of the techniques found in Chapter 2 of your textbook (uncovering assumptions, reformulating binaries, situating the text rhetorically, reading against the grain, etc.) will be helpful in your attempt to answer these questions. But don't feel that you have answer all of the questions listed above. The point of this assignment is to write a thorough and reasoned analysis of the article, not to list your responses to the questions.
NOTE: Please remember that analysis must always avoid evaluation and/or personalization. Your personal political viewpoint should play NO role in your analysis of the article. Your job here is to show how the article works, NOT to agree or disagree with the argument or the way that argument is made. If I can tell what your personal political views are by reading your analysis, you have not followed an analytical framework.