Reading Response #2

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Jason Tabor

Andrea Mele

WRI 01

20 Febuary 2013

Reading Response #2

Propaganda: How Not to Be Bamboozled

In the essay, “Propaganda: How Not to Be Bamboozled”, author Donna Woolfolk Cross goes over the different type of varieties used around the world, in ever day life. Cross gives a general statement on the opinion of propaganda; also, she gives a definition of the word propaganda. Cross is trying to expose how propaganda is used, and how non skeptical people are often drawn in by it. Cross created this essay to be an informative piece of writing.

This essay is on the common use of propaganda to manipulate the viewers watching. For example, propaganda unknowingly shapes our attitudes on many subjects (Cross, 149). Cross gives us a list of the many different types of propaganda (E.g. name calling, glittering generalities, etc). A common situation one can witness propaganda is in politics, or when someone is trying to sell a product. Cross’s explanations of the different forms of propaganda inform the readers on how propagandist attempt to mislead or deceive one; however, Cross explains how one can go about to not be subjected to propaganda. Cross organizes the essay by listing the variety of propaganda.

The essay is organized in an informative manner; the essay uses some research to help describe propaganda. Cross develops her essay by giving real life examples for each form of propaganda. She keeps an intellectual tone throughout the essay, using her knowledge to aid in informing the audience. Cross rhetorical appeal in the essay leans toward the logos path. For instance, Cross said “Senator Yakalot uses glittering generalities when he says, “I stand for all that is good in America, for our American way and our American birthright.”” In this quote Cross uses an example of a real life senator that uses the form of propaganda called glittering generalities. Since she uses real examples, the reader knows that in a situation like politics people will attempt to use glittering generalities as propaganda.

While reading the essay I began to realize that I have been subject to a variety of propaganda in my life. I particularly like the ending when Cross states, “If we are to continue to be a government “by the people,” let us be informed about the methods and purposes of propaganda…” This quote displays a good way to restate the main point and draw a conclusion to the essay. If I were to steal any techniques, it would definitely be the conclusion paragraph. After reading this essay I will remind myself to be more skeptical about things I see and/or hear.

Weasel Words: The Art of Saying Nothing at All

In the essay, “Weasel Words: The Art of Saying Nothing at All”, author William Lutz talks of the different weasel words used in advertising. In this essay Lutz jumps from one weasel word to another, while giving supporting details to back up his statements. Lutz describes how in advertisements people use weasel words that distract or deceive the audience from the big picture. Lutz informs the readers to think and question an advertisement before buying into it.

This essay goes over the different ways advertisers pull people in to buy the product being sole. For example, Lutz states “The next time you see an ad for a cold medicine that it “helps relieve cold symptoms fast,” don’t rush to buy it.” The quote explains a particular situation where an advertisement suggests their cold medicine will speed up the “get better” process. Lutz describes how “help” is the weasel word, and it really should trigger viewers/readers to think the exact meaning of the word “help.” Thinking the way Lutz suggests will allow people from getting trapped by weasel words.

Lutz’s essay is composed of mostly factual info, but is opinionated at times. Lutz starts the essay by giving some background on what advertisements are forbidden from doing due to laws that have been passed; he then presents the idea of weasel words. Weasel words are used to misguide the audience in a way to favorite the product. Throughout the essay Lutz list out big weasel word that are commonly used; also, how people can easily be seduced by these words without knowing. Lutz’s information is reflections off observations in the field of advertisement. The rhetorical appeal in this essay seems to lead down the path of logos. The information presented has truth to it. Lutz is making an argument on weasel words used in the media world.

During the reading of the essay, I slowly came to believe that weasel words are used commonly. I had no idea of the fact, and now it seems like it is so obvious. I recalled all the recent memories I had of ads that use these words or phrases. Advertisements are good at telling us things we want to hear. Even if there is no meaning to the selection of words being use. There was no technique that particularly intrigued me in this essay.

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