Spiro Agnew's Rhetoric against the News Media
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The paper relates that in 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew gave an unprecedented address to a group of Republican officials in Des Moines, Iowa, complaining about the behavior of the American news industry. The paper goes on to show how although Agnew at times manages an air of reasoned argument, the rhetoric he deploys actually relies almost entirely on insinuation and the emotional emphasis resulting from a deep-seated sense of entitlement. The paper demonstrates how Agnew worked to create the kind of faulty semantic sequence identified by Alfred Korzybski that manages to convince the audience of its veracity by positing the particular words of the speaker as directly correlational to the facts referenced by those words. The paper argues that in this way, Agnew is able to make his irrelevant complaints about New York and media criticism sound like reasoned rebuttals to the administration's critics.
From the Paper:"In 1969, Spiro Agnew "delivered a series of controversial and electrifying speeches," which "were something new in American politics," according to Jonathan Schell, author of the "1975 book, The Time of Illusion." According to Schell, Agnew's speeches were "long, rambling sessions of abuse, apparently unconnected with government policies - sheer outbursts of angry feeling" (Sherman 2001 p. 66). These speeches lined up nicely with Nixon's own position regarding journalists and the press at large, which had been informed by years of mistrust and pique on Nixon's part. For example, "in the 1950s, Nixon was so enraged by Herblock's editorial cartoons in The Washington Post - some of which depicted him crawling out of a sewer - that he forbade his young daughters to look at the Post," and years later, "in the wake of his defeat in the California gubernatorial race in 1962, Nixon launched a famous diatribe against the news media: 'You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore' he declared." According to Sherman (2001), "for Nixon, it was a hatred that festered. 'He took everything critical as a personal blast at him;' William Safire later observed. 'When he read a byline, the writer came to life in his mind, grinning evilly at him'" (Sherman p. 67)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Agnew, S. (1969, November 13). Television news coverage. Retrieved from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/spiroagnewtvnewscoverage.htm
- Lee, I. (2005). General semantics and public speaking: perspectives on rhetoric comparing aristotle, hitler, and korzybski: a review of general semantics. et Cetera, 62(1), 80-88.
- Sherman, S. (2001). Attacking the press. Columbia Journalism Review, 40(4), 66-67.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Spiro Agnew's Rhetoric against the News Media (2013, May 30) Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/spiro-agnew-rhetoric-against-the-news-media-153420/
"Spiro Agnew's Rhetoric against the News Media" 30 May 2013. Web. 21 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/spiro-agnew-rhetoric-against-the-news-media-153420/>