In modern times we are bombarded with so many news stories in our everyday existence it can often be difficult to distinguish the true relevance of this information within our own lives. Rhetoric refers to the writer’s intent to persuade, motivate, and intrigue us about a topic. My understanding what motivates readers; writers can employee different techniques to make their message apparent.
With the recent attention focused on the 2012 presidential elections, one key issue that was the focus of many newspaper articles was welfare reform. This is a very complex topic that can confuse or bore the casual reader; however to those interested in the future policies of our country should take interest in this topic as it will affect all Americans. Newspapers seem to understand this need to inform the public and also keep them interested in the subject.
The article “Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy” raises ethical issues surrounding welfare reform. The article reiterates that much of America remains below the poverty level and are in need of assistance. Those in favor of more lax rules fear that by making it harder to receive welfare that many will be discriminated against and proper aid will not be allowed to those who depend on welfare for financial survival (Gilens 89). Many recipients of welfare are minorities, mothers, and of course those of lower economic status (Gilens 89). Worries that these groups will be discriminated against if harsher laws exist is a valid point (Gilens 89). This group argues that the recent suggestion of drug testing to receive welfare goes against our constitutional rights. To say that low income people are more likely to use drugs is a stereotype and thus violates personal rights (Morrison). The audience is all American who are interested in policy development. The author plays upon emotion by expression concern for low income groups, such as single mothers. The article sparks a debate that intrigues the reader and forces them to think about their own views of the subject.
Because of the elections, there was a renewed interest in this subject with the public who wanted to know where their candidates stood on these positions. In one article, “Gov. Rick Perry wants drug testing for those on welfare” the subject of mandatory drug testing to receive welfare benefits was brought to up to the scrutiny of the readers ("Newsfix" ). The issues surrounding welfare have created several positions surrounding it. Recently ideas about drug testing and jobs have been in the forefront of social conciseness. This article takes several key interests, such as the problems of drug use in American, welfare reform, and the current election to engage the reader and persuade them to read the article ("Newsfix" ). By combining these issues, the article is more likely to be read by someone who is interested in one of those three topics than if the article was written about a single issue.
The article “Welfare Reform as We Knew It” also draws in key political figures such as Romney and Obama to express their stances on the issue ("Wall Street Journal" A16). The article is geared more toward expressing factual information to the reader in an educational fashion. The article clearly details pros and cons of each plan of action from the two political candidates ("Wall Street Journal" A16). This article’s goal is to be informative and encourage the reader to learn more about the issue.
Overall, rhetoric is continuously used when we view media around use. Different techniques are employed to both engage and educate us.
Gilens, M. Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy. University of Chicago Press, 1999. 89.
"Gov. Rick Perry wants drug testing for those on welfare." Newsfix 15 11 2012, n. pag. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.
"Welfare Reform as we know it." Wall Street Journal 20 09 2012, A16. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.