Saturday, March 20, 2010

Right-Wing Thugs

I was holding a conference with a student in my office the other day, discussing the rhetoric of persuasion, and somehow Fox News and talk radio came up.  "Well, yes," I said.  "But really that's not how you want to argue."

She looked dubious.

"No, really," I said.  "It's not effective, in the long run."

She did not seem convinced.

"I know it's very nearly all you hear," I said, and bit my tongue hard to keep from adding, in Arkansas, "but in fact if you move out of that certain realm, talk radio and cable network news, up into serious journalism and academic discourse, you'll find less ad hominem attacks and strawmen and," I managed not to say crap, "fake data, and more, well, more of an attempt, at least, to reach the truth through argument."

She smiled politely:  no doubt remembering everything her preacher had told her, warning her about socialist/atheist professors like me, who would try to lure her away from the paths of righteousness with my wily ways.

I repressed a sigh.  "Anyway," I said, handing her back her draft.  "Find better sources."

1 comment:

Livia said...

You crazy liberal you, still thinking that facts are relevant. (Thanks!)