Essay: Everyone will write a 6-8 page essay, either by themselves or with a partner, to critique a persuasive text. The text can be almost anything persuasive you are interested in writing about. A television episode, film, a presidential candidate’s commercials, a print ad, an editorial, a political cartoon, and even a syllabus would work. Each paper should accomplish the following:
1) summarize the basic features of the text
2) present the major persuasive theories and studies that apply to the text (a literature review)
3) apply those theories and studies to argue for a particular reading/interpretation of the text’s persuasive properties by doing in-depth textual analysis.
The paper emphasizes the third section in terms of both page count and grade.
Network broadcast videos serve to persuade the public about important topics in an effort to draw in a large amount of viewers. From the days of Walter Cronkite to Tom Brokaw, major networks have relied on big personalities and investigative journalism to form the opinions of their viewership. Recently, CBS News aired a video by Mo Rocca discussing Freemasonry in America. In this video, Freemasons are portrayed by Mo Rocca as being a well-intentioned society of individuals who dedicated to community service. The persuasive theories of social judgement and cognitive dissonance were used by CBS to persuade its viewership. CBS’s underlying persuasive message was to convince the public that the Freemasons are a open, beneficial society that is not out to cause harm.
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