These are the potential questions for the propaganda exam on Friday. Each should be answered in a thoughtful, specific paragraph of 6-10 sentences that demonstrates an understanding of the text, our discussion, and the notes.
- Construct an argument in which you prove Chomsky and Herman wrong. Why might their model not work? Be sure to offer multiple, defended points of opposition. After all, these guys do have PhDs.
- How, according to Orwell, can misused language be used to justify, promote, or defend totalitarianism?
- Explain and analyze Jacques Ellul’s claim that effective propaganda must reach the individual in the masses and masses of individuals.
- Using Jacques Ellul’s “current events man” and Neil Postman’s theory about television spectacle, explain how the news media fails to educate the public in the United States.
- Describe Chomsky and Herman’s concept of framing the debate and explain how the practice undermines democratic discourse in the United States.
- Explain the fundamental dilemma of democracy and explain how the proliferation of propaganda in the United States makes democratic discourse so challenging.
- Explain Chomsky and Herman’s contention that ownership and advertising undermine news coverage and evaluate whether you believe their claims are valid.
- Discuss Neil Postman’s theory about media ecology and explain how he believes we are the product of the dominant media of our time.
Your next analysis essay, about Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, will be due Sunday, March 17 at 12:00 p.m. via Google Docs. A few important tips for the assignment:
- Don’t rely on outside research or information, other than references to history that Lincoln is addressing.
- Be consistent in your tense.
- Offer a compelling thesis
- Don’t forget the most important elements are the analysis of argument and text. Devices are important, but a secondary concern. Always focus on the purpose of his language.
- Review the analysis essay handout if you have questions about structure.
The prompt is located here. Why not start tonight?
Your revisions (printed, attached to the checklist, and stapled to your first draft with all changes bolded) are due Friday in class.
The revision guide is available in the downloads section of the web site.
And here is a sample paragraph from 2014 to help see how you might improve your essays. Please remember to only use this as a guide. Make sure your essay reflects your own language and thought.
Sample Body Paragraph 3
Finally, Carson argues (paragraph 4), through a series of questions, that the blame for the destructive use of pesticides lies not on the farmers, but on the people in charge that are misleading them misleading them. Her excessive use of hypophora combined with anaphora of the word “who” reveals the extent of the damage caused by the poisons and creates a feeling of desperation. She compares the “ever-widening wave of death” to “ripples” in a “still pond,” pointing out that if the use of pesticides continues as it has been, the situation will only get exponentially worse. Carson’s imagery with the “lifeless remains of birds” strives for an emotional response from the readers. She is striving to garner sympathy and anger. She also juxtaposes the “heaps” of dead blackbirds resulting from pesticide application with the “leaves that might have been eaten” if the poisons weren’t used, revealing what is truly sacrificed for a greater crop yield. Carson continually asks who “has the right to decide … that the supreme value is a world without insects,” suspensefully searching for someone to blame. In the end, Carson reveals that the “authoritarian temporarily entrusted with power” is the one responsible for these mass killings. By calling the person in charge an “authoritarian,” she conjures up thoughts of power-abusing dictators. The word “temporarily” suggests that the “authoritarian” isn’t thinking ahead to the long-term effects of pesticide use and is, instead, only focused on the present. This is a dangerous quality for a leader, especially when the fate of the environment is at hand. In addition, Carson contrasts the sole leader making these destructive decisions with the “millions to whom beauty and … nature still have meaning,” demonstrating that she doesn’t blame the public entirely, but suggests that they have the ability to make a change. Carson believes that the public has been cruelly misled, effectively directing the readers’ anger towards the “authoritarian.” By writing that the fault lies in the person wrongly entrusted with power, the public gets inspired to question the leader as Carson questioned them.
The revision of your Sanders essay will be due on Friday. Please print it and attach it to your previous draft. Make sure that all changes are bolded on your second draft.
- The revision guide is available here. Please attach the checklist from it to your revision.
- The CRISPING handout is available here.