The Rhetorical Continuum
information given by
a group in support of
their own beliefs or
The end goal of propaganda is to persuade the
reader or listener to "buy into" something – to
influence their behavior. Information or ideas
are methodically spread to promote or injure a
cause, movement, nation, etc.
Can you think of everyday examples of
Examples include commercials,
advertisements, movie trailers,
lawn signs, etc.
Advertisers use propaganda techniques
to convince us to consume;
• Political parties use propaganda to gain
support from voters;
• Health officials and social organizations
use propaganda in public service
• Propaganda can also play a role in news
reporting by journalists.)
The Greek philosopher
Aristotle divided the
means of persuasion into
Pathos, and Logos.
If people believe and trust in you,
you’re more likely to persuade
me! I’ve been there
before. I’m just
Facts, numbers, and information
can be very convincing.
Snickers bar has
280 calories and 30
grams of sugar.
That’s not very
Getting people to feel happy, sad,
or angry can help your argument.
donation might just
get this puppy off
the street and into
a good home.
There are techniques designed to fool us
because they appeal to our
rather than to our
Linking negative words or phrases
with an opposing person, group, or
cause to persuade an audience to
reject something, based on
emotional response to words rather
than on careful consideration of
is really name-calling in reverse - words with good
connotations - "virtue words“:
democracy, family values (when used positively),
rights, civilization, even the word American.
The words and phrases are vague and suggest different
things to different people but the implication is always
favorable. It cannot be proved true or false because it really
says little or nothing at all.
Distorting or omitting facts; telling halftruths
Card stacking is a device of propaganda which selects only the facts
that support the propagandist's point of view, and ignores all the
For example: "Representive McNerd introduced
more new bills than any other member of the
congress," and neglect to mention that most of
them were so preposterous that they were
laughed off the floor.
For example, if a brand of snack food is
loaded with sugar (and calories), the
commercial may boast that the product is
low in fat, which implies that it is also
low in calories. Card-Stacking is a
prevalent rational propaganda technique
that gives us only part of the picture.
A speaker attempts to
convince the audience that
the speaker is “one of
Bill Clinton eats at McDonalds.
Cindy McCain raced cars.
Obama enjoys riding a bike.
George Bush, Sr. hates broccoli.
The bandwagon technique
appeals to the reader’s need to
belong and to do what everyone is
Should you buy a
product just because it
is the most popular?
Important people or experts can
make your argument seem more
Example: Former U.S.
president Bill Clinton
thinks that junk food
should be taken out of
Big Name Strategies:
• This man seems like a
normal, likeable guy.
• The text is written as if
he is talking directly to
• The picture also uses
appeal. Can you
technique uses a
famous person (ethos
appeals) or someone
who looks like a normal,
The testimonial tries to
connect the writer’s
opinion to the reader’s
feeling about this
• Jane Russell: "I am delighted with Springboard products
and have felt much better since I started using them."
• Oscar Meyer created an ad for its food products using
George Foreman, a recognizable boxer, as the celebrity
providing a testimonial for the product. Michael Jordan
is the most commonly used sports figure for
• Tiger Woods lends his name to Nike.
• Testimonials are intensely emotionally appealing words
so closely associated with highly valued concepts and
beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting
information or reason.
Transfer is a technique used to carry over
the authority and approval of something we
respect and revere to something the
propagandist would have us accept.
Propagandists often employ symbols (e.g.,
waving the flag) to stir our emotions and win
Faulty Cause and Effect
Confusing coincidental time
sequence with actual
causation, sometimes called
• This device sets up a cause and effect
relationship that may not be true. Just because
one thing happened after another doesn't mean
that one caused the other.
• For example: "After I came to office, the rate of
inflation dropped to 6 percent." But did the
person do anything to cause the lower rate of
inflation or was it the result of other conditions?
Would the rate of inflation have dropped
anyway, even if he hadn't come to office?
• False cause and effect reasoning is terribly
persuasive because it seems so logical. Don't be
taken in by false cause and effect; be sure to
ask, "Is there enough evidence to prove that this
cause led to that effect? Could there have been
any other causes?"
There are other
techniques used in
(the right time and right place)
Try to convince your audience that
this issue is so important they
must act now.
Example: This is a
one-time offer. You
can’t get this price
Using reliable research can help
your argument seem convincing.
Example: A recent
study found that
students who watch
TV during the week
don’t do as well in
-A word or phrase connected with a
specialized group and is used to
impress people: "'Sensitivity' is the
buzzword in the beauty industry this fall"
-A stylish or trendy word or
Songs or rhymes for
you to sing and
"Hungryyyyy, Hungry Jack. They gobble 'em up and
the plate come back for Hungry Jack."
is repeating words several times, so the
public will remember the product.
“Hefty, Hefty, Hefty”
The speaker uses this
technique to direct the
audience to focus on a
significant fear instead of on
the actual proposal or item.
• A television commercial shows a terrible car
accident to remind the viewer to wear a
• An insurance company shows pictures of
burned-out homes to encourage people to
purchase home-owners insurance.
The loaded language
technique uses words
that cause a strong
Once the reader is
feeling strongly, he or
she may be more likely
to agree with the writer.
• Snob appeal is a technique that uses the
reader’s desire to be better than others and
connects this feeling to the writer’s opinion.
• “Better” can mean more beautiful, more
athletic, smarter, or richer than the average
This model is Cybil
Shepard, who is
popular with older
famous models to
people want to look
as beautiful as the
An Ad for a Low Fat Frozen Dinner
To what basic need does this ad appeal?
This technique demands a response
f rom the audience. A question is
asked and the viewer or listener is
supposed to answer in such a way
as to af f irm the product' s
"Plymouth--isn't that the kind of car America wants?"
Puns are words that have more than one
meaning purposefully used to conjure up both
meanings . They make for funny slogans
because they make a person think of dual
A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive
expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something
unpleasant to the receiver.
People are not fat; they are "full-figured", "large",
They don't smell; they have "body odor".
They are not old; they are "senior citizens" in their
They don't fly second class; they fly "coach".
They don't buy second-hand; they buy "pre-owned".
Reach your ideal size with Jenny Craig=
Lose your fat.
The slippery-slope argument is the
assumption that one event can
cause an undesirable chain
reaction of events. The slippery
slope fallacy is a case of if-then.
Slippery Slope Examples:
(i) If we pass laws against private nuclear weapons,
then it won't be long before we pass laws against
guns, and then we will begin to restrict other rights,
and finally we will end up living in a communist state.
Thus, we should not ban private nuclear weapons.
(ii) You should never gamble. Once you start
gambling you find it hard to stop. Soon you are
spending all your money on gambling, and eventually
you will turn to crime to support your earnings.
(iii) If I make an exception for you then I have to
make an exception for everyone.
(i) If we pass laws against private nuclear
weapons, then it won't be long before we
pass laws against guns, and then we will
begin to restrict other rights, and finally we
will end up living in a communist state. Thus,
we should not ban private nuclear weapons.
(ii) You should never gamble. Once you start
gambling you find it hard to stop. Soon you
are spending all your money on gambling,
and eventually you will turn to crime to
support your earnings.
(iii) If I make an exception for you then I have
to make an exception for everyone.
Circular Reasoning- is a restatement
using stronger or different words
In circular reasoning, the speaker uses part
of an argument as evidence to support the
argument. This fallacy "goes around in a
circle;" the reason given is the same as the
Circular Reasoning Example
• Ms. Hundley is the best teacher
because she is the best teacher.
• Chocolate is my favorite because
I like it the most.
To say, “You should exercise because it’s
good for you” is really saying, “You should
exercise because you should exercise.”
Of Mice and Men is really popular because a
lot of people like it. Popular and a lot of
people like it mean the same thing.
An obvious non-smoker blurts: “Can
a person quit smoking? Of course —
as long as he has sufficient
willpower and really wants to quit.”
A person makes a claim then argues for it by
advancing grounds whose meaning is simply
equivalent to that of the original claim. This is
also called "begging the question."
Example: Someone argues that schools
should continue to have textbooks read from
cover to cover because, otherwise, students
would not be well-educated. When asked to
define what "well-educated“ means, the
person says, "knowing what is in the
Can you figure out these
products based on one letter?
Do you know these products?
• "I am stuck on ______, and _______
stuck on me."
• "Roll that beautiful bean footage"
• “Crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery
• "Eat mor chikin"
• “I’m lovin’ it.”
• “Yo Quiero _______.”