Rhetorical Analysis of a News Source
This rhetorical analysis will give you the opportunity to practice careful reading and analysis of an article. First, you must purchase the most recent copy of one of the following: The New Yorker magazine, The New York Times, Time magazine, or Newsweek. Please bring the magazine or paper to class on Wednesday October 10th
Choose an article that you find to be compelling, or one that you feel contains flaws. Read it closely several times, annotating it and paying attention to the logic and reasoning presented. Note that you can also use a visual text for this assignment (a political cartoon, magazine cover, or advertisement).
- Write a persuasive interpretation of your text, considering the messages within in it and the cultural reality it reflects/creates. Be sure to consider the assumptions underlying the text, addressing questions of layout, logic, organization, audience, and purpose. Some things to keep in mind:
- You are not responding directly to the content of the article itself. Although your essay will contain summary of article, the heart of this paper is your ability to consider the “means of persuasion”—that is the rhetorical strategies the author has used to make his or her argument.
- Questions to consider: What is the writer’s background? How does this affect the content of the article? What assumptions about the subject does the writer seem to have? What is the author’s purpose in writing? Is this stated directly or not? Does the author rely primarily on logic or emotion? How do they use outside sources? Who is their audience? Did they effectively reach this intended audience? Why or why not? See more questions below.
- Questions for visual arguments: What is the main idea being presented? How did the use of color add or detract from this idea? What purpose does the visual achieve? What audience is it designed to appeal to? How does scale (relative size) within the visual enhance meaning? Does the image incorporate text? Is it effective? Is the use of sexual imagery or violent imagery used to elicit a reaction from the audience? Does it achieve its purpose?
- For more information about rhetorical analysis and analyzing visual sources, please review pages 67-82 and 53-64 in your text. Page 82 offers a sample rhetorical analysis.
- You must develop a clear thesis about the article you are analyzing. Is it effective or not? Why or why not? Make sure the analysis in the body paragraphs supports your thesis (conclusion).
- Please proofread! WR 122 assumes that you have a solid understanding of structure and grammar. Please revise accordingly. • Your paper should be three to five pages long, double-spaced, MLA format.
- Please plan to receive feedback on this assignment from the writing center, either online or on campus.
Shitty Rough Draft:
Rhetorical Analysis of a News Source Monson WR 122 1. What is the intended audience of this source? (Demographics, education level, race, gender, age). What assumptions does the source make about their audience (friendly, neutral, hostile, informed/uninformed)? In your opinion, does the source correctly identify the audience and what they want? Why or why not?
- What is the purpose of the source? What are they trying to accomplish? Do they state this purpose directly or is it implied?
- What can you determine about the background of the source? (Where is it located? Who are the creators? What is their reputation?) How does this influence content?
- Does the source seem to rely mainly on logos or pathos or a blend of the two? Is this effective or not?
- How do the visual images/design of the source add to the content? Is the content sexualized or violent? Discuss the scale (relative size of images) within the layout of the source. What impact does this have?
- Examine the quality of the evidence used to support the claims. Does it seem to be handled ethically? Can you see a consistent “slant” or “spin” among the articles? Are the sources cited and does it seem they are using reputable evidence or not?
Article to be analyzed
Each year, executives at every television network except one face the same dilemma: what to air during the Super Bowl? Before 2005, Animal Planet usually punted, airing nature documentaries that no one was expected to watch. But Melinda Toporoff, an executive producer, wanted to compete. “I was inspired by the Yule log,” she said. “Something you can just stare at and surrender to.”
Her version was the Puppy Bowl. Toporoff was onto something. Next Sunday, almost nine million viewers—the same number as have clicked on “My Dog Can Talk!” on YouTube—will tune in to Puppy Bowl IX. For every ten Americans who want to watch large men concuss one another, there is one who wants to surrender to cuteness. Beyoncé may be singing on CBS, but the Animal Planet halftime show features a kitten scrimmage, with hedgehog cheerleaders dressed in tutus.
Unlike the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl is not live; it was filmed at a studio in the West Fifties in November. Dan Schachner, the actor who plays the referee, looks like a thin Jimmy Kimmel. He is not tall, but, wading through an ankle-deep scrum of puppies, he looked like a giant. He wore a jersey with black-and-white vertical stripes, pants tucked into kneesocks, and a whistle around his neck. “That’s a penalty!” he said, picking up a dun-colored terrier mix by the scruff. “Biting the retriever. Keep your snout to yourself, buddy.” “Dan, can we try that again?” a voice from the control room said. “The pup looks freaked out.” Take two. “Perfect, Dan.”
Schachner released the terrier and climbed down from the wood-and-Astroturf set, which looked like a gridiron-themed pet-store window and smelled like a pet-store carpet. “If you were to call a foul every time they relieved themselves, you’d never get anything done,” Schachner said. “You’ve got to pick your battles.” The Puppy Bowl is not a game of strategy. Players are let loose, ten at a time, on a three-by-six-yard “field” strewn with chew toys.
Though the puppies don’t know it, their objective is to drag one of the chew toys into either end zone. There are no teams and no uniforms, and everyone is a running back. If two players are in contact with a toy when it crosses the goal line, Schachner awards a double touchdown.
There is a water bowl on the ten-yard line, in case anyone gets thirsty. “Most of the magic happens in the editing room,” Toporoff said—ninety hours are condensed to less than two. The magic does not reliably happen on the field, because puppies are unreliable. They can be aggressive one minute—an offscreen American Humane Association observer breaks up fights, usually by clapping—and listless the next. Trying to put a hopeful spin on several scoreless minutes, Schachner said, “It’s a defensive battle!” It looked more like a sniffing-and-napping battle.
This year, the cast includes sixty-three puppies, twenty-one kittens, and nine baby hedgehogs. There were also dozens of humans, who wrangled, styled, photographed, and cleaned up after the talent. The dogs, all from shelters, were between eight and fifteen weeks old.
“We get tons of calls from people wanting to adopt them,” Toporoff said. Brian Williams, the news anchor and a longtime Puppy Bowl fan, showed up to tape a segment for “NBC Nightly News.” “Has anyone said already that these guys are doing better than the Jets and the Giants yesterday?” he asked.
He looked around at the quadrupedal athletes. “You’d have to be Saddam Hussein to not love these puppies.” Toporoff showed Williams to the set. “Don’t kneel, because there’s a lot of pee,” she said. Williams, crouching, said, “The Puppy Bowl is like a Friday night in any big city—there’s drinking, there’s humping.” He paused, and then asked his crew to edit that out. His daughter Allison, a star of the HBO series “Girls,” had come with him. She was holding a sleeping Catahoula-Lab mix named Pearl.
“Every year, I swear, it’s more Puppy Bowl than Super Bowl.” When her father finished taping, she approached him, carrying Pearl. “She is ridiculously cute,” Williams said. Pearl woke up, yawned, and rearranged herself in Allison’s arms. Smiling giddily, Allison said, “Oh. My. God.” Turning to Toporoff, her father said, “Thank you for ruining our lives.” “Now is the time when you tell the daughter, ‘You can’t have the puppy,’ ” Allison said. Williams snapped a photo and e-mailed it to his wife. “Let’s talk to Mommy tonight,” he said. ?