Media Literacy

How the Media Persuade: Verbally and Visually



The term, "Rhetoric" has traditionally referred to written or oral persuasive discourse. Unfortunately, when one sees or hears the word used today in the modern media, it is improperly used. Newscasters, and political pundits might use the term "Clinton’s rhetoric or the cigarette company “R.J. Reynold’s rhetoric to imply that the individual is not telling the truth. One must recognize that being rhetorical is an attempt to sway an audience using all the persuasive means available. Rhetoric is an honorable term and those who are media literate recognize it as such.

Today, in analyzing the various media one can extend the definition of rhetoric to encompass written, oral and "visual" discourse.

Images – Pictures carry enormous impact in the persuasive process, especially if they are used to create a metaphor. A metaphor is a literary term that establishes a comparison between two things to make a statement that carries implicit positive or negative connotations. Political cartoons often work through the use of metaphor.