Chapter

Rhetorics in the Space of Contemporary U.S. Opinion

Ronald N. Jacobs

in The Space of Opinion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199797929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944170 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797929.003.0006
Rhetorics in the Space of Contemporary U.S. Opinion

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Chapter 6 draws on large samples of opinion texts from The New York Times, USA Today, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Face the Nation, Crossfire, and Hannity & Colmes to describe and compare the rhetorical features of opinionated speech in the contemporary U.S. space of opinion. In a close analysis of performative styles (argumentative, informative, reframing, asking questions), imagined audiences (elites or wider publics), and claims to authority (direct claims of experience or expertise, indirect evocations of scientific or historical authority, and a wide range of intertextual claims to authority), it shows that there are complex associations between the social characteristics of speakers, the communicative organization of opinion formats, and the rhetorical features of specific opinion texts. It is not so much whether a particular commentary or format is objective or non-objective, or if an opinion style is inclusive or elitist. Rather, on particular issues different opinion styles shape the opinion narrative in different ways.

Keywords: opinion format; opinion styles; imagined audience; claims to authority; expertise; intertextuality; Jurgen Habermas; New York Times; USA Today; The NewsHour

Chapter.  16579 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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