Com/220 Bias, Rhetorical Devices and Argumentation

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COM/220
Bias, Rhetorical Devices and Argumentation
August 4, 2010
Mike Smith

The” Citizen Kane” speech given by Charles Foster Kane in 1941, who was campaigning for Governor starts off his speech by addressing his audience, attacking his opponent by using various fallacies of illogical argument.. First he starts off with blaming “boss Jim W. Getty and his political machine” the techniques that are used here are for the propose of making himself appear stronger, in his views and political agendas. This type of fallacy is called scapegoating, blaming the problems on his opponent’s convictions and building confidence in the listeners. Kane also uses Ad hominen, which is where the candidate is verbally attacking his opponent rather than the argument. Kane begins begging the question by insinuating that he will be elected. An example of a rhetorical device would be alliteration, When he talks about “the slum child, the working man, the underprivileged, underpaid and underfed.” He has a political bias against his opponent Getty’s, suggesting by his speech that his opponent is bad or evil and that he is the good guy. He ends with a little “Apple Polishing”, buttering up his audience making himself out to be the obvious best choice and that they were making the right choice to elect him. He used parallelism when he said that he had more than a hope and that Getty’s had less than a chance.

Kane’s arguments against Jim Getty’s were not or did not seem to be based on fact but on a political bias, and an assumption that Getty’s was guilty. Kane left the impression that he could fix all the problems of society and that he was on everyone’s side, and by stating it in the way that he did he persuaded his audience he was on there side, it left the assumption that Jim Gettys was not on there side, but their enemy. By promising to appoint a special district attorney to “indictment, prosecute, and convict Boss Jim W. Gettys” he is putting out the assumption of his quilt...
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