Reading Response Assignment
This specific reading from Phalen is pretty complex but very timely. When it was written, a specific furor of discussion around Political Correctness had died back, but it has, as you know, returned. This reading is very interesting, as it attempts to deconstruct the rhetorical strategies (the way the argument is presented) of the book “Illiberal Education” by Dinesh D’Souza. Pleas keep in mind Phalens grounding assertion that narrative is rhetoric, because it is written for a specific audience with the intent to have an impact, to create change. That is certainly true of Illiberal Education.
Phalen is trying to show you how the political and intellectual intentions of D’Souza influence his interpretation of facts.
I believe this is a very familiar concept to all of you.
After reading this essay, please do the following:
Commit the same process on a contemporary news story and post as assignment. For instance, take one section of the news story and explore how the intellectual or other bias leads directly to the interpretation of fact. You can point to language, to the inclusion or exclusion of information, to a gap between information and conclusion. For this assignment I would prefer that you use a source that is traditionally considered a news source (although I will not require creditable or mainstream to be required), in that bloggers and people posting screeds on social media are usually too easy to deconstruct. They announce their bias immediately.
A few tips: It’s easier to do this with a site that has a clear bias, it is easier to do this with material you disagree with from your own bias, and you do not have to do this to the entire article, just enough to prove your point.
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