The quiet consumption of news can sustain a polarized political environment.
In Kenneth Burke's 'The War of Words,' the late rhetorical theorist picks apart the little ways news articles can subtly influence readers – and harden divisions.
After the Manafort and Cohen news dropped, many wondered how Trump would respond. By the following morning, a messaging strategy seemed to coalesce.
Nick Lehr/The Conversation via Reuters and AP Photo
Trump's surrogates have deployed tried and true rhetorical techniques to defend the president.
The culture war isn’t just playing out on the streets. It’s also a struggle over the dominant understanding of certain words.
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Aristotle coined the term "enthymeme" to refer to arguments, words and ideas that are broadly accepted among the people of a nation. So what happens when enthymemes start to disappear?
Coal miner photographed on the job near Richlands, Virginia, in 1974.
Jack Corn/Environmental Protection Agency
In the abstract, this near-mythic figure represents bravery, hard work and manliness.
It was remarkable to see Donald Trump stay on script for a full 80 minutes. It also proved what a gruelling tradition the State of the Union is.
What was between the lines of Scott Morrison’s budget speech?
The Conversation's experts annotate Treasurer Scott Morrison's 2017-18 budget speech.
Theresa May addresses the nation, March 22 2017.
Richard Pohle/The Times/PA Wire/PA Images
For all their defiant talk of 'business as usual', savvy leaders know that any good response to a crisis is also an emotional performance.
A matter of tone.
Whatever you think of her politics, May's decision to rise above divisive tough talk was an admirable one.
President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
Patrick Semansky/AP Photo
An address that's normally a call for unity instead mirrored the rhetoric of his campaign: unfocused, contradictory and divisive.
Ready to roll: Trump’s inauguration stage.
Trump will be the 44th man to take to the inaugural podium. Very few have left a mark on it.
One to remember.
Heading into the last days of the Obama administration, the outgoing first lady cemented a noble legacy for herself.
A political sign in West Virginia reflects the claim that the Obama administration, by developing policies to reduce carbon emission, was waging a campaign against the industry.
Vicki Smith/AP Photo
Scholars of communications pick apart the rhetoric behind the 'war on coal' and explain why it ultimately benefits the coal industry.
A supporter of the Pirate Party in Reykjavik, Iceland.
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
While the US is reeling from rampant fake online news, political movements in Europe are using the internet as a powerful democratic symbol to win elections. Will cyber-optimism or pessimism win?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a conference for her party.
AP Photo/Martin Meissner
In reelection bid, Merkel's not just up against a xenophobic, nationalist party in Germany. In the wake of Trump’s election, liberal democracies around the world hope she'll defend them, too.
Hillary Clinton gives her concession speech before her staff and supporters.
A good concession speech will use what rhetorical scholars call 'transcendent rhetoric,' which emphasizes conciliatory, unifying language.
Imagine, if you will…
Why is figurative language more powerful – and what feelings exactly does it stir in an audience?
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the October 9 presidential town hall debate.
An expert in political rhetoric singles out Trump's repeated use of reification – the tendency to treat people as things – and the role it's played in his tortured response to the leaked tape.
From Pericles to Trump, a good speech has been an integral part of the democratic process.
Australian politicians – unlike their American counterparts – have largely abandoned the art of stirring speeches. Good rhetoric doesn't equal good policy, but at least it's evidence of imaginative thinking.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he departs a Sept. 13 campaign rally in Clive, Iowa.
The same forces that drive belief in conspiracy theories are the ones driving the rise of Donald Trump. So it's no wonder that, less than two months until the election, he continues to dabble in and promote them.
Protesters wearing masks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump march in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
From Alfonso the Wise's bawdy songs of slander to Ronald Reagan's sunny smile, politics and humor have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. But no one seems to be laughing anymore.