Articles on Rhetoric

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All rhetorical techniques are designed to enhance one of the three pillars of communication: ethos, logos and pathos. Benson Kua

Think you know your rhetorical structures? I can’t even …

We all use rhetorical structures. But, unless we're skilled in their use, as politicians and advertisers clearly are, we don't necessarily grasp their full manipulative power.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Fox News debate in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28. Carlos Barria/Reuters

Politics of resentment on full display at GOP debate

According to an expert in political rhetoric, we shouldn't underestimate the power of the candidates who can skillfully tap into voter resentments.
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 4 2015. Jonathan Drake/Reuters

The rhetorical brilliance of Trump the demagogue

An expert on American political rhetoric breaks down Donald Trump's rhetorical prowess, pointing to the various techniques the candidate has mastered.
Winston Churchill: a titan of oratory.

How to make a historic speech

Political speeches can teach us a great deal about how to win over an audience – and we can all apply the simple lessons.
When the President of the United States burst into song on the weekend, music amplified the emotional force of his words. EPA/Richard Ellis

Obama’s Amazing Grace shows how music can lift oratory high

Only a hard heart could fail to respond on some emotional level when Barack Obama, eulogising at one of the most emotionally and racially charged funerals in US history, started singing Amazing Grace.
Tony Abbott is offering logical evidence and emotional appeals, but the rhetorical problem is his own loss of credibility and authority. AAP/Mick Tsikas

The prime ministerial promise to change: can it work?

“Is it me?” That was the question John Howard reportedly asked his cabinet colleagues as his government remained stubbornly behind in the polls in 2007. One of those colleagues, Tony Abbott, now confronts…
Noel Pearson’s speech has been hailed as one of the great Australian political speeches. What were its stylistic characteristics? AAP Image/Fairfax Pool, Peter Rae

A closer look at Noel Pearson’s eulogy for Gough Whitlam

Gough Whitlam was a prime minister unsuccessful in three of his five federal election campaigns, including 1975’s extremely divisive contest. Somehow, though, his death has sparked an outpouring of kind…
When a mosque is spray-painted with the word ‘Evil’ following last week’s raids, it’s a sign the community is getting the wrong message from the anti-terrorism campaign. AAP/Matt Jacob

Responsible rhetoric is a crucial part of the anti-terror armoury

While Australia has rightly joined the international fight to bring down Islamic State (IS) terrorists, at home its anti-terror campaign is fuelling more problems. For example, following high-profile anti-terror…
45 seconds. One billion viewers. No pressure. Richard Harbaugh/EPA

Oscars speeches dos and don’ts – some lessons from history

For some they’re tearful, for others fearful; and for those of us watching they’re sometimes too much to bear. Oscars acceptance speeches offer a microcosmic view into a microcosm: a small world writ large…
Top of the pops: Peter Costello led the chorus of “Labor’s debt and deficit” long before and throughout the Coalition’s dozen years in office. AAP/Alan Porritt

When will Labor get its own ‘infinite bottles of pop’ song?

Have you heard this song? Infinite bottles of pop on the wall, Infinite bottles of pop, Take one down, Share it around, Infinite bottles of pop on the wall. It’s the 21st-century version of “ten green…

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