Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dissecting The Rhetoric of Ethan Winner

Eswinner was the screen name of the individual who posted several Youtube videos sliming Sarah Palin. Dr. Rusty Shackelford at the JAWA Report did a yeoman's piece of investigation into the origin of these videos, finding that the work likely was from an individual associated with a particular PR firm associated with David Axlerod. A person identifying themself as Ethan Winner has responded. M├╝nzenberg, blogging at Soob, has done a formal dissection of Mr. Winner's rhetoric. For students of argument and persuasive writing, it makes for a very interesting read:

Typically PR and communication hacks have had training, at sometime, in speech writing and rhetoric. This letter is a good, short example of rhetoric.

let us narrow the view and look at the persuasive appeals this letter makes.

Typically rhetoric makes three appeals:

Ethos - appeal to character

Logos - appeal to reason

Pathos - appeal to emotion

They are generally in this order with the meat of the rhetorical piece being the appeal to logos.

A writer, like Mr. Winner here, will open with an appeal to his character. He is trying to appear credible and remove any prejudices you might have against him. In this case he fully admits to have producing the video. He also then admits to having paid someone to do the voice-over. Honesty like this is disarming. With that out of the way he moves into the main body of a rhetorical work: appeal to reason. . . .

Read the entire post.


M├╝nzenberg said...

Thanks for the link mate. Glad you liked it.

Anonymous said...


Watch this short video, building on Rusty's work. You will hear the voice from the paid ad, the hit piece, and a voice over actress in Chicago. Are they the same?