Persuasive Encounters: Case Studies in Constructive Confrontation

By Gary C. Woodward | Go to book overview

1
The Politics of Confrontation: From John Lennon to Wendell Phillips

One of my greatest pleasures in writing has come from the thought that perhaps my works might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position.1

John Kenneth Galbraith

Among the many varied forms of human communication, one of the most important but least studied is public persuasion directed to a hostile audience. Persuaders usually take what theorist Herbert Simons calls the "co-active" approach, using appeals that minimize conflict and maximize shared themes.2 Unlike John Kenneth Galbraith, whose observation opens this chapter, most communicators do not set out to upset or "annoy" anyone. But Galbraith has described an important and valid rhetorical motive: It is intrinsically interesting and often socially useful to confront an audience with ideas its members do not uphold.

A persuasive encounter occurs when an individual attempts to confront and challenge a hostile audience within a public setting. An audience is considered "hostile" if many of its members disagree with the general conclusions advocated by the communicator they have gathered together to hear. Persuasion is "public" when arguments offered to a group are widely reported in the mass media. Representative examples examined in this book include a widely admired 1958 speech given to the Radio and Television News Directors Association by Edward R. Murrow and a more recent "Donahue" program taped in the Soviet Union. In both instances, these broadcasters became advocates for viewpoints signifi

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Persuasive Encounters: Case Studies in Constructive Confrontation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Title Page *
  • 1 - The Politics of Confrontation: From John Lennon to Wendell Phillips 1
  • Notes 23
  • 2 - Persuasive Encounters: A Theoretical Overview 27
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Edward Kennedy: Behind Enemy Lines 53
  • Notes 75
  • 4 - "This Just Might Do Nobody Any Good": Edward R. Murrow and the News Directors 77
  • Notes 96
  • 5 - The Theater of Conflict: "Donahue" in Russia 99
  • Notes 129
  • 6 - Thomas Szasz and the War against Coercive Psychiatry 133
  • Notes 159
  • 7 - "How Am I Doing?": Gorilla Politics in the Town Meetings of Ed Koch 163
  • Notes 185
  • Selected Bibliography 189
  • Index 193
  • About the Author *
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