Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology

Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology

Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology

Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology

Synopsis

Now available in paperback, Cold War Rhetoric is the first book in twenty years to bring a sustained rhetorical critique to bear on central texts of the Cold War. The rhetorical texts that are the subject of this book include speeches by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, the Murrow-McCarthy confrontation on CBS, the speeches and writings of peace advocates, and the recurring theme of unAmericanism as it has been expressed in various media throughout the Cold War years. Each of the authors brings to his texts a particular approach to rhetorical criticism -- strategic, metaphorical, or ideological. Each provides an introductory chapter on methodology that explains the assumptions and strengths of their particular approach.

Excerpt

Robert L. Ivie

Edward R. Murrow's celebrated confrontation with Senator Joseph R. McCarthy on "See It Now" introduced network television to the ancient rhetorical genre of accusation and defense. Murrow's half-hour "report" on March 9, 1954, condemning McCarthy's indiscriminate campaign against so-called "Fifth-Amendment Communists," was the first instance of national television being used to attack an individual. McCarthy defended himself a month later, on the April 6th edition of "See It Now," by accusing Murrow of being "the leader of the jackal pack which is always found at the throat of anyone who dares to expose Communists and traitors." Their exchange set off a wave of viewer response, favoring Murrow as much as fifteen to one after the initial broadcast and continuing in his favor at the ratio of two to one even after McCarthy's well- publicized reply. McCarthy's iron grip on public opinion had been broken. His fall from political power, hastened that spring by a miserable account of himself in the televised Army-McCarthy hearings, was complete in December when the Senate voted to censure their wayward colleague for "contemptuous, contumacious, denunciatory, unworthy, inexcusable and reprehensible" conduct.

The rhetorical dynamics of Murrow's encounter with McCarthy were a function of each program's relationship to the other, for, as Halford Ross Ryan has argued, kategoria and apologia are interconnected genres best examined together in "speech sets." Consistent with Ryan's model of speech sets, Murrow's accusation sought to affirm the image of McCarthy as a dangerous demagogue while McCarthy's apologia attempted to purify his public persona as a courageous crusader against Communist subversives. Thus, Murrow's condemnation of McCarthy's "unscrupulous," "bully-boy" tactics served as the controlling exigence of the senator's counterblast. Furthermore, both broadcasts intertwined issues of character with a concern over questions of policy -- how best to cope with the domestic threat to freedom -- and each of the four stases of . . .

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