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The Space of OpinionMedia Intellectuals and the Public Sphere$
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Ronald N. Jacobs and Eleanor Townsley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797929

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797929.001.0001

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Rhetorics in the Space of Contemporary U.S. Opinion

Rhetorics in the Space of Contemporary U.S. Opinion

Chapter:
(p.134) 6 Rhetorics in the Space of Contemporary U.S. Opinion
Source:
The Space of Opinion
Author(s):

Ronald N. Jacobs

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797929.003.0006

Chapter 6 draws on large samples of opinion texts from The New York Times, USA Today, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Face the Nation, Crossfire, and Hannity & Colmes to describe and compare the rhetorical features of opinionated speech in the contemporary U.S. space of opinion. In a close analysis of performative styles (argumentative, informative, reframing, asking questions), imagined audiences (elites or wider publics), and claims to authority (direct claims of experience or expertise, indirect evocations of scientific or historical authority, and a wide range of intertextual claims to authority), it shows that there are complex associations between the social characteristics of speakers, the communicative organization of opinion formats, and the rhetorical features of specific opinion texts. It is not so much whether a particular commentary or format is objective or non-objective, or if an opinion style is inclusive or elitist. Rather, on particular issues different opinion styles shape the opinion narrative in different ways.

Keywords:   opinion format, opinion styles, imagined audience, claims to authority, expertise, intertextuality, Jurgen Habermas, New York Times, USA Today, The NewsHour

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