2023-2024 Catalog

WRD 287 Rhetorical Fault Lines: Journalism, Persuasion, Propaganda

The 21st century has seen an abrupt escalation of government, corporate, and nonprofit institutions' use of technology-sharpened rhetorical tools to disseminate information and, increasingly, disinformation to individuals and the public. Journalism, one of democracy's most important forces for distinguishing truth from propaganda, has simultaneously been decimated by technological and economic change. This course offers an insider's perspective on the theory and practice of rhetorical persuasion. This course will examine the forces that shape public opinion about recent history's most significant issues, including climate disruption, education, immigration, and war. With a focus on opinion journalism, this course examines historical and current practices globally in examples such as Nazi and Stalinist propaganda in WWII, to international discourse on Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Students will learn to write and critique editorials, op-eds, blog posts, and strategic communications' plans driven by social media messaging, while scrutinizing the shared interests and deep tensions between journalism and public relations, publicity and marketing.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Global Connections