"Trump has lost his agenda-setting power & he's trying to force positive news stories about his presidency by doing a 'highlights reel' of events & photo-ops," said Mercieca, who wrote "Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump." usatoday.com/story/news/pol…
I hope media will think carefully about how (or if) they report Trump's speech today. They have all the power in this situation. Treat this the same way you'd treat a speech delivered by a terrorist group leader. Don't livestream/tweet it.
Whatever he says today is not news. It's marketing. It's a distraction. It's likely further incitement. There will be a small audience in Alamo, TX, let that be how far his message spreads. #DeplatformTrump
I'm watching Trump deliver his speech to an audience of 10s in Alamo, TX on @cspan. He hasn't said anything interesting & is doing what I said, trying to distract our attention & market/frame his presidency as a success.
He's very concerned about his legacy and would very much like for Biden to keep his wall up. He's using the same fear appeals he's used since 2015 on the supposed "danger." Also, repeatedly (!!) praising law enforcement.
The way constantly praised law enforcement is worrying--it's an us/them polarization strategy that he's used repeatedly.
He again distanced himself from the insurrectionists. He didn't give voice to their concerns. At least there was that.

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More from @jenmercieca

12 Jan
I understand that Trump claims that people who read his speech thought it was appropriate. I'm an expert in rhetoric. It was not appropriate. He used war rhetoric and incited a violent insurrection against the United States.
Trump's war rhetoric used a combo of four things:
1) exterminationism (a plague must be removed to be pure again);
2) ad baculum (threats of force);
3) "we" are good, strong, pure, sure of victory;
4) we are innocent victims.
1) Exterminationist rhetoric (there's a plague we must remove to be pure again): "our country will be destroyed, and we’re not going to stand for that." "The radical left knows exactly what they’re doing. They’re ruthless and it’s time that somebody did something about it."
Read 27 tweets
12 Jan
This @rhetsoc Board of Directors’ Statement Condemning Insurrectional Rhetoric and Resulting Violence 1/6/21 is very good:

"Scholars of rhetoric have viewed the recent domestic terrorist attacks on the Capitol and the principles of democracy with horror."
The events of this week result from years of political rhetoric that has dehumanized individuals and groups, encouraged violence, and eroded the norms of responsible governance."
"As its Board of Directors and as a scholarly organization, the Rhetoric Society of America is dedicated to the deliberative potential of rhetoric through reasoned disagreement that disavows violence, condemns white supremacy, and exhibits the best ideals of human communication."
Read 14 tweets
10 Jan
There's been a lot of interest in my Trump book since he incited an insurrection on Wednesday. I felt very nervous about publishing a book that calls the sitting president a demagogue, but I think it's clear now that's absolutely what he is.
I hope my book will continue to be useful for people to understand how a demagogue became president in the first place. ImageImage
My editor sent me a note on Wednesday asking if I was working on a sequel. My response was "lol/cry." Someone else can write that book.
Read 4 tweets
10 Jan
The de-platforming of Trump is an especially important moment in the relationship between the press and the presidency. Here's an article as background: oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/…
Presidential rhetoric scholars explain that presidents before Wilson (maybe TR) rarely addressed the public. Most of their communication was ceremonial or directed to other branches of government.
But early 20th century presidents began to use new media technology to "go over the heads of Congress" and speak directly to the people. They tried to get the public to put pressure on Congress to enact their agenda.
Read 30 tweets
9 Jan
This @chrislhayes segment from last night about how violent the insurrection actually was, is very good (and disturbing): msnbc.com/all-in/watch/c…
There's a lot of interest in the relationship between communication & violence right now, so I'm going to thread some things I've written that you can read if you want to learn more. >>
First, an open access essay on "dangerous demagogues" and "weaponized communication"--using language as force to intimidate. It's got some parts from my Trump book in it & examples of Trump, Alex Jones & white nationalists: oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/…
Read 17 tweets

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