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."
"This includes exchanges among people characterized by honesty, accountability to a shared reality of empirical facts, and a willingness to hear considered opinions that are not one's own."
"It is only through a commitment to inclusive models of rhetorical interaction and through the censure of abusive, destructive rhetoric that communities of equals are built and sustained."
"Rhetoric has long associated its birth as a discipline with the emergent political practice of democracy; however, the historic foundations of both have a disturbing affinity with racism."
"This embedded and systemic relation has allowed injustices to continue for centuries and cultivated power structures that normalize and justify violences, as grotesquely witnessed currently in the United States, where the mobbing thugs proudly displayed Nazi, anti-Semitic,"
"and white power apparel, where citizens and political leaders led and endorsed a wide range of acts of voter suppression, but most recently in the Georgia elections in DeKalb and Fulton counties where insufficient polling places, proposed roll purges, and accusations of fraud"
"threatened to limit the rights of Black voters.

We affirm our commitment to the process of deliberation and we simultaneously acknowledge the difficulty--if not impossibility--of doing so when people espouse or circulate false information."
"Likewise, deliberation becomes impossible when politicians embrace the symbolic power of rhetoric but take no responsibility for its immediate consequences or the long term effects of a toxic rhetorical culture that spans years of political behavior."
"Rhetoric was conceived of as the art of making persuasive arguments in order to decide “what to do” in the face of uncertainty. It has never been just “talking points,” “hot air” or “empty words.” Words matter, and when they are used they have material consequences."
"Being with others requires that we use our words, our language. Admittedly, language is unstable and uncertain, but that is precisely why we need rhetoric: to grapple, collectively, with such instability and uncertainty, to make the best cases for our behaviors, actions,"
"institutions, laws, and judgments. Otherwise there is simply violence."
"The Board of Directors of the RSA joins with other academic associations & concerned citizens to demand that our elected representatives, their surrogates, & the media tell the truth, abide by the law & the Constitution, & take responsibility for their rhetoric and its effects."

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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
"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
Read 7 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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