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Literature & Language
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The Ways of Silencing (Essay Sample)

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Critique of the article “The Ways of Silencing” by Jason Stanley

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“The Ways of Silencing” Jason Stanley
Jason Stanley, a language and linguistic philosopher, presented his views in the New York Times article titled “The Ways of Silencing”. In the article, Stanley focuses on language, and how it is used to manipulate public opinion. Using language to influence the public may involve hijacking words and twisting their meaning to spread propaganda in order to be in favor of the public opinion. For instance, when a group of people in opposition label an agenda with a connotation of their choice, and begin to spread the connotation widely, they twist the real meaning of the word permanently and influence a large number of public opinion. In the article, Stanley emphasizes that manipulation is possible, and it has been frequently done in politics, pornography, as well as, in governmental public relations for war. This article gives an overview of the essay, and it will analyze whether the author writes with a political bias. It will also focus on some of the questions and examples of the author presented in the article, and address the biasness of argumentative writing, especially in the cases where a writer takes into account opposing view as a way of countering them.
Although the article drew much criticism, especially his views on women and pornography, Stanley does not write the article with a political biasness. He holds that, negative connotations and political propaganda leads to silence. It is evident that political propaganda has been in existence and it has been actively used in the past to silence people. He supports this claim by American that politics does not have any true political dialogue. The professor raises a legitimate view because propaganda has proven to be a key ingredient in the political scene, which in pretense has been continuously used with munificent intentions.
An example of this as mentioned in the article is the claim that the U.S. President, Obama, is not from U.S, and that he is a secret Islamist agent. More so, some criticize president’s policies with the aim to silence him. These accusations call for rational thinking especially during election, because the propaganda undermines the president’s trust silencing his supporters and opinion. By spreading the accusations that the President is an Islamist agent in secret, the public opinion is easily influenced. Individuals are easily swayed by words, and they begin making rational decisions based on their moral grounds. In addition, opponents use the claims that President Obama was not born in United States to portray him as a threat, distrustful, and to draw racial lines. According to some of the comments made by readers of Stanley’s article, they believe that spreading propaganda out of Obama’s birth is likely to make him a threat leading to racial division. Therefore, it is true that rumors and speech have been predominant in the political arena, with the intent to silence supporters or opposition.
An example of silencing that holds ground according to the article is about Fox channel and Operation Freedom in Iraq. Although the channel is described as ‘fair and balanced’, the author believes that the slogan is manipulative. In support of this view, one of the comments from Stanley’s article urges that the channel does not deliver according to the slogan, because propaganda in news broadcasting has become an obvious way of silencing audiences. Most of what is broadcasted in the news is known to be portrayed in a twisted way to influence the public. In addition, it is broadcasted in the way that the television stations choose and want it to be. Thus, it is true that the public has been receiving filtered information, whereby they tend to believe information how the journalists and the government wants them to know.
An argumentative essay should not be biased, but it should present both inductive and deduc...
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