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Is Political Writing Bad Writing?

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Kayla McGuire

on 18 December 2012

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Transcript of Is Political Writing Bad Writing?

Is Political Writing Bad Writing? Vagueness Bias Ignoring The Question Politicians tend to be very vague and general in their writing and speech, giving out as little details about their goals or intentions as possible sometimes. With less details, they can cater to a broader audience (especially for candidates as this is their goal for election). Both candidates in the 2012 Presidential election were vague at times, seen here. Sometimes politician's use unclear language that confuses their points. When politicians do not specify their ideas, it can mislead the audience into thinking that the politician's position is different than it actually is. Political writing can be very misleading, seen in proposals such as SOPA, ACTA and NDAA. While the intended goal for SOPA was to counter online piracy, the wording of the act would have given major power to corporations by allowing them to sue over even the slightest "infringement" of copyright, such as a comment on Youtube. Bias is present as well in political writing. Essays written on political subjects almost always lean to one side of the political spectrum or the other. Articles written by journalists at The New York Times and CNN are very left-leaning and tend to praise liberal subjects (ex: gay rights, marijuana legalization) and criticize conservative topics (such as guns and religion in schools). The same goes for articles written by journalists at Fox News who tend to lean to the far right and report more on what's wrong with liberal topics and whats right about the conservative topics. Politicians often execute this fallacy when trying to dodge an issue in a debate. They might present an unrelated argument instead of directly answering the question that has been asked, answer with something that has no relevance,or they might not answer at all. This could be seen during the vice presidential debate of 2008; candidate Sarah Palin was asked a question by the opposing candidate about deregulation. She answered with "I may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let 'em know my track record also." By: Caitlyn, Jesse, and Kayla Misleading http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7424244n 7:26-8:15 Opposition Before the ages of radio and television, political writing had to be clear and true for the candidate to get elected. Example: Lincoln - Douglas Debates Series of 7 debates in the state of Illinois Lasted for several hours at a time, with each candidate providing lengthy responses. They addressed their points, and they answered questions. Orwell's views don't really cover all political writing. It would be a hasty generalization to say that all political writing is bad. He doesn't really address political writings that are written "fancily" and appealing to the ear (with "fresh" word choice). Those could be just as vague, misleading, and biased as the "messily done" political writing. They're just better at hiding it. Is All Political Writing Bad? Not necessarily all political writing can be considered bad. Before the 20th century, political writing was clear and the speakers expanded on as much as they could for hours. But as time went on and appearances become more important while attention spans became shorter, speeches were lessened in length with more vague word choice and writing for laws became more complex. So certainly, not all political writing is bad. But in modern day it can be said that a lot of it is. What Does Orwell Mean? Orwell criticized written English for many reasons. He said that political prose was formed "to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." There are several factors as to why political writing may be bad, including general vagueness, misleading wording, and fallacies such as ignoring the question. Questions?
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