Bias, Rhetorical Devices and Argumentation August 4, 2010 Mike Smith The” Citizen Kane” speech given by Charles Foster Kane in 1941, who was campaigning for Governor starts off his speech by addressing his audience, attacking his opponent by using various fallacies of illogical argument.. First he starts off with blaming “boss Jim W. Getty and his political machine” the techniques that are used here are for the propose of making himself appear stronger, in his views and political agendas.
This type of fallacy is called scapegoating, blaming the problems on his opponent’s convictions and building confidence in the listeners. Kane also uses Ad hominen, which is where the candidate is verbally attacking his opponent rather than the argument. Kane begins begging the question by insinuating that he will be elected. An example of a rhetorical device would be alliteration, When he talks about “the slum child, the working man, the underprivileged, underpaid and underfed. He has a political bias against his opponent Getty’s, suggesting by his speech that his opponent is bad or evil and that he is the good guy. He ends with a little “Apple Polishing”, buttering up his audience making himself out to be the obvious best choice and that they were making the right choice to elect him. He used parallelism when he said that he had more than a hope and that Getty’s had less than a chance. Kane’s arguments against Jim Getty’s were not or did not seem to be based on fact but on a political bias, and an assumption that Getty’s was guilty.
Kane left the impression that he could fix all the problems of society and that he was on everyone’s side, and by stating it in the way that he did he persuaded his audience he was on there side, it left the assumption that Jim Gettys was not on there side, but their enemy. By promising to appoint a special district attorney to “indictment, prosecute, and convict Boss Jim W. Gettys” he is putting out the assumption of his quilt with the premise that he will be able to fix all of the citizen’s problems, this is the way he wrapped up his speech, with biases, fallacies, and any generalizations or udgments. He used, at the end of his speech the “slippery slope” tactic to put negative emphasis on boss Jim Getty’s’ making himself appear the only clear choice. The speaker’s arguments seemed to be very effective. He was able to persuade his audience by giving assumptions of his opponent, boss Jim Getty’s guilt and that his viewpoints were superior and more effective and would have a better outcome with him being elected.
Through writing this assignment I have learned that there are many different types of manipulations and deceptions to persuade individuals or groups of people into believing ones opinions. They have a way of influencing the thinking of there audience. I think doing this paper has helped me to understand the importance of the use of bias, rhetorical devices and argumentation to effectively persuade my audience, and on the other hand to know when someone is trying to persuade me in their opinions.