1a) The Wages of Propaganda Is Cynicism, or, Why Melania’s Plagiarism Doesn’t Matter, but Leaked DNC Emails Do

Image from Holger Stark’s “Aiding and Abetting: How an Uncritical Media Helped Trump’s Rise”, Spiegel Online

This is the second article in a series. Read the first installment (“The Books That Explain Trump’s Rise Have Already Been Written”) here.

I. Introduction

In preparation for her speech at the Republican National Convention, Melania Trump cast aside her expert speechwriters, and, seemingly on account of an “in house” friend and employee, plagiarized two paragraphs of banal boilerplate from Michelle Obama and/or her professional speech writer(s). This has not likely changed public opinion about Mr. and Mrs. Trump in the slightest.


When Good Rhetoric Rings Hollow

[A deliberative speaker] should not forget the “end” of each constitution; for choices are based on the “end.” The end of democracy is freedom…

— Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Book 1, Chapter 8, 300 B.C.

Aristotle makes clear that anyone trying to persuade an audience about what ought to be done must take into account their constitution, written or unwritten — one must understand the ultimate framework of the regime within which they live and how it shapes the way they think. Elsewhere Aristotle mentions how important equality is to democracy. …


The Books That Explain Trump’s Rise Have Already Been Written

Image from Holger Stark’s “Aiding and Abetting: How an Uncritical Media Helped Trump’s Rise”, Spiegel Online

This is the first article in a series. Read the second installment (“The Wages of Propaganda Is Cynicism, or, Why Melania’s Plagiarism Doesn’t Matter, but Leaked DNC Emails Do”) here.

Informed — and correct — opinion has it that Donald Trump will be accepting the Republican nomination for President Thursday night in part because he received wildly disproportionate media coverage throughout the Republican primary season.

Informed — and correct — opinion has it that the news media disproportionately covered Trump in large part because as old business models decay, desperate corporations shamelessly sought the profit that came along with Trump-induced…


From western New York 

After being away for over six months, settled in the short rolling hills of the northeast underneath clouded, low-hanging skies, I saw California for the first time again in the summer of 2010.

There were horses in a moonlit pasture in western New York the night before I left, stomping purposefully upon farmed earth a few miles outside of small towns founded by wandering soldiers of the American revolution. There were tourists milling about Fisherman’s Wharf the next day, eating their chowder in the mists that gather above the churning seas at the outermost edge of what was once a…

Matthew J. Peterson

Professor of Media, Philosophy, & Culture; Executive Director, City Media

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