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Power and persuasion – America’s Best Opinion Writings

October 25, 2012

Opinion writing allows reporters to cultivate their own voice and abandon the stricter rules characteristic of news reporting. Nevertheless, editorials still need to exhibit strong reporting and justify the perspective with concrete facts and accurate information.

“A woman burned while police had their danish” by Murray Kempton

In the article, Kempton condemns the New York City Police Department for failing in their responsibility to respond to an emergency call. Kempton argues that Bonnie Anne Bush’s death can be attributed to the department’s negligence. The author compares Bush’s death to that of Kitty Genovese, a woman who was murdered and nobody who heard her called 911. Kempton resurrects her memory, whose “ghost is still evoked whenever some moralist feels moved to arraign the callousness of the city’s residents” (141). Here, the author presents the two women as foils. While Kempton faults the public for not responding to Genovese’s calls for help, the comparison between their murders further illuminates the blame rests with the police with respect to Bush’s death.

“Tugs at the curtain, but wizard’s lips remain frozen” by Richard Aregood

Aregood references a cultural icon as a means to convey the deceitfulness of the national leaders. The epithets for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan communicate the author’s perspective. The mocking names paint the politicians as incompetent and reduce the authority of their platforms. Furthermore, drawing parallels between their economic policies and the Wizard of Oz’s duplicity helps Aregood persuade those who are not familiar with economic jargon but understand what the comparison signifies.

“A one-word assault on women” by Donna Britt

Britt capitalizes on an encounter with one individual and builds a case for how this single incident reflects the popularity of denigrating terms associated with women. She shows how such behavior reveals the insecurities of the groups that employ such offensive rhetoric.

“Dixie’s broken heart: The two Alabamas” by Bailey Thomson

Thomson exhibits conflict in his editorial and uses specific images to demonstrate the inequality woven into Alabama’s society. Thomson engages with citizens and incorporates their voices into the persuasive piece. As a result, he empowers the readers to take responsibility and enact change in the community, arguing “citizens must force the debate themselves” (154).

“A Thesaurist Leaves, Exists” by Andrew H. Malcolm

The piece memorializes Robert L. Chapman and the construction of the thesaurus. The piece evokes the language reflective of the thesaurus in order to illustrate its influence on the written language. The article is humorous, yet sincere, especially when Malcolm distinguishes Chapman from the list of analogous words and determines Robert Chapman “has no synonym” (159).

If only our leaders had Mariam’s Guts” by Nicholas Kristof

In the majority of his reports, Kristof gives authority to the hidden voices and the disempowered. He demonstrates a knowledge of the individual and effectively translates that person’s story to contain universal value. He confronts the errors in our society and challenges readers’ common perceptions.

The son also sets” by Maureen Dowd

Dowd uses humor to criticize Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign strategist for his apparent lack of dedication and poor plan. The headline references Hemingway’s novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” and translates the revered author’s quotes into advice for Romney’s campaign.

Bench the Bible verses” by Washington Post

The editorial argues a Texas school’s sports team should remove religious rhetoric from their banners in order to cultivate a more inclusive environment.

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