Vatz Response

I have taken two rhetoric-focused classes so far, and a theme I have consistently found intriguing is that rhetoric is in everything. Vatz discusses the impossibility of any situation to have “a nature independent of the perception of its interpreter or independent of the rhetoric with which he chooses to characterize it” (154). For instance, even something as simple as hearing the word “tree,” one will automatically associate the word with whatever sense, or multiple senses, they use to define that word. This has stuck out to me because before taking any rhetoric class, I never thought about the process of how I understand and interpret specific objects, ideas, or speech. Vatz also mentions this idea in Bitzer’s “rhetorical situation.” Bitzer argues that “the situation dictates the sorts of observations to be made; it dictates the significant physical and verbal responses…” (155). This made me think about the media and the influences it has on the general public and how they perceive the events or messages the media source is attempting to deliver. In my own observations, media outlet tends to take on a specific political stance when discussing the news. For example, FOX news leans more republican, whereas CNN leans more democrat, and this can be seen in the way they deliver news stories. News reporters and journalists have the power to manipulate the general public to toward their own personal beliefs on a situation with the way they word headlines and articles. Whether they realize it or not, they are taking part in the “rhetorical situation.” After gaining this perspective, I try not to take news sources too seriously. I have learned to pay more attention to the type of language used in any situation, even types of pictures used in advertisements. There is so much more meaning to everything than what is just on the surface.

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