By Brian Amsden
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How do humans come to believe all the impossible things we believe? The answers, one story at a time.
||CleanOf Paper Towels and Photojournalism||Fake. Real. Accurate. True. They're the keywords in any debate about representation, the sticky wicket famously represented by Belgian surrealist René Magritte in his painting The Treachery of Images (1929): a flat, cartoonish depiction of a tobacco...||3/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanIn the Name of the Dead||Four months after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama said that "the memories of these children demand" political action. This argument, which would become the centerpiece of Obama's campaign for gun control, raises questions..||12/17/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Invention of Objectivity||In the latest installment of our series on "fake news," Lauren and I are joined by Drs. Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, experts on the history and philosophy of science. Together we trace the history of objectivity, from the schools of Medieval...||11/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWhy Trust a Podcaster?||After being taken for fake journalists at a local campaign rally, Lauren and Brian reflect on the nature of podcasting as a popular medium, the various models from which podcasters can draw their credibility, and the tension between rigor and...||8/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFive Degrees of Fake News||In recent months Donald Trump has taken to labeling news stories and outlets that criticize him as "fake news." The term, which only a few months ago had been used to describe online hoaxes masquerading as news stories, now has become nearly...||5/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA Tale of Two Movements||Donald Trump claims to be not only a presidential candidate but also the leader of a historical movement to "make America great again." The day after his inauguration, however, millions marched in cities across America in order to show that Trump's...||2/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Rhetorical Legacy of President Obama||As Barack Obama's presidency comes to an end, first drafts of his legacy are already being written. In this episode I'm joined by three scholars who are contributors to one such draft—an upcoming book called Reconsidering Obama: Reflections on...||12/19/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFour Stories of Political Correctness||"Political correctness" has been a devil term for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, but the term's meaning is far from clear. In this episode I offer a history of political correctness, and suggest that, like every other part of Trump's...||10/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanYour Winner is Democracy||From time to time the news media call upon debate coaches to analyze the presidential debates, but always with an emphasis on what each candidate needs to do in order to score political points. In this episode we are joined by six current and...||9/18/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanImpossible Things||To many the goal of eliminating homelessness in the United States is hopelessly naive. But that is only because the nation has forgotten that homelessness, as we know it today, is less than 40 years old. Whitney Gent returns to share the forgotten...||8/1/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLessons in Fear||The Michigan state legislature is currently considering a law that would fine those engaged in "aggressive panhandling." The bill's sponsor claims that there is a need to raise awareness of the dangers posed by people seeking financial assistance on...||7/20/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSlaying While Black||Following her performance at Super Bowl 50, Beyoncé was condemned for calling attention to police brutality and invoking symbols of black liberationists. Her critics faulted her for injecting race into an event which was purportedly apolitical...||4/26/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRhetoric by the Numbers||Four days before the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, Republicans—sans Donald Trump—got together for their seventh presidential primary debate. One of the 12 million people to tune in that night, Dr. Ryan Kennedy, believes that mathematical models can give us...||2/4/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA Yalie by any Other Name||A pair of emails about racially insensitive Halloween costumes led to highly publicized confrontations between students and faculty at Yale. Students insisted that the university had a responsibility not only to promote learning, but also to create a...||12/13/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA Deal with the Devil||When President Obama's administration finalized the Iranian nuclear accord, it was met with praise as well as skepticism. But some were more than skeptical—arguing that the very act of negotiating with Iran was in effect a surrender. The argument...||10/25/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAntonin Scalia and the Art of Dissent||This past June the US Supreme Court handed down two long awaited rulings, one rejecting a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (King v. Burwell) and the other overturning state bans on same sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges). In each case,...||8/24/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSee No Privilege Hear No Privilege||In April a video was released of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry verbally assaulting a towing company clerk in Arlington, Virginia. In the video McHenry boasted about her education, her profession, her good looks, and noted in cruel detail the clerk's...||7/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe First Rule of Free Speech||In January, 2015 three students at South Portland High School in Maine added the words "if you'd like to" to the morning announcement for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in order to clarify that the First Amendment protects the right of...||6/8/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA Gentle Nudge Under the Bus||In December, 2014, the Rolling Stone wrote two versions of a "Note to Readers" that apologized for the magazine's failure to corroborate allegations of gang rape made in a recent feature article. The first "note" was strongly criticized for...||4/13/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Credibility of a Gaffe Machine||In a Democratic presidential primary debate in 2007, perennial gaffe machine Joe Biden was asked, "Can you reassure voters in this country that you would have the discipline you would need on the word stage?" His unexpected response can teach us a...||2/1/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTwo Tales of the Origin of Rhetoric||The ancients told two different stories about how persuasion came to be an object of human knowledge. Within these stories are all the hopes and fears of a society fully appreciating for the first time the power of rhetoric.||12/12/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
Great content and production
Rhetoricians seem to be behind the curve on podcasting. They tend to be either too remedial for the people who would actually listen or poorly produced, or some combination of the two. It's early, but this podcast is both full of good content and very well-produced. It sounds like what would happen if 99% Invisible decided to jump from design to rhetoric, and was actually qualified to do so.
Finally, a podcast for the rhetoric and argumentation nerds!
This podcast does an excellent job of using the rhetorical and argumentation perspective to analyze contemporary politics and culture. I use it in my classroom to help undergrads understand persuasion and argumentation and they seem to love it.
Smart and Accessible
I’m consistently impressed with the Rhetorical Questions podcast. The show gets to the rhetorical meat of interesting contemporary issues, and does so in a way that is always thoughtful and though provoking. It’s both valuable for me to reflect on as someone who studies rhetoric and valuable for use in the classroom. Because it’s both smart and accessible my students respond well when I use these podcasts in my teaching.