Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Colbert PAC & the Peripheral Route to Persuasion

Today in class we will be discussing persuasive strategies. Particularly, we will address the difference between the central route to persuasion - providing facts and logical arguments to directly convince the audience of the correctness of your position - and the peripheral one.

The peripheral route to persuasion involves indirectly appealing to your audience, often through emotional sounds and images, but sometimes without providing any specific information to support your case. There is nothing inherently good or bad about either strategy, though the audience may respond differently to either approach, depending on the context and the issue being discussed.

Increasingly, political advertisements have taken the peripheral route...appealing to our patriotism and emotions without providing any real information about a candidate's position or the facts surrounding an issue. Late night political comedy shows have picked up on this endless source of material. In the clip below, Stephen Colbert satarizes a particularly outstanding example of these high-impact, low-information ads from former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

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