ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS FROM THE ATTACHED ESSAY:
Rhetorical Analysis Peer Review Questions
What is the article and author your classmate is analyzing?
What is the argument from the article?
What is your classmate’s assessment of that article? Does the classmate feel the
article supports its argument?
What additional information would you like to see included to assist your understanding? Identify the paragraph where you think this material should be added.
Is each paragraph on a single topic? Identify which ones have unity and which ones lack unity. Does each paragraph support the main idea of rhetorical analysis?
Does your classmate use quotations and/or summary to begin the analysis of the claims? Could you understand their analysis without reading the original article?
Does your classmate identify the type of argument being used?
Does your classmate explore in depth the use of ethos, pathos, and logos? What suggestions for improvement might you offer that passage?
February 9, 2015
In her article titled, “A Pander War by Politicians on Vaccines” Gloria Borger, CNN Chief Political Analyst, argues that the wishy-washy political stance on vaccination is a major contributor to the health risk of non-vaccination. Borger argues that, “what’s murky is the politics…whether it’s the skeptical left or the skeptical right, it comes down to the same theory of everything: a deep-seated mistrust in institutions and an unwillingness to defer to them” (Borger, 2015). This claim is further discussed through the comments of Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie, stating that, vaccinating one’s child is a “personal decision,” and that parents “need to have some measure of choice” (Borger, 2015). But, because parents do believe they should be the authority on what is best for their child(ren), Borger argues that this is “precisely why it’s so difficult to lead in this country right now” (Borger, 2015).
Borger’s emotional appeal is presented as early in the article as the title. Using the word “pander” to describe the political stance taken by the government implies that the stance is immoral. She makes further emotional appeals by comparing the “disheartening outbreak” of measles to the lack of stance taken by the Republican National Party (Borger, 2015). She refers to the politics of mandating vaccinations is “murky” and “complicated” (Borger, 2015). Borger even goes as far as describing those who follow the anti-government school of thought as “zealous” (Borger, 2015). These negatively emotionally charged words poses the argument that those who are anti-government perpetuating the lack of stance by politicians and, by proxy, are responsible for endangering children’s lives.
To exacerbate the validity of her argument, Borger calls on medical professionals to counter the claims of the politicians. For example, Dr. Ben Carson, a conservative pediatric neurosurgeon, is noted to be pushing for mandatory vaccines. Dr. Carson’s position directly contradicts the position of the current Administration, stating that, “it shouldn’t require a law to for people to exercise common sense and do the right thing” (Borger, 2015).
The author uses an analogy to further explain the point when she discusses a comment made by Sen. Dick Durbin. Sen. Durbin use the analogy of a car owner not wanting brakes on their car – the lack of breaks does not only endanger the life of the driver, but also the lives of every other driver on the road. This comparison to the effect of unvaccinated children to all other children analogizes what the lack of political involvement can cause. This comparison also invokes an argument from precedent, asserting that if something can be done about the dangers of non-vaccination it should be done. What Borger fails to point out, however, is the high risk for complications associated with vaccinations. As with most medications, side effects do exist. One of the major concerns is the possibility of an allergic reaction. Not knowing how your child will react can be a scary thing. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists “abdominal pain, cough, nausea, and diarrhea” as side effects of most of the immunizations recommended for children from birth through six years old (National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, 2014).
Gloria Borger’s political credibility is established by her outstanding credentials. She has been CNN’s chief political analyst since 2012, and received an Emmy nomination in 2010 for one of her CNN specials. Before joining CNN in 2007, Borger was a CBS News national political correspondent and was co-anchor of a CNBC new show. Borger graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. Additionally, by consulting medical experts in her article, she also establishes the validity of her argument. The comparison between the medical professional’s point of view and the points of view noted by the politicians establishes a clear analogy for why the risk to children’s health exists. The author uses several negative words to present an unfair comparison between the medical professional’s opinions and that of the politicians. Borger also tries to rationalize the comparison by saying, “…hard to square that circle” (Borger, 2015).
Though the author establishes her credibility on political topics, she offers little credibility to comment on medical topics. True, her thesis is that the political stance on the medical issue is perpetuating the risk, but the lack of credibility in the medical field does not lend to credibility on the topic as a whole. And, the author only presents one medical expert of weigh in on the issue. The author’s knowledge on the political aspect is extensive. The knowledge and expertise on the medical aspect, however, is superficial at best.
Borger, Gloria. “A Pander War by Politicians on Vaccines.” CNN.com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 3 Feb. 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2015. <www.cnn.com/2015/02/03/opinion/borger-vaccines-pander-war/index.html>.
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Possible Side-effects from Vaccines.” Vaccines and Immunizations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Feb. 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#hepb>.