The Hay Library at Western Wyoming Community College and the Arlene and Louise Wesswick Foundation will host the free presentation, “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Hillary, Trump, Rhetoric & Reality,” on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 1302.
Presented by University of Wyoming Associate Professor of English Jason Thompson, Ph.D., this non-partisan program will look at the political rhetoric and argumentation that are being used by both major U.S. presidential candidates, and at the ways in which extensive, prolonged media exposure, and the candidates’ entrenched public personas, alter how campaign strategists, party leaders, news networks, and the voting public relate to the candidates and assess their statements, positions and behaviors.
“Each election year, it seems that political speech by party leaders and their surrogates grows louder, more polarized, and more contradictory,” Thompson said. “The job of fact checker – in the past, someone who was assigned to carefully examine the veracity of claims within a written manuscript prior to its publication – is now understood by viewers to be someone chosen to quickly Google a specific claim within a speech or interview immediately after it is broadcast.
“However, unlike other presidential cycles, the current one presents two of the most mediated candidates in history,” he continued. “Donald Trump has appeared for 14 seasons on ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,’ and at 185 episodes at 60 minutes per episode, a binge-watcher could begin watching ‘The Apprentice,’ watch it 24 hours per day, and remain seated on the couch for over a week.
"Hillary Clinton spent 12 years as First Lady of Arkansas, eight as First Lady, and has remained in public service since," Thompson noted. "The easily-accessible media of both candidates – video of speeches, transcripts of testimony, printed books, voting records, interviews – serves via branding to authenticate their candidacies and, contrarily, to deconstruct the integrity of their brands.”
Thompson teaches courses in rhetoric and new media, film and media studies, literature, and pedagogy and composition. His academic research focuses on digital humanities, classical rhetoric and rhetorical theory.
The Hay Library and Western Wyoming Community College are pleased to join the Wesswick Foundation in presenting this timely and insightful look at America’s media-driven political process. For more information, contact Hay Library Director Janice Grover-Roosa at (307) 381-1701.