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KaylaHodkey

ProfessorCampbell

ENC1102

March6,2017

TheVaccineWar:ARhetoricalGenreAnalysis

Therearemanycontroversialsubjectsbeingdiscussedamongstsociety.Oneofwhich,is

thelinkbetweenautismandvaccinations.Formanyyears,peoplewhoopposevaccinationshave

usedmedicalterminologyandfearmongeringlanguageasapersuasiverhetoricalstrategyto

sway the opinion and actions of the population, against vaccinating themselves and family

members. Pseudoscience among the external medical communities has caused an uproar of

argumentsandconflicts betweenthescientificcommunityandantivaccinationists.Although

lackingvalidevidence,thistactichascausedlonglastingdamagetothepublicsknowledgeof

health.Inordertoswaytheopinionofanaudience,persuasiverhetoricisintegratedthrough

texts, visuals, and facetoface communication. This rhetorical technique has negatively

impactedthescientificevidenceresearchershavepresenteddeterminingthatvaccinesarenotthe

causetoautism.

Thepublishedworkofvariousauthorsdiscussesthatpersuasionisacentralcomponent

ineverydaycommunication.Malkowski,Scott,andKernenrecognizedthatpeopletendtouse

languageinordertopersuadeotherswithhopestosupportorchangetheiractionstocreatea

senseofindividuality.Throughresearchtheauthorsinterviewedanexternalandinternalmedical

community, thus allowing them to understand how literate activities shape peoples

comprehensionofanddecisionmakingofmedicalmessages.This evidence supports the


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conceptthatlanguagecanmanipulateanaudiencethroughvariousrhetoricalstrategies,aswell

asprovideinformation.Consequently,SegalandDerkatchhaveidentifiedthatpersuasionisa

centralcomponentinmanymedicalcircumstances.Individualsmayoftenfindthemselvesbeing

subconsciouslypersuadeddependingonthelanguagethatisusedorhowtheinformationis

organized.Thetwoauthorsdrawconclusionsstatingthatthepurposeofalllanguageisusedto

persuadeevenifitonlyappearstoinform.Thisisevidentwhenthetworhetoricallycriticized

doctorpatientinterviews,identifyingthateachinterviewdisplayeddiversepersuasivetechniques

dependingonthespeakersbackground.Thesesecondarysourcesareanaidtothenotionthat

persuasive language is prominent in, both, internal and external medical communities.

Subsequently, these secondary sources provide the opportunity for scholars to explore the

rhetoricalapproachestoscienceandmedicine.Theseideascontributetothedeterminationof

howpeoplecreateknowledge,interpretations,andchoicesofactionabouthealthandillness.

Working together, researchers successfully point out the use of persuasive rhetoric

integratedthroughoutthemedicalfield.However,theyfailtobringsufficientattentiontohow

medicallanguageisnotnecessarilyusedforeducationalpurposes,buthasbeenredefinedto

createascarerhetoricfortheantivaccinemovement.Failingtocallattentiontothespecificuse

oflanguagefoundinvaccinationadvertisementsandarticles,asameansofpersuasiverhetoric,

causeslonglastingdamagetotheknowledgeofthepublic.Throughthisresearch,itwillbecome

evidenthowthemisuseofmedicalrhetoricisbeingintegratedinsocietyto,notonlygeneratea

false sense of credibility, but serve as persuasive rhetorical technique as well. The publics

attention has been caught by two kinds of knowledge, within the medical community: the

collectivebutdryconclusionsofthescientificcommunityandthepersonalnarrativesofanti
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vaccinationists, each expressing a diverse idea. Persuasive rhetorical techniques, within the

medicalcommunity,havenegativelyimpactedsocietiesknowledgeofhealthbypresentingfalse

informationthatmayseemcredible.

HPVVaccineAgainstCancer. Digitalimage.CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention,11
May 2016.Web.24Feb.2017.

Theimagepresentediscrucialtoresearchbecauseitprovidesanexampleofhowvisuals
andwordsareusedasapersuasivetechnique.Presentingvisualsbeforeanaudiencecan
causeemotionstobeunconsciouslyevokedandmanipulated.Theuseoflargetextand
certaincolorscaneithercauseanaudiencetofeelcalmorpanicked.Thisimagequestions
theaudienceonwhetherornottheywouldgetvaccinatedforcancerifsuchavaccine
existed.Thisformofpersuasioncausesanaudiencetorethinktheirdecisiontonot
vaccinatetheirchildren,maybeevenchangingtheirmindcompletely.Usingtheword
kidsaffectsaparentalaudience.Manyparentswoulddoanythingfortheirchildrenand
questioningthemabouttheirpersonalchoicesregardingtheirchildswellbeingmay
greatlyaffectthem.Itmightbeexceptionallydifficulttoholdanargumentusingonly
images.However,thepotentialofimagesistomoveitsviewers,soincorporatingverbal
imageryinstillsemotionandcredibility.Theuseofvisualimageryandtheincorporation
ofverbiagemaycauseobscuritytoreasonandlaw.Thisidealendstothenotionthat
images areequallyaspersuasiveaswordsare.

Lancet, The Editors Of The. "RetractionIleallymphoidnodular hyperplasia, nonspecific


colitis,andpervasivedevelopmentaldisorderinchildren."TheLancet375.9713(2010):
445.Web.

Thisfoundationaldatasetiswheretheantivaccinemovementissaidtohaveoriginated.
It provided case histories for twelve children, exploring incidences of chronic
enterocolitis (inflammation of both the small intestine and the colon), inflammatory bowel
diseaseand regressive developmental disorderas well a result of the MMR vaccine.
Although Wakefields paper was retracted because it was scientifically flawed and his
findingscould notbereplicated,organizationshavestillchosentosupportWakefield,
continuingto believehisflawedresults.IperformedrhetoricalandtextualanalysisonAndrew
Wakefields retractedpublicationandidentifiedthepersuasiverhetoricstrategies that
were usedtocausesuchahugecontroversyinsociety.Thepublicationsuseofbombasticand
exaggeratedlanguageservesasascarerhetorictopersuadeaudiencesagainstgetting
vaccinated. Thus, causing longlasting damage to public health and knowledge of
external medicalcommunities.Whileaninternalmedicalcommunitymaynotbealarmed
bythisretractedarticle,thosewithlessexpertisemaybegintofeeluneasy.
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Malkowski,JenniferA.,J.BlakeScott,andLisaKernen."RhetoricalApproachestoHealthand
Medicine."OxfordResearchEncyclopediaofCommunication(2016):135.Web.

JenniferA.Malkowski,J.BlakeScott,andLisaKernenexplainthatrhetorichashada
longlastingimpacttomedicine.Theyrecognizedthatpeopletendtouselanguagein
order topersuadeotherswithhopestosupportorchangetheiractionstocreateasenseof
individuality. They performed linguistic analyses on oral conversations and texts to
comparethelanguageusedwithinagroupofindividualsthatdisplayahighlevelof
expertiseand thosewhodonot.Consequently,Malkowski,BlakeScottandKernen
conductedinterviewswithpatientstobetterunderstandtheirunderstandingonmedical
messages, thus allowing them to understand how literate activities shape peoples
comprehensionofanddecisionmakingofmedicalmessages.Theideasdiscussedare
valuable to developing anargument about how persuasive rhetorical techniques can
influence an audience within the external and internal medical community. This
evidencesupportsthenotionthatlanguage can manipulate an audience through
persuasiverhetoricalstratagems,aswellasprovide information.However,thisideacan
be extended by discussing the impact visuals can have when it comes to both
comprehensionanddecisions.

Offit,PaulA.,MD.DeadlyChoicesandHowtheAntiVaccineMovementThreatensUsAll.
City:Publisher,Year.Print.

Thisnovelremindsreadershowpervasiveandperiloustheantivaccinemovementhas
become.Dr.OffittracesthebeginningofdeadlyepidemicsacrosstheU.Stoagroup
whose vocal supporters insist, despite evidence, that vaccines are toxic. Offit dynamically
challengestheclaimsthatchildhoodimmunizationscauseautism.Hedismantlesthe
reasoningoftheantivaccineorganizationandwarnsoftherisksofthereemergenceof
deadlychildhooddiseases.Dr.PaulOffitexplainsthatthehourlongdocumentarytitled
DPT:VaccineRoulette,useshauntingimagery,unnervingbackgroundnoise,andrhetoric
to sway the publics perceptions of vaccines. The ideas discussed are valuable to
developingtheargumentthatpersuasivetechniquesareintegratedinsocietycausing
extensive damage to public health. This information and background helps further
explore the research topic by giving numerous examples of how the antivaccine
movement negativelyaffectssocietyandidentifiesthemovementasalackoftrustbetween
parents and health representatives,thus makingit easytocomeupwith conspiracies.
Althougha wellwrittennovel,Dr.PaulOffitonlybrieflymentionsAndrewWakefield,an
important figureintheantivaccinemovement.

Segal, Judy Z., PhD, and Colleen Derkatch, MA. "Realms of Rhetoric in Health and
Medicine."RealmsofRhetoricinHealthandMedicine(n.d.):13842.Web.
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JudyZ.SegalandColleenDerkatchdescribesthatthepurposeofalllanguageisusedto
persuadeevenifitonlyappearstoinform.Theyidentifiedthatpersuasionisacentral
component in many medical circumstances. Segal and Derkatch believe that health
professionalspersuadethepublictoconsidersomeconditionsasmedicalandothersnot;
while patients without visible symptoms may need to persuade physicians they need
health care.Thetwoauthorsrhetoricallycriticizeddoctorpatientinterviewsandrecognizedthat
eachinterviewdisplayeddifferentpersuasivetechniques dependingonthespeakers
background.Rhetoricalanalysisdistinguishesthepersuasivecomponentinthemedical
communityaskingwhoispersuadingwhomandofwhat?andwhatisthereasonfor
the useofpersuasion?Thisrhetoricalstudyservestodevelopabetterunderstandingofhow
persuasive language is used in the medical community. Individuals may often find
themselvesbeingsubconsciouslypersuadeddependingonthelanguagethatisusedor
how theinformationisorganized.TheideasofSegalandDerkatchhelpsupporttheargument
byconcludingthatdifferentpersuasivestrategiesareuseddependingontheindividuals
background.However,thesenotionscanbeextendedbydiscussinghowillustrations,
graphs,andchartsfurtherinfluencetheaudience.

"Tenreasonswhyyoushouldn'tvaccinateyourchildren."NaturalNews.N.p.,n.d.Web.26Jan.
2017.

This antivaccine article uses exaggerated language throughout thearticle tocreate a


scare rhetoric. Ethan Huff begins to explain that it is vital to understand the true risks
involved intheadministrationofvaccinations.Hereferstomedicalexpertsasamafiawho
arequick todisguisethetrueaffectsthatvaccineshaveonchildren.WhenIperformed
rhetorical analysis on, author Ethan Huffs article, it became evident he used complex
medical terminologyandpersuasivetechniquestoswaythehealthchoicesofanexternal
medical community. Extravagant use of complex language instantly persuades the
audiencetofeel fearfulanddoubtful.Consequently,thearticlehasincorporatedphrases
thathavebeen easilyrefutedbymanymedicalexpertsandscientificstudies,inhopesto
seemascredible andreliablesource. Huffsexaggerateduseofmedicalterminologyis
usedasapersuasive technique to sway to audiences emotion by evoking angst and fear.
Includingmedical lexis and complex terminology may give the audience a sense of
reassurance.Thisarticle isvaluabletoresearchbycontributingtotheideathatpersuasive
languageincorporates medicalterminologytoappearasareliablesource.

TheVaccineWar.Prod.JonPalfreman.Dir.KateMcMahon.N.p.,n.d.Web.

Frontlines hourlong documentary serves as a useful tool in the vaccineautism


controversy,thatisintegratedthroughouttodayssociety,bydiscussingthebeginningof
theantivaccinemovementandoutliningimportanteventsthathavenegativelyaffected
publichealth.ItdisplaysthedamagingimpactthattheInternethashadbyexplainingthat
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ithasdevaluedknowledge,expertise,andscience.Although,antivaccineadvocatesand
misguidedindividualswereincluded,awidevarietyofexpertsclearlyandscrupulously
refuted these antivaccinationists by making it clear that the benefits of vaccines
outweigh the risks andemphasized that notgetting vaccinated will adversely affect the
population. Theinformationpresented,explicitlydepictedthesuccessvaccineshavehadfor
many yearsandreiteratedthatdeadlydiseases,thatarevaccineeradicated,couldcomeback
due tothedropinherdimmunity.TheideasoutlinedthroughoutFrontlinesdocumentaryaid
totheresearchbyexplainingwhyanuninformedpublicmaybeeasilypersuadedby
pseudoscience.Thissourcehopestocorrectmanymisconceptionsabouttheideathat
vaccinationsarethecauseforautism.

"Vaccines.gov."U.S.DepartmentofHealthandHumanServices.U.S.DepartmentofHealthand
HumanServices,n.d.Web.26Jan.2017.

Whileindividualsmaythinkpersuasivelanguageisonlyincorporatedinantivaccination
propaganda, it is also used in factual medical articles and advertisements. The U.S
DepartmentofHealthpresentslanguagethatevokesvividimagery,however,itdoesnot
intendtoprovokenegativeemotionssuchasfearandconfusion.Instead,thisarticlegives
anindividualasenseofhopefulnessandreassurance.Whileadifferenceofopinion,both
provaccinationistsandantivaccinationistsuseaformofpersuasiverhetoricallanguage.
Anarticlepublishedbyantivaccinationistsusescomplexmedicalterminologytotry
strengthen their credibility and uses words to scare the audience, aiding to the anti
vaccine movement.However,internalmedicalcommunitiespostarticlesthatusesfactual,
scientificevidencetooutlinethepositiveoutcomesthathavebeenachievedthrough
vaccinations.Thearticlesabilitytoportraythatthebenefitsofvaccinesgreatlyoutweigh
thepossiblerisksofvaccines,persuadesanaudiencetowardvaccinatingtheirchildren
againstfataldiseases.Thislendstoresearchbyprovidinganexampleofhowpersuasive
languagecanbeusedtopositivelypersuadeanaudienceintogettingvaccinatedagainst
deadlydiseases.