Context in Persuasion

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Context in Persuasion

News outlets such as newspapers, journalists, and television networks are expected to provide well-researched news content, which is based on truth. However, that has not been the case in recent years as news outlets have fallen victim to rumor-mongering and non-truth telling stories. In recent times stories such as Donald Trump’s association with Russians and allegations of the death of Rich, which lack fundamental truth, have been peddled by the media.

Seth Rich and Fox News

One of the most controversial stories that hit American society was the death of Seth Rich, who was the Democratic National Committee Staffer. The death of Rich in 2016 was the subject of false peddling of news outlets as they tried to link his murder with political assassination. Fox News was among news outlets that provided incorrect information on the death of Rich. Fox News alleged that political opponents assassinated Seth Rich. However, the story turned out not to be accurate as police ruled out the murder as a consequence of botched robbery (Stempel, 2019).

Melania Trump and the Telegraph

Another news story that did not tell the truth through its platform was one on Melania Trump. In a newspaper story written by The Telegraph, the newspaper wrote that Melania Trump was experiencing troubles in her career before she met her husband, Donald Trump (Phillips, 2019). The article asserted that Melania Trump’s career only advanced as a result of the financial aid which she acquired from her husband. However, the story turned out to be far from the truth. The newspaper later retracted the sentiments outlined in the article. They apologized to Melania Trump’s family and acknowledged that her career was successful before meeting her husband, Donald Trump. Melania Trump is a prominent public figure due to her status as the wife of the United States’ president. Therefore, a story based on false facts is likely to gain the attention of the public. Due to the politics associated with the issue, a section of the public is expected to criticize her.

Donald Trump and CNN

Another news story that did not tell the truth was one that was written by CNN targeting Donald Trump. In the news article, CNN alleged that there was a Russian Bank was under investigation by the United States’ Senate (Grynbaum, 2017). The news article went on to link the Russian Bank with an ally of Donald Trump. However, the story written by CNN turned out to be false. Consequentially, CNN retracted the story and apologized for allegations raised. The article also led to the resignation of three journalists from the company.

The three stories above are associated with non-truth telling contexts. Also, the three stories involve politics in the United States. The 2016 elections widely polarized the United States. Since then, the political temperatures have always been on the rise. Therefore, the untrue stories are likely to cause a stir amongst the public. The stories may also sway the public towards a particular political dimension.

One of the reasons why the public is easily swayed by news stories which lack the basic truth is the lack of proper standards of assessment. The public lacks the standers sued and advocated by philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, or Scott. The American public rarely uses elements such as logic when deciphering news from their news outlets. As a result, the effect of false stories is spread at a high rate without questioning their truth basis. The public will be in a better position to judge and validate non-truth telling news if they use standards set by philosophers such as Plato.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart was involved in an insider trading case that featured ImClone Company, which dealt with the manufacture of drugs. In the case, Stewart acquired insider information that the company had failed in its approval to obtain a Food and Drug Administration license. Consequentially, she sold her stocks the night before the announcement was made. She was charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud.

The case of Martha Stewart is similar to that of key stakeholders in society. Society expects people who are put in positions of power to make decisions that are in the public interests and which the public approves. The manner in which people perceived Martha Stewart after the securities fraud is that which is expected of public figures. However, there are slight changes in public perception when it comes to religious leaders such as catholic Bishops. The public is keener when it comes to catholic Bishops. They expect them to behave in a manner that is godly and devoid of mistakes. A violation of the expectations of the public leads to a public uproar.


News outlets in the United States and beyond have become the subject of writing and printing news that fail t articulate the whole truth. American politics are some of the most affected sectors when it comes to telling stories that lack non-truth telling contexts. The lack of the public to engage in standards asserted by Plato, Scott, or Aristotle contributes to a rush public opinion and unnecessary reactions on such stories.


Grynbaum, M. M. (2017, June 27).). A costly retraction for CNN and an opening for Trump. The new York Times,, K. (2019, January 28). British newspaper apologizes, agrees to pay damages for ‘false statements’ about Melania Trump. The Washington Post,, J. (2019, September 13). Parents of murdered Democratic Staffer Seth Rich can sue Fox News: U.S Court. Reuters,

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