Rhetorical Analysis Of John Oliver

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In the episode “Scientific Studies” on the tv show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, he employs a plethora of rhetorical strategies to depict his point that not all “science” is necessarily science as most might assume; and how we as a people have become blinded and misled because these scientists are contradicting each other's’ findings. He does so by using humor, making comments that some people might be able to relate to, and by presenting basic logic and common knowledge.

He utilizes Pathos, as he appeals to the viewer’s emotions many times. One example of this is when he makes fun of Fox News for reporting a study that “A glass of red wine is as good as an hour at the gym”. John Oliver then proceeds to say that the saying is “something your sassy aunt would wear on a t shirt.” Some people might see this as a corny thing for him to say, but in my opinion this is funny because it obviously is not true. By him using humor, he grasps the viewer’s attention in a way that isn’t boring. They are being entertained while also being enlightened.
Another instance of Mr. Oliver using this Pathos to appeal to his viewer’s emotions is when he brought up the Times report that “Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer”. He then goes further to say that “I would say was the most unfortunate thing TIME ever published, but this is a magazine that once did a cover on Those Asian-American Whiz Kids.”. The purpose of these lines is to show just how sketchy and laughable, some of these studies appear to be.

John can be seen using Ethos when he comments “after a certain point, all that ridiculous information can make you wonder, “Is science bullshit?”. This brings ethics into play because it makes the viewers stop and actually consider the possibility that all of the reports and “news” that they have been watching are actually fabricated stories made to sound more appealing. Many individuals assume that the “science” reported in news must be legit, just because it is on the news, but that is not always the case. As he illustrates, reporters many neglect to provide the details behind studies that might cause viewers to question its credibility. I for one never believe reports unless I see them from multiple reliable sources.

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