Degree Name

BA

Department

English

College

Humanities

Defense Date

2021-07-29

Publication Date

2021-08-06

First Faculty Advisor

Ben Crosby

First Faculty Reader

Brian Jackson

Honors Coordinator

John Talbot

Keywords

presidential rhetoric, social media, misinformation, Donald Trump

Abstract

In May 2020, presidential communication on social media was—for the first time—subject to a misinformation label applied by the social media site on which the communication originated. This development indicates a turning point in social media sites’ relationship with presidential communication and demands adaptation in the scholarly understanding of presidential rhetoric during the present era. Drawing from the theoretical framework of the postrhetorical presidency, I perform dual rhetorical analyses of this landmark artifact. The first round of analysis ignores the label and analyzes the presidential communication alone to understand its function, while the second analysis reveals the rhetorical impact of social media intervention on postrhetorical presidential communication by highlighting how the misinformation label alters the function of the artifact as described in the initial analysis. I then describe three takeaways that may aid to advance the study of presidential rhetoric as we enter into this new era of social media intervention in presidential communication.

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