How Three Texas Newspapers Manufactured Three Competing Images of Immigrants

In Depression-Era San Antonio, Polarized Portraits of Mexicans Appealed to the Biases of Readers

In August 1930, an editorial writer for the largest newspaper chain on Earth proclaimed: “THE FARMER rids his barn of rats, his hen-house of weasels … the government of the United States should clean house and get rid of undesirable human vermin.”

The writer went on to demand that Congress make citizenship harder to obtain, so the government would be protected “against the vicious and criminal, the incompetent and the unfit.”

Sound familiar?

The Trump administration’s endless, bigoted campaign against immigrants may seem shocking. But the rhetoric accompanying that campaign, down …

Beware the Propagandist You See In the Mirror | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Beware the Propagandist You See In the Mirror

Americans Are Overwhelmed by Persuasive Messaging, Even as They Bombard Each Other

On any given day, Americans are inundated with persuasive messages, otherwise known as propaganda, from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep. These messages—their positive …

When Racist Language Spreads, Immigrants Suffer—and the Social Fabric Frays

The Recurring Backlash Against U.S. Newcomers Triggers Threats to Health, Safety, and the Rule of Law

If immigrant children are exposed to racist hate speech, how will it affect their mental and physical health? If elected officials indulge in immigrant-bashing rhetoric, could they embolden white supremacists …

When Paranoid Rhetoric and Falsehoods Prevail, Public Trust Crumbles

A Government That Undercuts Peoples' Faith May Undermine Its Own Legitimacy

“Nothing is more surprising,” wrote David Hume in his 1758 First Principles of Government, than “the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.”

What explains this surprising …

The Rhetorical Power of Always Being at War

American Presidents Both Overstate Constant Threat and Understate the Human Cost as a Way to Ensure Faith in Government

An essential goal of American presidential rhetoric is to keep the public thinking the nation is constantly under threat, and thus reliably deferential to their ostensibly protective government.

You can …

Is Donald Trump a Rhetorical Virtuoso?

The Incendiary Candidate’s Popularity Isn’t Surprising If You Understand the Art of Persuasion

For thousands of years, rhetoric, the art of persuasion, was a core area of study in our schools. And rightly so. It was widely accepted that speaking and persuasion together …