Was part of the problem with the Wellstone memorial an improper labeling of the event? According to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, the correct name for what happened in the sports arena was “celebration,” not “memorial.” People tuned in to C-SPAN expecting a funeral and saw what evolved into a political rally. How might public perception have been different if another word had been used? I would argue that billing it as a “celebration” would have created an entirely different set of expectations. And, it’s not likely that Trent Lott would have attended a “celebration,” thus sparing him and the Democrats the ugliness of the crowd’s booing. In the end, I’m simply surprised the Democrats didn’t see this coming. Where was the competent political/rhetorical advice?
The Rhetorica Network
I offer commentary on the rhetoric of the American conversation, especially as it unfolds in documentary film, the news media, and politics. Check out my feeds on Twitter and Instagram. Also be sure to see my work at Carbon Trace Productions, a non-profit documentary film studio in Springfield, Missouri. I am a Professor of Media & Journalism at Missouri State University. I teach classes in mobile journalism and documentary filmmaking.
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