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Speech and Rhetorical Studies Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2019

City University of New York (CUNY)

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Full-Text Articles in Speech and Rhetorical Studies

Minimizing The Dangers Of Air Pollution Using Alternative Facts: A Science Museum Case Study, David H. Lee Dec 2019

Minimizing The Dangers Of Air Pollution Using Alternative Facts: A Science Museum Case Study, David H. Lee

Publications and Research

A science museum exhibition about human health contains an exhibit that minimizes health impacts of air pollution. Relevant details, such as the full range of health risks; fossil fuel combustion; air quality statutes (and the local electrical utility’s violations of these statues), are omitted, while end users of electricity are blamed. The exhibit accomplishes this, not through outright falsification, but through selected “alternative facts” that change the focus and imply misleading alternate explanations. Using two classical rhetorical concepts (the practical syllogism and the enthymeme) allows for the surfacing of missing evidence and unstated directives underlying multimodal rhetoric. By stating ...