Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rhetorical Situation

Group 4
Part 3 - Phase II

Issue- Health Care Debate

1. The cultural context that this text is being produced in is one of drastic change. After the election of President Obama this past January, the country and specifically the Democratic Party have been more accepting and encouraging of big changes in the way our country functions and health care is no exception.

2. The author of this piece, Robert Pear, has a long history of covering the health care debate for the New York Times. Like all journalists, he aims to provide an unbiased perspective of the story. It is difficult though, to disregard personal opinion in regard to the well-being of others. After reading other articles by Pear, I get the sense that he wants high quality health care that is affordable. The cultural context is which the text is being read is similar to the cultural context in which the text is being produced. A nation that has been experiencing a great amount of change can sometimes be hesitant or put off by drastic suggestions. Therefore, this article strives to put focus on what is being fought for on behalf of the masses and not just those who represent them. A factor that has become very important in all coverage of the health care debate.

3. The standpoint of the reader is one that is ready for progress. Everyone understands that health care and insurance coverage has been sub par for some time now, but are looking for the right way to fix the problem. This article informs the reader and explains how health care reform is designed to help everyone, not just the privileged. In addition, Pear quotes a Republican who insists that it is up to the consumer to decide what type of insurance is right for them. But for someone who is deciding a plan for the first time, like I recently did, some government guidance would have been appreciated. The Democrats want a plan in place that shows people that the cheapest plan may not be the most affordable since they will end up getting stuck with more costs in the event of illness or injury. The compromise is trying to be made to strike a balance between affordability and enough coverage. While some would agree with this and support it, few could read this as being too idealistic since it is impossible to please everyone.

In addition, Silverblatt argues that, audiences make varied interpretations on media based upon how interested they are in the topic, their relationships, and how familiar the audience is with the subject. For me, being a college student reading about health insurance which I will soon have to start paying for, my interest and familiarity make me more interested in what is fair to the public than how the government will pay for the services.


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