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Joseph Aratari

Mr. Henriksen
English 1010 - 6th period
January 5th, 2015
Obama Speaking on Ebola
Rhetoric is known as a method of effective communication in any form of speech or
writing. This persuasive technique is one that goes unnoticed by many people. The amount of
rhetoric used and recognized through any form of communication is much lower than one would
assume. Despite this, rhetoric is a common device used every day by everyone to simply
persuade others. President Obama uses rhetoric and its appeals to give a speech to the nation
concerning the topic of Ebola. He does this because in the recent months Ebola has become a
thing of fear within many peoples eyes and has lead to many unanswered questions. I will argue
that President Obama delicately utilizes all three rhetorical appeals in order to convey to his
audience, the nation, that Ebola is not anything to worry about, for the proper care is being taken
to assure the peoples safety.
To lead off, President Barack Obama most clearly and accurately establishes his own
credibility in order to build trust with his audience. To do so he directly states names and
positions of elite team members fighting Ebola. Obama discusses this when he talk about another
case of Ebola brought to his attention and he says,
Well, obviously the news has been dominated by the diagnosis of a second health care
worker in Dallas with Ebola. And in light of this second case, I thought it was very
important for me to bring together our team, including our CDC Director, Tom Frieden,
to hear directly from them in terms of how we are ramping up our efforts here. [1]

By stating that they have heard directly from the CDC Director, President Obama was able to
establish the credibility of his knowledge, power of the situation, and by being able to pull
together this team he speaks of.
President Obama also provides examples of establishing credibility in a similar situation
later within his speech when he says that,
In addition, we are reviewing every step of whats happened since Mr. Duncan was
initially brought in to the hospital in Dallas so that we understand exactly where some of
the problems may have occurred, and doing a thorough canvass and inventory of all the
workers who had contact with Mr. Duncan, including those who engaged in some of the
testing that took place. We are now communicating all these various lessons to hospitals,
clinics, first-responders around the country. And obviously given all the attention that this
has received, were going to make sure that that provision of information is constant,
ongoing, and being updated on a real-time basis. [2]
In this passage of his speech, Obama establishes himself as the President and one that cares
about this Ebola outbreak. When he speaks directly about the case involving Mr. Duncan it
shows he cares greatly about these people individually. By Obama showing the nation that he
cares it establishes his level of credibility greatly.
Alongside his character-based appeals, President Barack Obama infuses his speech with
logic by providing facts and valuable information to his audience. He does this when he states,
Here is what we know about Ebola: That it is not like the flu. It is not airborne. The only
way that a person can contract Ebola is by coming into direct contact with the bodily
fluids of somebody who is showing symptoms. In other words, if they dont have
symptoms, theyre not contagious. [2]

This statement allows the audience to feel a sense of reassurance to know that these facts,
scientifically prove by his team of experts, came from the President of the United States himself.
An important and trustworthy figure of society has now provided facts that then lead to the
addition of a logical appeal to his audience. President Obama builds upon this idea of logic when
he further explains the process of contact tracing. His usage of compare-and-contrast statements
as well as those of if/then statements give President Obama the perfect formula to reassure his
audience with his appeal to logic. These strategies allow Obama to show the precautions taken to
their methods and the outcomes of those precautions as well. It is able to show the before and
after effects simply enough for his audience to understand.
Assuredly, the rhetorical appeal that President Barack Obama used most effectively
within this speech is that of incorporating emotion. For when emotion is in use with such a
credible figure as the President himself, it is able to enhance the argument. Very early in his
speech, President Obama connects himself emotionally with two specific people in the second
paragraph when he says,
Obviously, initially, we want to express concern for the two health workers who have
been affected. Our nurses and our health care workers are absolutely vital to the health
and wellbeing of our families. They sacrifice for us all the time, not just in this case but in
the case of other illness that affect us. [1]
At this moment we know that he is emotionally attached and cares for this cause and each
individual person who is affected or aiding in this outbreak.
To more clearly express his emotional appeal to his audience, President Obama makes a
statement that provides evidence that he has had direct contact with those who have aided in the
effort of containing this outbreak,

I want to use myself as an example just so that people have a sense of the science here. I
shook hands with, hugged, and kissed not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at
Emory because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients. [2]
President Obamas choice of language, which is that of a caring sentimental nature, is able to
affect the audiences emotional response to the news encompassing the topic of Ebola. For
Obama to impact the responses of the nation it allows them to gain an emotional tie to the topic
and to what the President is saying.
Conclusively, President Obama delivered a speech to the nation on the outbreak of Ebola.
He communicates his purpose successfully in a well-thought-out balance of rhetoric and the use
of its appeals of credibility, logic, and emotion. The purpose of this speech is clearly stated by
President Obama himself to strongly reassure that Ebola is not anything to worry about for the
proper care is being taken to assure the safety of the people.