In the article “Reality TV Gives Back: On the Civic Functions of Reality Entertainment” by Laurie Ouellette, how does the author use the rhetorical appeals of pathos, logos, and ethos to construct her argument that reality TV is actually beneficial to society?

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In classical rhetoric, there are three primary forms of argument: pathos, ethos, and logos.

Pathos is an appeal to emotions. It focuses less on facts and figures and more on making the audience feel something.

Ethos is an appeal to character. It inspires the audience to act a certain way or points to the character, experience, or expertise (or lack thereof) of someone as an argument for or against something. An argument by ethos may quote the opinion of an expert to prove a point, for example.

Logos is an appeal to logic. It focuses on using reason and facts and figures to make an argument.

Oullette uses all three techniques to make her argument that reality television is beneficial to society. Here are some examples:

Pathos: Reality television encourages viewers to sympathize with the hardships and stories of the people on the show. It often uses emotional appeals to convince viewers to give or volunteer.

Ethos: Many reality shows focus on improving the character of those on the show. For example, Oullette points out that the show Secret Millionaire helps make wealthy citizens aware of the wealth imbalance between themselves and the poor.

Logos: Oullette believes that reality television has taken the place of documentaries as a way of "citizen-building". She states that reality television shows can be used to educate and promote positive behavior. She gives examples of reality TV being used to promote charitable activities or bring attention to the plights of others. Oullette argues that although the situations on reality television are often embellished and exaggerated, that does not negate the positive message they can convey.

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