How does Laurie Ouellette use pathos, logos, and ethos in "Reality TV Gives Back" to argue reality TV benefits 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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In the article “Reality TV Gives Back: On the Civic Functions of Reality Entertainment” by Laurie Ouellette, how does the author use the rhetoric components of pathos, logos, and ethos to appeal to her argument that reality TV is actually beneficial to society?

The author, Laurie Ouellette argues, with ethic strategies, that things have changed since John Conter’s 2002 essay, critical of reality TV, and that it is now more than just a trivial diversion, but it actually serves an important civic purpose. Her rhetorical appeals include pathos, or qualities that evokes pity or sadness in others; logos, use of a logical argument; and ethos, the characteristic spirit of a culture of a certain time or place. Ouelette begins her piece with the logos that, since the “Post-welfare” 1990’s, public television had been “radically transformed,” and isn’t serving the function of citizen education as much anymore through documentaries. The author argues that do-it-yourselfer lifestyle resources are now taking roles to serve that purpose and have adopted many conventions of public broadcasting, making reality TV beneficial to society in a real and practical way. Since the 1990’s, the downsizing of the public sectors across Western capitalist democracies has opened the door to entrepreneureal competition from commercial channels and new media platforms that have pervaded our culture so much, that we now come to them for education and advice about civic conduct, like the “can-do” attitudes of solution and “build-it” type programming. It is part of our ethos, fully integrated into our society now, regardless of their market imperatives and entertainment formats, and therefore it must be beneficial in our new consumer society. In other words, it’s what we’ve got to work with right now. The writer claims that reality TV does not simply “divert” a passive audience, but it translates the broader sociopoltical currents of the narratives and expectations of citizenship. She even claims that they can serve to inspire self-empowerment. This is an effective appeal to the readers’ pathos. She also describes the reality TV shows that are high-profile charity helping ventures, or “do-good programs.” Philanthropy as marketing device is still philanthropy, and reality TV, she suggests, exemplifies philanthropy.

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