Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2: Annotated Bibliography

s.chowdhury on Oct 7th 2014


Kang, Cecilia. “Comcast, Time Warner agree to merge in $45 billion deal.” The 

Washington Post. 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014 <http://wapo.st/1kDtI9M>


It is quite obvious that The Washington Post is opposed to this merger. The articles focuses heavily on the increased control that Comcast will have over the market, and the resulting limited choices that consumers will have. All of the quotes express people’s concerns with the merger. The article does address what Comcast will say in how the merger is pro-consumer, but even this – the Post frames it in a way to make you think that Comcast will say these things to get the merger past the regulators but the underlying motives are to control the market. The words that the Post uses such as “behemoth” to describe what Comcast would become with the merger are clear indications of their disapproval of the merger. But it’s still subtle – if you aren’t looking for the rhetoric, if you aren’t actively reading the piece, it would never occur to you what the Post has done, and that is convince you that this merger is blasphemy. I think the Post uses rhetoric successfully, and I can use this source to show exactly how.


This the the Post’s initial coverage on the merger. Kang writes that the merger will have “far greater implications for the future of media.” With this merger, Comcast will have more control over internet lines as well as content through its ownership of NBC Universal. According to Kang, the combined companies will have significant leverage over negotiations with network broadcasters. Consumers are concerned with the price jumps that will occur with the expansions of Comcast’s footprint: “A handful of cable providers dominate the market, leaving consumers with little choice but to pay high bills for often unsatisfactory service.” The article also points out that Comcast has a “powerful lobbying operation in Washington,” and so regulators will most likely put the go ahead on the merger. Thus, the concerns posted in Kang’s article will be a reality.


Cohen, David L. “Comcast Files Opposition and Response Comments on Time Warner

Cable Transaction.” Comcast. 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014 <http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast-voices/comcast-files-opposition-and-response-comments-on-time-warner-cable-transaction#related-links>


Comcast takes every argument that the critics have against the merger, and pretty much rips it to shreds by explaining why it’s false and then giving the actual benefits of the merger. Comcast directly attacks the opposition (even naming them “Netflix and Cogent”), taking them head on – a wise tactic, one that lawyers use in the court – disintegrate the prosecutor’s argument bit by bit. I think acknowledging the “enemy,” especially by name, in any situation, makes someone go “woah.” It does two things – one, it implies a high confidence in speaker’s statements, and two, it damages the ethos of the opposite side to an extent, because what the speaker is essentially trying to do is point out the ridiculousness in the criticism. Comcast does in fact do this throughout their post; they discredit the critics, stating over and over again that there are no facts to support the claims. Comcast places quotes from networks and programmers that validate the company’s ethos and support the merger – using credible sources to establish their own credit – successful tactic. These are also programmers that critics say Comcast would be hindering, but the programmers themselves are supporting the merger, so the quotes work as a great counterattack. Comcast is successful in many ways in responding to their critics.


This is Comcast’s accompanying blog post to their 324 page response to critics – often in combative tone and words, over issues ranging from economics to politics to customer service – and stating why its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable should be allowed to proceed. David Cohen, Comcast Executive VP, claims that “virtually all” people who submitted comments to the FCC support the merger whether they know it or not: “Virtually all commenters recognize and concede – either explicitly or through their silence – that the transaction will deliver substantial consumer welfare and public interest benefits to residential and business customers and in the advertising marketplace.” Although several people and organizations are urging the commission to block the merger, Cohen argues that there is no credible opposition to the merger: “The opposing commenters don’t cite any credible, specific facts that refute the extensive evidence of these transaction-specific benefits.” Comcast stands firmly by their belief that the merger will not reduce competition or consumer choice for any of the services they offer. Despite Comcast not competing against Time Warner Cable, the second biggest cable company after itself, Comcast argues to the FCC that it already faces enough competition.


Carr, David. “Growling by Comcast May Bring Tighter Leash.” The New York Times. 28

Sept. 2014. Web. 6 Oct. 2014 <http://nyti.ms/1rDwH5m>


The Times undermines Comcast’s strategy by pulling direct quotes from the company’s response and then making sarcastic remarks: “Gee, Comcast, don’t sugarcoat it. Say what you really mean.” Carr emphasizes the harsh and hostile tone that Comcast used to prove his point that this will backfire on them. One of my favorite lines of this article is: “The word extortion is usually applied to guys with names like Nicky who wear bad suits and crack their knuckles a lot.” This was in reference to one of the reply comments from Comcast in which they used the term extortion to describe what the opposition is essentially doing. The image that Cohen paints in our head (which is humorous) of the usual person that extortion applies to exemplifies the certain ridiculousness as well as the ferocity in Comcast’s response. The Times phrasing, word choice, sarcastic and mocking undertone, all work towards convincing us how the response is a failed attempt and how now Comcast has exposed themselves to vulnerability, thus their response is only going to create more problems for themselves.


This is The New York Time’s response to Comcast’s comments against their critics. According to the Times, it was uncharacteristic of Comcast to lash out at its critics; the company “has a long corporate tradition of smiling and wearing beige no matter what kind of criticisms are hurled at it.” Carr writes that switching strategies, and calling out their critics instead, might not have been a smart move. The tactic might actually result in the opposite of what Comcast intended. Their “hot rhetoric” only makes the company seem defensive and frantic, which the opposition will take as a sign of weakness. What Comcast has really done is stir the pot to boil more.


Lyons, Daniel A. “My Turn: Comcast, Time Warner merger would benefit consumers.”

Concord Monitor. 13 June. 2014. Web. 6 Oct. 2014 <http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/12331721-95/my-turn-comcast-time-warner-merger-would-benefit-consumers>


I think Lyon does a better job at explaining why the merger is beneficial than Comcast itself. I think the reason for this though is because the main audience for Comcast was it’s critics and the FCC who are a more formal audience, whereas the audience for the Concord Monitor in the most broadest sense is their readership who are the general public, which is a relatively informal audience. Because Lyon is speaking to the general public, he does a very good job in dismantling our preconceived notions on the situation, and then revealing the truth, or at least what he finds to be the truth. He does all of this in a way that we, the public, can understand and grasp, and thus be persuaded by Lyon. Comcast, on the other hand, used much more complex verbiage that might be confusing to the average person – but in context of their primary audience, the language used was appropriate. Lyon gives us the example of how the FCC rejected the Blockbuster, Hollywood Records merger and how both companies collapsed later, leading us to the conclusion that if the merger had occurred, the video rental store sector would still be alive today. This was a smart strategy on Lyon’s part; drawing parallels between a former situation and the current situation leads us to assume the consequences of the latter will be the same as the former. This parallel essentially sets up the foundation for the rest of his argument and because it has been placed in our heads in the beginning, we remember it throughout the article – the parallel is the primary factor in persuading us of Lyon’s points.


Lyon takes a viewpoint on the merger that isn’t popular among consumers, but blames our ignorance of the situation for being blind to the benefits of the merger: “The cable company is one entity everyone likes to hate. Perhaps this knee-jerk animosity is to blame for the rush to condemn Comcast’s proposed….merger.” He argues that Comcast is actually a victim in industry with technology having “eroded the lines between hardware, content and media companies.” Comcast’s biggest threat is not other cable and satellite providers but the new entertainment sources. And this threat is viable to the cable industry across the board, thus the merger according to Lyon would actually help the sector to stay alive and relevant to today, instead of crumble into non-existence.

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