RCL – News Articles

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in RCL | 2 comments

I’m thoroughly convinced that when people log onto the Internet they lose all common sense. This can be attested by simply looking at the comments section of any news website or blog. For this week’s assignment I ventured onto an article about the recent labor protests of Walmart workers. Apparently, the workers are protesting because of tension between Walmart higher-ups and the labor unions. There have been pay-cuts, longer hours which have caused the protests and walk outs.

When I came across the article I expected to see some empathy for these workers but I was sorely mistaken. Instead, the consensus was that if the workers were unhappy then they should just shut up and quit. Last time I checked there was a 7.8% unemployment rate; I don’t think anyone is quitting their job anytime soon. Also, in these comment sections there seems to be a complete lack of rhetoric. Not only do people argue the content of the news stories but they argue with each other as well. When this happens, there is a complete lack of rhetorical strategies. Online debates are vastly different from a face-to-face interaction because one can hide behind a screen and a keyboard when online. On the internet, there is no need to use social graces or etiquette which accounts for the lack of common sense or niceties. I also find that online debate strays from the main point pretty quickly. One can be arguing about the unemployment rate and suddenly someone brings up that the other person is a nerd living in his mom’s basement. There isn’t usually much sense in online debates


  1. I heard about this whole Walmart situation. I agree with you that one would feel bad for these workers for not getting what they deserve. I think the commentators are wrong on saying that they should quit because everyone has the right to freedom of speech. If they don’ t think they are getting what they deserved, why not fight for it? In all honesty, I feel that most of the time commentators post comments such as the ones for this article just to start a whole online debate on the issue. Some commentators really have no idea what they are talking about so I agree with you that there is a complete lack of rhetorical strategies. I also agree that online debates are so different from a debate in person because people can change the topic so quickly online and completely forget what they are arguing about. Especially since some of these debates can take place in a long period of time. A debate in person can be quick but at least they stay on topic.

  2. I agree with just about everything you said. For the most part, there really isn’t any sign of intelligent conversation on the internet unless someone has put their real name out there because they want to maintain their reputation. I think for the most part, articles on certain websites only attract certain types of users. Yahoo articles for example, are commented on by people who were given the opportunity to comment with their emails. So pretty much every single person with an inkling of an opinion can post without fear of repercussions. The way the comment sections are designed on Yahoo also makes it difficult to actually converse with someone. When people create an account on NPR though I feel that they are much more focused on finding out more about news and they will be able to discuss more in-depth about their ideas and thoughts. I think Republicans often have a more difficult argument because they have to say, no I don’t want to help poor people… essentially. But some gifted speakers can explain why the party thinks that some people are taking advantage of welfare and expound upon the logic behind their train of thought. However, people online are extremely callous and attack the workers shifting all the blame towards them.

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