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Because Freedom Can't Protect Itself

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kaayy117
Words 1532
Pages 7
Kayla Yelton
Dehr/ Huffman
ENG W131-46
Final Draft Rhetorical Analysis
Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself
ACLU’s website is very large and a reader would probably only come across it if he or she was on a search for specific information. The website is built mostly off of their credibility. The main point made by the website is that the reader has to protect his freedom, someone has to take a stand. ACLU builds up much of their credibility, and through articles and blog posts they try to gain support. Many of their articles are argumentative and informational as a way to gain support for their cause.
When searching a popular, controversial topic ACLU will most likely pop up on the first page of one’s search results. When doing a search about “drug testing in the workplace” ACLU came up second with a link to the article, “Privacy in America: Workplace Drug Testing.” The ACLU’s concerns and values can be summarized by going to the bottom of any page on their website. The headers of links at the bottom of the page give away what topics they’re working with such as Human Rights, Immigrants’ Rights, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Rights, and Racial Justice. When using a search engine to search for any topic in these categories ACLU usually comes up on the first page of websites. ACLU comes up at least fourth or fifth most of the time when searching topics they are working with. This gives them more credibility because it tells the reader that this website is popular among many readers or that it is visited quite often.

“Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself,” and the page logo are the first things a reader sees on the website because they are placed at the very top in darker shades of blue. These two things give the reader an idea of who is behind this website. The logo says, “ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union,” and the Statue of Liberty is featured in the top left corner of the logo. The name of this group has been made very popular among Human Right’s activists throughout the years. The name says they’re a union which also tells the reader that this is a group of people and not just one person. The reader understands from the logo that this is a group fighting for human rights because that is essentially what “civil liberties” suggests. Then, the motto backs that idea up. “Because freedom can’t protect itself,” means that as a people we have to fight for our freedom. If the reader doesn’t fight for freedom it will be taken away or limited. The motto tells the reader that freedom is helpless unless the people work to preserve it and that is what ACLU is working to do.
The article “Privacy in America: Workplace Drug Testing,” is surrounded by links, most links are categorized. The website has the main or more important tabs listed in red unlike the rest of the tabs on the page, which are blue, to draw the reader’s attention these tabs. The reader is drawn to many of these different links either by personal interest or because it is bolded and sticks out. Right away it is apparent to the reader by the number of links, and the topics throughout the links, that this is a very large and active website. Throughout the page ACLU is constantly trying to draw the reader to other topics because they want as many readers’ support on as many topics as possible.
The article only uses quotes twice. The first quote is after the first couple of paragraphs while the other one is right past the middle of the article. The first quote has the author right below it, but the second one doesn’t seem to have an author. The quotes set a trend of negativity. The quotes are much larger than the regular text and are light blue as a way to stand out from the rest of the article. The first quote is bolded entirely unlike the second one where only the title is bolded. This leads the reader to pay attention to the first quote before they read the second one. The quotes are set up with a similar purpose to the technique of bolding certain phrases. The quotes give these sections of the article more light, or attention, and also makes the reader feel upset or sympathetic. The quotes communicate feelings of error, humiliation, degradation, and mortification by putting the reader in the author’s shoes for that moment. This enhances the theme of getting the reader to feel wronged and sympathetic.
The bias of the article is clear from the very beginning. In the second sentence it starts by negatively addressing drug testing as unfair, inaccurate, and states that it’s an unproven method to stopping drug use. The article then tries to share the feeling of having privacy invaded by stating how few laws we have to protect privacy and how innocent people are tested and invaded personally without suspicion. The article bolds some phrases to give certain emphasis and attention. The audience is lured in to feel sympathetic towards these bolded points, such as, “Even though they aren’t suspected of drug use.” The bolded points throughout the article are mostly negative using terms like invasion, error, humiliation, degradation, mortification, and fail.
There were no sources in the article to show where they got their information, but instead they were all placed at the end. This is confusing to the reader since they cannot tell which information came from which source unless they go to the sources themselves. They used 3 different types of sources. They used a survey, 2 books, and a scholarly journal article. These sources give the article credibility since the information was found in several different locations and by 3 different means.
The end of the article is followed up by a response article which is about 4 paragraphs long. This last article is labeled “What We Are Doing.” This article is short so the reader can quickly read it over without getting bored or distracted. ACLU wants people to know what they are doing; by keeping it short more people are more likely to see the important points and draw out that information. If they would have elaborated and made this section longer they could possibly lose the reader in the text. The important information such as their work would be skimmed past. Keeping things short avoids this. The response starts by sharing what ACLU has done to further their cause, which establishes more credibility by showing these people are going out and actually working to make a difference on these issues, and then moves on to explain the progress that has been made in the states. The response finally ends by putting the power in the readers’ hands by saying that the reader can help make a difference. When moving on through the website the reader can see it is mostly comprised of articles on topics they have worked for and the history of the organization. These articles stand as a way to inform people and to get them behind ACLU’s cause. Most of their articles are argumentative or informative.
When at the home page one of the first things the reader sees is a display that is flashing news and updates about their work. This builds on their credibility because all of the updates are recent human rights cases. Then below there are several blogs and press releases posted daily. This is also a strong backing to their credibility since these blogs are discussing work actually being done by them and the press releases confirm it since those are public and made by outside sources.
If the reader were to go on to the About Us page the foundation of credibility built throughout the website would be concreted. In this portion of the website ACLU discusses how they were formed and lists all the work they have done since. This concretes their credibility because they have been around since the beginning of the twentieth century and have been in many legitimate cases. This gives the reader an idea of what type of people ACLU is comprised of by seeing what issues they have worked with.
The voting and working publics are the targeted audiences because these people can help make a difference and support their cause. Politicians, voters, workers, and activists are the most likely to come across this page. The topics fall in line with the interests or lives of these types of audiences. This website is on a mission to get as many supporters as possible. That is the main purpose of the website. The second reason for this site is to inform. ACLU draws people in with topics people are interested in or that affect them. In the articles they talk about what the public cares about. They often talk about what’s wrong or what they don’t agree with. Then, they try to get the audience to see things from their point of view. This way they can gain the support of many more civilians.

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