Narratives in televised political ads: Toward alternative discourses and critical voters

Televised political ads are powerful instruments of campaign communication because they are dominant and ubiquitous repositories of narratives by candidates and their strategists. Using Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm and Robert Rowland’s narrative approach, this study looks into the use of narratives in 127 political TV ads in the 2016 and 2019 national elections. The discussion is divided into two major sections. First, the study uncovers dominant, emerging, and missing narratives in the TV ads and reflects on what these narratives reveal about Philippine political culture. Second, through a critique of these existing narratives, this study raises the challenge of reimagining and creating ads that foster critical public discourse. To this end, the paper recommends alternative topics, subjects, and strategies to improve TV ads in the future while recognizing the medium’s constraints such as length and costs.

What we do when we #PrayFor: Communicating posthumanitarian solidarity through #PrayForMarawi

When Islamic State-inspired extremists laid siege in Marawi City, #PrayForMarawi circulated across various social media platforms. Using Kenneth Burke’s Guilt-redemption rhetoric as framework, how was solidarity communicated through #PrayForMarawi tweets?

#PrayForMarawi frames the terrorist siege as the source of guilt which destroyed our upholding of cosmopolitan values. Mortification in the form of self-sacrifice is performed through the announcement of acts of prayer online while victimage is communicated by offering up ISIS as the tragic scapegoat that needs to be banished. Through this framing of the situation, the liberation of the city becomes the “amen” of the online prayer utterance, transporting socio-political events onto the realm of divine intervention. The liberation of Marawi was the ultimate purging of guilt in #PrayForMarawi. However, two years after the liberation of Marawi, no hashtags of solidarity are trending for the 100,000 Marawi residents who are still displaced and homeless. Some of the residents have even expressed their frustration and impatience toward the government’s broken promises of rehabilitation.

Because of the redemption acknowledged in the answered prayers of liberation of #PrayForMarawi, a post-humanitarian solidarity of “mass self-communication” purified our individual guilt while failing to provide a collective and sustained commitment for justice towards the suffering of others.

Revisiting Rhetoric in the Era of Politicized Media and Mediatized Politics: Interview with Emeritus Professor Herbert W. Simons of Temple University