Obama and the Ethics of Public Speaking

In a popular public speaking college text[1], my students are enjoined to be honest in what they say because "public speaking rests on the unspoken assumption that 'words can be trusted and people will be truthful.'"  Clearly blatant contempt for the truth is one kind of dishonesty but "more subtle forms of dishonesty are just as unethical."  These include juggling statistics, quoting out of context, [and] misrepresenting the source of facts and figures painting tentative findings as firm conclusions portraying a few details as the whole story citing unusual cases as typical examples substituting innuendo and half-truths for evidence and proof defaming, demeaning or degrading individuals or groups and engaging in abusive language Barack Obama "juggles statistics" by stating that unemployment numbers are down but neglects to explain that "167,000 people dropped out of the labor force every month."  Thus, if "342,000 workers had not been suddenly...(Read Full Article)

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