Rhetorical Analysis of a New York Times’s Article & Commentary

Chabris and Simons used all three areas of the rhetorical triangle to better appeal to their audience and gain the readers interest.

Chabris and Simons do not solely rely on facts and studies, instead they many times play with the emotions of their audiences. Even some of their examples used, such as the President Bush example, appealed to the audiences ethos because they made you question his ethics and his character. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] By adding quotes, they appeal to the audiences logos because they are appealing to reason and they are showing examples to back up their statements. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] When the authors give situations in which readers can put themselves in their shoes, such as when they mention that we as humans act differently when our memories our challenged and we begin to think differently and recall certain things differently, they appealed to our pathos because they are convincing us of an emotional response which then makes them appeal to our emotions. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The authors appeal to the audiences ethos even more by adding that we remember things better if hey [SP: they] are of greater interest to us. The reader can sit back and begin to think about instances in which this has applied to them. Dr. Tyson was also an example of appealing to the audiences pathos. The article talks about people asking him for the source to Bush’s statement, he simply replies that he has explicit memory. He is not able to give actual sources and that makes readers question his credibility. This appeals to the audiences ethos. Again, the authors appeals to the audiences pathos by stating that mixing up your memories can lead to several things including the death of others through the death penalty. The authors appeal to the audiences logos once again by pulling out instances on how our memories have shaped our perceptions and sometimes failed us, by reminding us about the events at Ferguson, Mo. The authors appeal to all three areas of the rhetorical triangle in the middle of the article by stating that the confidence one has with their memories can also effect the way they remember things. They even add instances and cases in which this has occurred. [already stated. Organize your sentences into paragraphs.] [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Last, at the end of the article, when the authors mention that it is best to admit our mistakes and to encourage others to admit and own up to them, they are appealing to the audiences pathos because the audience can relate and emotionally feel for people and themselves who have at one point made the same mistake [good analysis]. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] One of the NYT Picks was also one of the top picks for readers. this says a lot about this post because it adds ethos and credibility to it. His [who?] post appeals to the readers pathos because he puts himself in the position and goes as far as to admit the mistakes that he has caused. I think this is part of the reason why his post is in the top three of both the readers choice and the NYT Picks. I think that all the other comments that were in the top picks all touched on the audiences pathos and were able to attract them more.

[Coach’s note: Gabbyinthecity is believed to be Gabriela H.]


Rhetorical Analysis Mauricio Maldonado 5697934

Thesis(Chabris and Simmons use rhetorical devices effectively to portray their information about why our memory fails>)


In the article Why Our Memory Fails Us by Chabris and Simons, they proceed to talk about how the mind is an asset that as advanced as it may be and who it may belong to (Tyson, Bush, Hillary). It is still flawed by one certain obstacle, our memory failing us. Chabris and Simons begin by the example of how Neil Degrasse Tyson mistook the former president’s quotes from two different events. They use this example to show us how it could happen to anybody (appealing to logos), later transitioning to mention how this happens “Overconfidence in memory could emerge from our daily experience” (Chabris, Simons). They explain how when we hit a wall and someone challenges our viewpoint we believe we must be right since most of our perceptions are usually correct, this can cause be dangerous in some instances. The authors mention how this can cause “false convictions, and even death sentences” ( Chabris, Simons) I feel like this in part appeals to pathos,  because it makes the reader think “wow this is really unfair and illogical in a sense.” NOT SURE I AGREE, BUT THAT IS AN INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE AND INTERPRETATION SO GOOD.

Furthermore, I like how the authors later transitions into solutions and research being done by peers. NO NEED FOR FILLER WORDS LIKE FURTHERMORE OR PERSONAL PRONOUNS AND PHRASES SUCH AS I LIKE OR I THINK. They demonstrate how they have created expert panels to research the topic as well as papers published about how human recollection works. In this part Chabris and Simons attempt to get Ethos into the mix by demonstrating credible sources and research about the subject, and further explaining the process of how our memory recollection may fail in certain cases.  GOODThen the Authors go back to the beginning talking about how Tyson, recognized that ” the evidence outweighs his experience” so he apologized. To wrap it up The authors go back to mention examples of how other big public figures had this happen. Bush with the 911 first plane hitting the north tower, or Hillary arriving in Bosnia under sniper fire. I admired Chabris’ and Simons’ for putting politicians in the spotlight and telling them to handle being mistaken, instead of trying to dig themselves out they can damage their image instead, appealing to ethos and pathos.

After looking at the comments I found that the first top comment picked by the audience we Neil Degrasse Tyson himself. In it, he speaks of how he used to use the line to show a point, and how he confused the two speeches. The other post is pointing out all the dumb things Bush has said in the past, trying to discredit the authors. And the last one talks about how not every politician will not face their mistakes. On the other hand, the New York Picks were a little more uniform, they are all informed responses but vary in opinion. One even disagreed with the article saying that “we no longer teach people the importance of objectivity and reason so they let themselves produce inference.” As well as another comment that praises the article and mentions a few more examples. Overall I feel like if you want informed opinions to go to the NYT picks if you want entertainment, readers picks are for you. GOOD

Iliana Ferreira: Rhetorical Analysis

In the article “Why are Memory Fails Us”, Chabris and Simons argue that overconfidence in memory has led us to ignore factual information.

Chabris and Simons argue that our memory is not as sound as we may think. An effective use of ethos is presented in the beginning of the article when they mention Neil Degrasse Tyson. He is a very respected scientist and in the case of the topic, has had experience in which memory has failed him. The author’s present Tyson as a large-scale case where biases had blinded his argument. At the time, I’m sure they were more concerned with what faulty statement Bush might have said, but Chabris and Simons conclude that it was more concerning how his memory misled him. They used a series of quotations from Tyson himself saying how he was so sure of what and when Bush has made the comments about ‘Islamic prejudice’. Chabris and Simons effectively use logos including those quotations. As a reader, I felt that the argument was sound because they showed Tyson’s logic in making the statement. To build upon that, they explain how Bush, the President [lowercase] of the country at the time, also had an unfortunate encounter with memory. The article as a whole appeals to ethos because if these issues with memory happen to people that we look as authority figures, it can happen to just about anyone. Their tone throughout the article was informative one, with the objective being teaching the reader on how eyewitness and recollection of events can be faulty.

The top comments were very surprising to me. A handful of them discussed how terrible Bush was a president and why mention him in the first place [rewrite for clarity]. It’s as if their personal opinion on Bush discredited the rest of the information that was mentioned just because they didn’t feel that he should have been used as an example [Somewhat of a stretch. Dow’s comment simply targeted the authors’ ethos or logos by providing statements that Bush wasn’t intelligent]. This made me reflect on the article “Comment is King” by Virginia Heffernan. Some readers went completely off topic and just commented on Bush’s administration on 9/11 and mentioned nothing relating to memory. This in turn triggers other readers who read the comment and feel the need to weigh in as well. They may be even mentioning things they recall from memory [redundant], and it not [without accuracy] accurate. These commentators used bullet style writing where they display “facts”. [Period inside quotation marks]

On the other hand, the top comments picked by the NYT, actually engaged in insightful conversation with the message the article was to convey. They even pinned Tyson’s own comment, should the reader want to read more on the subject. I think it is very important for the NYT to pick out these comments because the governing platform, they should the most in keeping the content and the interactions useful and objective. [rewrite sentence for clarity]

Rhetorical analysis of a New York Times’ article and commentary

The point that the author’s were trying to imply was that it’s an a innocent mistake for one to confuse facts based on memories that were mixed up. People are so quick to judge and starting creating unnecessary fuel rather than being humane about a situation that happens on the daily.


The article written by Chabris and Simons talks about Tyson committing wrong statements about Bush because of false memories. In order to come to this conclusion, the use of the rhetorical triangle was brought out by both authors. Both Tyson’s and Bush’s quotes were utilized in their rhetorical analysis. The influence of ethos was heavily used when the authors were trying to explain how a person should think before they speak. In other words, how Tyson should know his facts before confronting a situation. Personally, the author’s tone is more considerate and understanding than lacking any sympathy or compassion. The point that the author’s were trying to imply was that it’s an a innocent mistake for one to confuse facts based on memories that were mixed up. People are so quick to judge and starting creating unnecessary fuel rather than being humane about a situation that happens on the daily. COLLOQUIAL LANGUAGE.

An example would be when Tyson thought that Bush stated the words “Our God is The God who names the Stars”, right after the tragic event of 9/11 that impacted the nation in so many ways. However, this is what caused all the negative backlash. The reason being since the event were Bush correctly stated the past statement was due to another event that occurred at the Colombia space shuttle tragedy. Additionally, the public eye than began to critique and produce accusations towards his character of being passable.

What the New York Times does so well in regards to expression, is having the category of “Top Three Comment Picks” available. What this section does is allow the people of New York to speak out on their beliefs and stance towards any predicament discussed in the newspaper. I believe this section is essential because the people who read this newspaper would rather be exposed to other’s opinions (people just like them) so maybe they can relate better or explore other viewpoints on sensitive topics. What the first comment section entails is an interaction through e-mails between one of the writer’s public talks and a listener/reader. This section incorporates the emotional appeal of pathos by valuing the reputability of the source so the reader can have faith in what is being spoken about. The second comment is sort of a rebuttal since it puts the intelligence of George Bush in serious question. The emotional appeal of ethos was the center behind this argument. PATHOS IS EMOTIONAL. The third comment shows the other argument of ethos that defends Bush’s comments claiming that his reaction was humane so his he shouldn’t be oppressed for his statements but instead rewarded for his actions and relief efforts. In other words, an innocent slander with no wrong intent shouldn’t be bashed no matter what your view of the individual is.

To sum up, reporting is something that should be done with integrity and not for headlines. False reporting will only remove credibility from an individual in the long run, even though it might seem like the right decision at the time that the report was released.


Vanessa Goenaga : Rhetorical Analysis

Thesis: Internet comments can be improved using a ranking system and editor supervision, since it provides an incentive for people to write carefully, either for status or fear of comment deletion.

Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons start with a narrative using Neil deGrasse Tyson as an example of memory retention failure. Dr. Tyson accidently fabricated a quote from George W. Bush. It demonstrates how a person’s memory is fallible. They further support their point by providing examples of experiments conducted by various psychologists and the National Academy of Sciences. They demonstrate that memories are malleable and can be easily distorted with time. They use the logos method of persuasion by recounting anecdotes and backing up their claims with case studies and experiments.

They reiterate the Dr. Tyson case and how he dealt with the fallout for his mistake. He apologized and took responsibility for his error, and is commended for his actions. They then shift some of the responsibility to the readers themselves. The message they try to convey is that people should not rely on a few sources for all their information, but have a social responsibility to find out the truth for themselves. People should be forgiven, rather than condemned them for the slightest error. This part of the article deals with pathos since it appeals to the readers sense of justice and fairness. The article also has ethos since the authors are both psychology professors.

Dr. Tyson’s post was at the top because he is the main subject matter for this article. He was written in a positive light by the authors which increased his trustworthiness. He provided links to offer more context for the events referenced in the article. This is an example of ethos since the message relied on the authors’ testimonial and the sources provided.

Keith Dow derailed the subject and intent of the article by focusing on one detail, Mr. Bush. He cites inflammatory quotes. This appealed to people who have strong resentment towards Mr. Bush. This is pathos since it appeals to the audience’s negative emotions.

Jacob Sommer continues the author’s conclusion and elaborates upon it. This could be considered an echo chamber, but the commenter does a better job establishing an emotional connection with the reader by sharing his own experiences. This persuades the audience to be more understanding using pathos appeal.

Peter C has accepted that as humans we all have inadequate memory. He wants people to acknowledge it as a problem, so that that we can find solutions for situations like the witness testimony case. This is an example of pathos.

Magicisnotreal simply states that the overall problem is mental laziness, since we have become reliant on inference rather than objectivity and reason. This is another example of pathos.

Elizabeth shares information that every beginning journalism class does an exercise that tests the memory of an event. This is logos since it is anecdote that supports the article.

There is no notable difference between the reader’s top choices and the NYT picks, since they are all written by different individuals with their own way of persuading others. Some of those posts even belong in both of those categories.

Epic Memory Fail

Our memory fails us. This is inevitable. Our recollection of what happened can be very different from another person who witnessed the same event. There is no evidence to why this happens. Are we all just born to lie or is it something else?

This article is about our own memory [and] being unable to accurately recall things that were said by another person. The authors of “Why our memory fails us [capitalize first letters]” use a lot of facts to make a sound argument; however, they also play on emotion. They dramatize the statements in such a way that it initially seems like Dr. Tyson is lying [Dramatize may be a strong word. If that’s intentional, prove the authors’ exaggerations]. Why would Dr. Tyson lie about this? This tactic draws the reader in. They use a combination of logos and pathos. Dr. Tyson did in fact lie; however, he did not do so intentionally. He lied because he thought he was telling the truth. His memory was unable to produce an accurate response. The authors say this can happen to anyone, and this is true.

The purpose of the article is to inform everyone that we shouldn’t just rely on our own memory. Sometimes our perception can blind us to the facts. They use instances where this has happened to public figures to show how this is true. They use Dr. Tyson as an example because he is credible and extremely knowledgeable.

Dr. Tyson was the top comment for the readers’ picks. It’s hard to tell if Dr. Tyson was offended or humbled by the article starting with his name.  He offered more resources where he speaks in depth on the subject.  The second readers [Readers’ Pick] pick only tried to prove that President George W. Bush was unintelligent.  The third gave reasons why he gives others the benefit of the doubt. The readers’ picks were more in line with the article than the New York Times picks. The NYT picks have almost nothing to do with the article and criticize the article itself but not in a positive way where the feedback would be helpful.

The authors succeed in proving the point that everyone remembers an event differently even when many people witness the same event. They then go on to claim that is why inaccuracies happen with eye-witnesses to crimes. People misremember what happened.

Finally, at the end of the article they claim that there is no scientific evidence as to why this memory lapse occurs. One commenter from the NYT picks calls it mental laziness. If it were true that would mean we are all just mentally lazy. I don’t believe that’s what was intended by this article at all. The purpose is to show that there is a problem with human memory and there is no evidence to why or how this memory issue occurs.

Rhetorical Analysis

Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons used ethos and logos to support their argument in their article Why Our Memory Fails Us by using very authoritative public figures and presenting facts from studies conducted on memory.

       Why Our Memory Fails Us written by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons argued how memory is not a reliable source for information. People are only human, so they shouldn’t be patronized for relying on memory and genuinely believing it to be truthful. To support this argument Chabis and Simons used the Ethos and Logos appeal of rhetoric. Their argument was based on evidence from significant public figures like President George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton. They also included factual information from reports and studies on memory.

        Chabis and Simons focused on the use of ethos in this article. The foundation of the argument started with Dr. Tyson, a known Astrophysicist who based one of his popular stories on a quote from President George W. Bush. The quote used for his story is not what President Bush said verbatim and there was no evidence to prove the quote was true, making Dr. Tyson’s argument invalid. Dr. Tyson defended his source of the quotation by saying he vividly remembered President Bush saying those words during his speech, but it was proven that his overconfidence in his memory failed him. This was an effective use of ethos because the authors explain that even a seemingly credible person like Dr. Tyson can make mistakes. Chabis and Simons continue with giving examples where President Bush and Hillary Clinton, both very prominent political figures have falsely made statements based off their memory. Using authoritative figures as examples showed no one is excluded from wrongly confiding in memories.

        The use of logos in the article also supported the argument. The authors refer to several studies done on the recollection of memories, and reports on how memory affects public policy. One of Chabis and Simons key sources for their argument was the National Academy of Sciences where they cited a couple reports explaining why memory isn’t as reliable as people think. Using logos strengthens an argument because its solely proven facts supported by evidence. People are very quick to be skeptical until shown facts.

       Now that news articles are easily accessible, reader’s comments have become as significant as the article itself. The comments on the New York Times are divided into reader’s pick and NYT pick. The reader’s pick top comment is Dr. Tyson himself in which he links Facebook notes regarding the subject of the article. The second comment is strongly disagreeing with the statement that President Bush is intelligent. The last comment is agreeing with the article’s stance in that memories aren’t the most accurate. Two of the NYT picks are the same as the reader picks, and the other comment is also agreeing with the article. These comments became top picks because they gave relevant information supporting the article and had valuable feedback. The only significant difference is the President Bush comment, which isn’t as relevant but is relatable and agreeable. The Times approach to ranking comments is effective because it highlights the most profound commentary whether it agrees with the article or not.