Rhetorical Essay: Recent Popular News Story A popular news that recently circulated in various news media is the story surrounding Casey Kasem’s death. In an article entitled “Casey Kasem Teaches Lessons On End Of Life Planning And Elder Abuse” written by Danielle and Andy Mayoras and published online in Forbes on June 12, 2014, the authors presented relevant details which allegedly revealed controversial issues regarding an end of life decision. The current discourse hereby aims to evaluate the rhetorical appeal of the article through assessing the rhetorical elements used: pathos, logos, and ethos, in persuading the readers on the message originally intended to be received.
The rhetorical element of logos was effectively used in terms of providing facts and legal information that assisted in understanding the course of events. Initially, the controversy stemmed from the allegation of Kasem’s death being apparently put on the hands of his daughter, Kerri Kasem. The wife of Casey of 34 years, Jean, reportedly was so infuriated that a Los Angeles Judge “ruled that Casey Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, could suspend the artificial delivery of food and water to Casey due to his grave suffering” (Mayoras and Mayoras 1). Jean was cited to have alleged that Casey merely wanted to hasten the death of his father in order to cash in an insurance policy. A legal document, a health care directive, was reportedly signed by Casey in 2007, entrusting his daughter to make the end of life decision, when needed. As disclosed “Casey did not want to be kept alive if it ‘would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning’” (Mayoras and Mayoras 2). These facts were instrumental in providing logical appeal and assisted the readers in understanding the veracity of the arguments.
Concurrently, the authors also used pathos, or emotional appeal, as a means to sustain readers’ interest on the subject. The authors used adjectives that touch on the emotions of the readers. For instance, they indicated that “this is a sad story, with what certainly appears to be a tragic ending. No one knows how long Casey could have lived, or how much enjoyment he could have had during the rest of his life, if he had remained in the nursing home” (Mayoras and Mayoras 2). Likewise, the issue on finding out who really was to blame on the reportedly fast deteriorating condition of Casey was pinpointed to his wife, to wit: “while Jean obviously blames Kerri for this, it was Jean’s recent actions that may have caused his terminal condition. If he had remained in the nursing home, bed sores and infections could have been prevented, or at least prompt medical care could have been provided when they were first discovered” (Mayoras and Mayoras 1). Thus, readers would empathize on the person, who they perceive, served the best interests of Casey.
Finally, the rhetorical element of ethos was also present in terms of the credibility of the authors as litigation attorneys who are known to be knowledgeable on the facts that were presented. Likewise, the popularity of the subject, Casey Kasem, as exhibited through his years of excellent service as a radio announcer and broadcaster, added the much needed interest and appeal.
Overall, the authors were effective in enticing and sustaining the interest of the readers through infusion of rhetorical elements in this discourse. Through the evidences that were presented, the audience is accorded with the needed information, not only on the death of an icon. but also a lesson regarding end of life decisions through the health care directive.
Mayoras, Danielle and Andy Mayoras. “Casey Kasem Teaches Lessons On End Of Life Planning And Elder Abuse.” Forbes 12 June 2014: 1-2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/trialandheirs/2014/06/12/casey-kasem-teaches-lessons-on-end-of-life-planning-and-elder-abuse/.