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Volume 7, Issue 4

Rhetorical Logic Bombs and Fragmented Online Publics of Vaccine Science
Miles C. Coleman

Vaccine denialists are commonly conceived as those who trade “internet articles” within their own “worlds.” Such fragmentation of publics is often regarded as a problem exacerbated by the technical features of the web (e.g., the algorithms of search engines and news aggregators) allowing people to avoid texts inharmonious to their already established worldviews. I make the point that such fragmentation is not simply a technical problem, solved by adding “diversity of texts,” exposing members of fragmented publics to new content, but also a rhetorical one, requiring adaptive engagement with the forms, and lines of argument, practiced between others’, and one’s own, publics. Rhetorical logic bombing is offered as the strategy of placing media within the common network of texts that constitutes a given fragmented public in order to “sneak in” a critique of the belief-structures of that public. Keywords: digital rhetoric, rhetoric of science and technology, vaccination, rhetorical logic bombs, networked publics

Strategic Silence as a Frame for Understanding the 2017 Embargo Against Qatar
William F. Harlow

In this essay, On June 5, 2017, a coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia announced an embargo against Qatar. Several of the states were fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council with Qatar, and the embargo was thus taken against a close ally. The reason given for the embargo was Qatari support of terrorism, but the public explanation did not detail what specific things the government in Doha had done. As the crisis unfolded, the Saudi-led coalition continued to provide no further details even as other plausible explanations circulated in the press. In this paper, I examine the coalition’s failure to communicate specifics as an act of strategic silence. Drawing from the scholarship on strategic silence, I also analyze the audience at whom the silence was intended and what goal the coalition hoped to achieve through its use. Keywords: Qatar, Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia, embargo, strategic silence