Sample Essay on Rhetorical Techniques in Carroll’s Is ISIS in Mexico and Planning to Cross the Border?

After the 9/11 attack, the issue of terrorism and terrorist groups became a sensitive topic in America. Americans are worried and to some extent paranoid that terrorist groups will find their way into America and stage another attack like 9/11. In Is ISIS in Mexico and Planning to Cross the Border? Lauren Carroll examines the claim of the Republicans that ISIS members are trying to get into America and stage an attack. Carroll uses quotes from security experts to test the claim. In her article, she offers evidence about the claim from selected Republicans and quotes from security experts refuting it. Politifact is checking to verify whether the claim that ISIS is in Mexico and is trying to get into America is true. Why are certain individuals convinced that ISIS is in Mexico? After examining the claim and facts by security experts, Carroll concludes that the claim is mostly false. In this paper, I will sort out the various voices in the article and analyze the various strategies used by the writer to achieve her objective.

Carroll introduces her project by stating explicitly that the increasing presence of ISIS in the Middle East is the reason for the growing concerns of terrorist attacks in America (Paragraph 1). This concern has reflected well in the Republican Trent Franks’s claim, “we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez,” he made after reading a report from conservative website Judicial Watch (Paragraph 4). This establishes a specific relationship between the author and the audience. The stated objective of the writer is to weigh the legitimacy of Franks’s and some Republicans claim that the Southern border is easily accessible and ISIS could use it. However, security experts think the opposite and believe that this is not true. Based on these claims, Carroll concludes that it is highly unlikely that ISIS could get into America through the Mexican border and stage an attack. Carroll arrives at this conclusion after examining the truth behind the Republican claims and talking to the security experts. This is an argument of the fact as it attempts to establish whether the Republicans are wrong or right based on the comments of the security experts. As a factual argument, Carroll seeks to challenge the widespread beliefs of nearly half of the Americans who feel unsafe. Americans have a growing sense that things are not right as they were prior to the 9/11. They feel that they are coming off the rails in safety. Carroll uses the factual argument to end this controversy. She uses other voices to refute the Republican claims and at the end shows that their point of view is weak and does not convince the readers.

Lauren Carroll is a writer at PolitiFact in Washington. She previously worked as an intern for Tampa Bay Times and News and Observer. Carroll majored in political science at Duke University. With the qualification and experience, Carroll is definitely a reliable source of information and her facts are well informed. As a political science student, Carroll is well versed in matters concerning politics. According to experts, ISIS does not have a base in Mexico-maybe sympathizers. Carroll’s audience, on the other hand, is the nearly half of Americans who are paranoid that the country is not that much safe as it was prior to 9/11. They are hanging in the middle of nowhere and do not know whether to believe the Republicans who claim ISIS exists in Mexico or the Federal agencies who believe that they are not. The author using evidence from security experts disposes of any claims by Republicans that might create fear in the Americans and to assure Americans that they are safe in their own country. Political science students can also use the article in their studies as it is full of facts.

Carroll at Politifact acts as a fact-checker and verifies facts in a customary detailed fashion. She employs a strategy called The Truth-O-Meter. It was part of Politifact’s original vision. It represents the site’s conclusion on any given statement (our ruling), of course, but it is also the backbone of Politifact. Done right, fact-checks cut through the bramble of misinformation, oversimplifications, mischaracterizations and lies that make up so much of political claims. It hardly seems a radical idea that a political claim must ground on truth. But it is, among some people who run for office and make political claims and among a public that increasingly turns ideological media. If everything is based on opinion, everything is debatable. It all depends on who is more convincing.

Even so, Carroll has found herself part of this debate.  She structured her article in four parts: The introduction, the origins, it’s possible but unlikely and our ruling. In the introduction, the author introduces the problem: Republican’s claim that ISIS exists in Mexico and that they might enter America through the southern border.  She then states that this claim clashes with the federal government’s assertions that ISIS does not exist in Mexico and they are not planning an attack on American soil. At the end of her introduction, Carrol states her thesis, which is to verify whether the Republican’s claim is true or false. The origins is the second part of the article and it, like its name suggests, looks at the origin of the claim. The origin of the claim by Frank, a Republican from Arizona, is from an article on Judicial Watch that used many anonymous sources (Paragraph 8-9). This source site is a conservative site that watches judiciary. Judicial Watch, established in 1994, is specifically designed to make the open records documents, legal filings, and other educational materials to the public and the media. Unlike Politifact, the way Judicial Watch uses many anonymous resources in this report only discredits the Republican’s point of view. In the third part, it’s possible, but unlikely Carroll interviews the government analysts and asks for their professional judgment. In this part, the author uses statements from security experts to back up the argument that an ISIS invasion through the southern border is highly unlikely. The last part of the test Our ruling summarizes the claims and concludes “that it is highly unlikely that ISIS would operate in Mexico and stage an attack that involves crossing the border (paragraph 40).”

Considering the purpose of the text is to investigate the credibility of the claims made by the Republicans that indeed ISIS is in Mexico and planning to stage an attack on American soil by crossing the border, the structure of the text works well. The author introduces the problem which is the Republicans claim that clashes with the federal government’s assertion.  In the second part, she takes us through the claim that indeed ISIS is in Mexico. The author shows weakness in the Republicans claim by discrediting their sources of information. In the third part, the author shows strength in the federal government’s claims and in their assertions. In showing the weakness of the Republicans claims and strength in the federal government’s claim, the author has successfully been able to shift the reader’s opinion through the text structure. Eventually, when she concludes that the ISIS invasion attack is highly unlikely, the reader cannot help but nod in agreement.

This author uses voices to provide expert evidence like when she quotes security experts. In some instances, she uses different voices to maintain impartiality and allows the audience to experience the situation as if they were there. At the beginning of the article, Lauren quotes Franks a Republican stating that ISIS is present in Juarez (Paragraph 4). She uses his statement to represent the Republicans claims. Later in her text, Lauren quotes Judicial Watch’s article from which Trent had derived his claim. In doing so, Lauren shows readers how politicians make careless remarks regarding the country’s welfare after reading it online. Lauren uses Judicial Watch’s article to shoot down the Republicans’ claims. To support the federal government’s claim, Lauren uses voices from experts and reputable organizations. For example, Lauren uses the Department of Homeland security and its staff. In so doing, she provides an expert platform that Americans are likely to believe. By using experts, Lauren also makes her claim at the end more credible. Throughout her article, Lauren uses Franks and other Republicans’ quotes to represent the claim while she uses Homeland security and security experts to represent the federal government’s claim. Finally, she uses the Judicial Watch’s article to discredit the Republican’s claim.

By paying attention to the voices in the paper, I learned that an author can use them to achieve his/her objective. By quoting other sources, the author allows me as a reader to see the story through her eyes. Lauren masterfully uses different voices to build her case and at the end of her article the reader cannot help but agree with her. The text is mostly in the third person, describing claims in the voice a detached narrator, which allows the readers to gather their own intuition throughout the article. For example, the statement of David Schanzer, director of Duke University’s Triangle Centre on terrorism and Homeland Security, lures the reader to believe that the ISIS security threat is only theoretical.  Lauren uses Schanzer’s statement and Homeland security because they are experts and we trust their judgment. Franks, on the other hand, is not an expert and his source is an article on the website that had cited its sources as anonymous. Voice has played a major role in helping the author deliver her message to the widespread American audience. She manages to be subjective and neutral throughout the article without swaying the audience to think in a certain way. This way, Carroll uses several voices successfully to achieve her goal to convince and educate readers. She convinces her readers to care about the issue strongly enough to believe that it is highly unlikely that ISIS could get into America through the Mexican border and stage an attack.



Work Cited

Carroll, Lauren. “Is ISIS in Mexico and Planning to Cross the Border.” PolitiFact, 17 September. 2014, Accessed 13 April 2017.