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Abstract

This paper responds to the call for rhetoric and composition instructors to engage with post-truth and fake news in the composition classroom. Pulling from personal experiences with post-truth in the composition classroom, the author leverages recent scholarship to develop a multi-phasic, objective analytical approach – rhetorical segmentation – that students can use to identify the purposes and motivations of a particular text. The approach of rhetorical segmentation relies on three primary steps: measuring rhetorical velocity, evaluating ideological modality, and identifying public harm. By combining these steps in a coherent method of analysis, the author argues that students are better equipped to understand how information has traveled, to where, and why. This ultimately enhances student recognition that every text has an underlying motivation and purpose that can change at each node of re-composition.

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