Title

The Hyperreal Nature of the Trump Administration's Post-Truth Rhetoric

Date of Award

1-1-2020

Degree Name

M.A. in English

Department

Department of English

Advisor/Chair

Advisor: Margaret Strain

Abstract

This paper looks at the rhetoric of the Trump administration using the scholarship of Jean Baudrillard as a theoretical lens. Scholars have identified the current era as a time of "post-truth," in which truth has been devalued. The following study examines the connections between instances by the Trump administration that exemplify post-truth rhetoric and Jean Baudrillard's concept of a hyperreality. While rhetorical scholars have disparate definitions of "post-truth" and have identified various sources of the phenomenon, I demonstrate that Baudrillard's theories regarding simulation provide a conceptual framework that better explains the functionality and origins of post-truth. The prevalence of post-truth rhetoric is problematic because it sows distrust in institutions and ideals that are foundational to a functioning democracy. Post-truth rhetoric relies on strategies that are utilized by dictators in pseudo-democracies such as Russia and Hungary to keep the populace uninformed and complacent. Understanding how post-truth rhetoric functions is necessary to counteract its influence.

Keywords

Rhetoric, Post-Truth, Post-Modernism, Baudrillard, Trump

Rights Statement

Copyright 2020, author

Share

COinS