Rhetorical Analysis: “The Real Scandal”

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In “The Real Scandal,” Sharon Begley and Martha Brant develop an argument against the tacit allowance of the use of “banned” performance-enhancing drugs among Olympic athletes. The 1999 Newsweek cover story details incidents involving individual athletes caught using banned substances, the continuous race between the discovery and detection of new performance-enhancing drugs, and examples of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) complacency. In particular, the authors question the validity of the IOC’s current drug testing policies and protocols within the context of their self-defined role to “lead the fight against doping in sport” and “encourage and support measures protecting the health of athletes” (Organization). In order to better argue against doping in sport and advocate for more efficient and rigorous drug testing, Begley and Brant employ emotional appeals, logic, and a kairotic stance within their writing to persuade their audience of the necessity of firm action by the IOC and the worldwide community on the subject of performance-enhancing drug abuse.
One of the opening points of the article acknowledges the health and safety repercussions of taking performance-enhancing drugs. The authors include this information to inform readers of the severity of the drugs involved and the situation as a whole. For example, in 1997 cyclist Erwan Mentheour tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), which, “increases the number of red cells in the blood and thus an athlete’s endurance” (Begley and Brant 1). This initially sounds fairly harmless until the authors later explain that the drug “can turn blood the consistency of yogurt” and that “EPO has apparently killed at least 18 Dutch and Belgian cyclists since 1987” (4). Th...

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...cal argument describing the problems with the policies in place, the authors engender a desire for change within the readers. Furthermore, the timing of the article contributed to its overall impact. Because change was conceivable at the time the article was published, bringing attention to the issue had an actual effect on the debate and may have persuaded people important to the issue. By using rhetorical devices in conjunction with each other, Begley and Brant greatly strengthened the persuasiveness of their arguments.

Works Cited
Brant, Martha, and Sharon Begley. "The Real Scandal." The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 14 Feb. 1999. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.
Macur, Juliet. "Olympic Blood Samples to Be Retested." NYTimes. The New York Times, 9 Oct. 2008. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
"The Organisation." Olympic.org. International Olympic Committee, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.

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