A comparative study of academic and journalistic speech criticism of MacArthur's address to Congress



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study compares the theory and practice of academic and journalistic speech criticism in an attempt to determine how journalistic criticism of a selected speech compares to academic criticism of the same speech. Scholars in rhetoric and journalism are studied for their theories of speech criticism. Critical studies of General Douglas MacArthur"s address to Congress, April 19, 1951, by both academicians and journalists are studied for analysis of their critical practice. The journalistic and academic theories of speech criticism of MacArthur"s address to Congress illustrated noteworthy differences. Whereas the academic theorists have developed a critical theory based on rhetorical precepts, journalists have not developed a theoretical approach to speech criticism. In practicing criticism, the journalists presented criticism based on a single set of principles. The academicians presented criticism based on multiple sets of principles. Whereas journalists considered the speaker"s accomplishment as the ultimate concern, academicians considered the speaker"s method of accomplishment. Unlike the journalists who directed their criticism to a mass reading audience, the academicians directed their criticism to a specialized audience. The Journalists worked in the immediate context of the event. Academicians worked after the event. In addition to these differences, the journalists provided more depth in idea analysis. Academicians provided more depth in rhetorical technique analysis. Working without a theory, journalists presented critical studies which Illustrated an Immediate “idea� approach to speech criticism. Academicians showed little concern for the ideas and their meaning. This comparison suggests that journalistic speech criticism emphasizes elements of rhetorical criticism which academic criticism does not. The value of the journalistic approach as another aspect of academic criticism suggests an area for further investigation.