Reading Perception and Writing Intent

By Kenneth Upsall (Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Reserve)

In recent readings I’ve been re-hashing a common theme in written work; perception and intent. Authors are, by necessity, constantly placing their own emphasis on the subject matter they write and drawing their own conclusions. A great contemporary example is President Obama’s speech at the recent West Point Commencement. On alone there were several different takes on this address. Two examples are here and here. If you were researching this speech for future academic endeavors it would be possible to draw two completely different conclusions from each of these sources, located in the same place. On a website like Foreign Policy, much like War Council, the goal is to create and perpetuate debate. Contributors are prone to grenade throwing in order to spark discussion about a topic, and a presidential address is certainly excellent fodder for such an exercise.

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