Presented at the 79th Speech Communication Association Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, Florida, November 18, 1993. Publisher website: National Communication Association.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Douglas Swanson was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. Focusing on the federal government's efforts to educate the public to the dangers of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a study examined "America Responds to AIDS" public service announcements (PSA's) through a traditional rhetorical analysis (PSA characters, plot, pace, tone, and message design). Forty-four English-language television and radio PSA's produced under the "America Responds to AIDS" campaign were examined. Results indicated that the PSA's: (1) support cultural stereotypes of male carriers and female victims; (2) used inexplicit terminology; (3) employed fear appeals; (4) blocked access to helpful information with a government gatekeeper; and (5) empowered AIDS as an active social phenomena--rather than a medical problem--which attacks helpless victims. Findings suggest that the PSA's supported "traditional" family and social relationships; denied homosexuals and other disenfranchised groups a voice in the fight against the disease; and failed to address behavioral changes needed to control the spread of HIV infection and AIDS. (Contains 42 references.) (Author/RS)