Representing Rhetoric: Post-truth and the Example of Thank You for Smoking



Grounding assumptions about the function of public discourse are critical to the formation and functioning of society. One way of examining those assumptions is through analyzing how public discourse gets represented in popular culture. Patricia Roberts-Millers (2004) taxonomy of models of public spheres serves as a template for the analysis of the film Thank You for Smoking (2006). This analysis demonstrates how the film both advocates for and contributes to the evolution of a post-truth public sphere by obscuring the historical controversy over tobacco. Truth and knowledge are not merely hidden or ignored but neutralized, and spin is therefore normalized and ultimately justified as a necessary protection of individual rights in a libertarian democracy.

Keywords: post-truth, public discourse, film, tobacco industry

How to Cite: Donnelly, M. D. (2022) “Representing Rhetoric: Post-truth and the Example of Thank You for Smoking”, Poroi. 16(2). doi: