The first thing you need to do is choose an editorial to look at. Google the word “editorial” and anything you are interested in. 

Once you have your editorial, you are looking for examples of ethos (the reasons we should listen to the author: is he or she an expert? Do they have experience? Is this a good publication?), pathos (words that target the author’s emotions) and logos (quotes, facts, graphs, etc.). You will talk about each of these in a paragraph. Your thesis will be either “the author makes a successful argument” or “the author does not make a successful argument.”


Name of Student

Name of Professor

English 101 Paper

30 January 2015.


This paper examines an editorial that appeared on The New York Times on October 22, 2014. The editorial addresses the issue of the verdict on four former employees of Blackwater, an international security company, who were accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. The paper analyzes the ethos, pathos, and logos of this editorial to determine whether the author makes a successful argument. The thesis of this paper is that the author indeed makes a successful argument.


            Regarding ethos, the most important thing to point out is the nature of the publication in which the editorial has been published, in this case The New York Times. The New York Times is a highly prestigious, credible publication with a very wide readership not just in New York City but also across the US and indeed the rest of the world. Again, this editorial was written by the editorial board of The New York Times, and this is another important reason why a reader should listen to what is being said. Based on the high-profile nature of this newspaper, one would expect its editorial board to comprise of professionals who are experts in dissecting public-interest issues and deciphering both sides of the debate in an objective manner. Moreover, the authors have the requisite experience by virtue of being members of the editorial board of such a prestigious newspaper.

            The authors have used pathos on several occasions to make an argument. The editorial itself touches on an emotional issue in which 17 Iraqi civilians killed and the four people accused of causing those deaths are the subject of a court verdict (The Editorial Board, The New York Times). The authors point out that these deaths marked one of the darkest moments in the long war in Iraq. This statement is heavily loaded with emotion because it evokes memories of deaths of thousands of people during the Iraq war. It directs the reader to make a judgment on the verdict based on the understanding that the Iraq war led to death and suffering for many innocent civilians. Moreover, the authors’ description of the private security contractors as reckless in their operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans is meant to trigger emotional responses among readers. It influence the readers to impute the same level of recklessness to the actions of the four security guards that were convicted of shooting and killing the 17 innocent Iraqi civilians in 2007.

            The editorial is rich in facts, and this greatly contributes to its effectiveness in making a successful argument. For instance, it correctly puts the figure of those killed in the Iraq gun attack at 17 and the date of the attack as September 2007 (The Editorial Board, The New York Times). The authors also quote the actual words of a former Blackwater employee, who testified in court about the manner in which innocent, unarmed Iraqi civilians were shot dead. The names of the defendants as well as that of the court where the verdict was read have also been provided. The editorial also cites the Congressional Research Service report of 2013 to support the claim that at least 50 percent of the US military force during the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Balkan wars was made up of private security contractors. However, the authors have not indicated the specific number of private security contractors who have pledged to behave in an ethical manner in the wake of the international outrage that followed the Blackwater debacle. Nonetheless, they have created an impression of factuality by indicate that the number of those contractors is more than 600.

            In conclusion, the authors of this editorial make a successful argument through proper use of ethos, pathos, and logos. In terms of ethos, emphasis is on the position of The New York Times as a prestigious publication as well as the authoritative poise of the editorial board. Regarding pathos, they trigger emotional responses from readers through a detailed description of the Iraq killings. In terms of logos, the authors provide important facts relating to the argument as well as credible sources of information.

Works Cited

The Editorial Board, The New York Times. A Verdict on Blackwater. October 22, 2014.

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