Richard Vatz

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Richard Eugene Vatz
Born (1946-12-21) December 21, 1946 (age 68)
Occupation Professor, Towson University

Richard Eugene Vatz (born December 21, 1946) is a professor in the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies at Towson University.[1] Vatz has been member of the Board of Trustees for several years and an associate psychology editor for the journal USA Today Magazine since 1987 and has been a member of the National Communication Association since 1969.


He has won Towson’s "President’s Award for Distinguished Service" (the University’s highest honor), the 2009-10 first Towson Student Government's "Faculty Member of the Year," the 2002 Towson University "Teacher of the Year Award," the Towson University Alumni Association’s 2003 Faculty Volunteer Service Award, and four Towson University Outstanding Teaching Awards in the five years they were awarded (1976–1980), the most of any faculty member at the university. His teaching will be honored at a "Teachers on Teaching" seminar at the 2012 National Communication Association national convention. Vatz has won the Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties. He blogs for Red Maryland. He is the longest serving member of Towson University's University Senate (35 years at the end of his current term).


Vatz has written a book on psychiatric rhetoric, has a new one that just recently came out (2012—and a revision scheduled for c. 2013 and August, 2014) titled The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall-Hunt) with the subtitle "The Agenda-Spin Model" and has published numerous articles on political rhetoric and media criticism in publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times and nearly one thousand academic publications and paid lectures. He has presented hundreds of convention papers and panels at the National Communication Association (NCA) and Eastern Communication Association (ECA), including regular analyses of political rhetoric in high profile seminars at the NCA with progressive colleagues.

He has appeared on Crossfire, Larry King Live, The Phil Donahue Show, William F. Buckley's Firing Line and many other radio and television outlets. He most frequently appears as a guest on WBAL Radio in Baltimore and has also appeared frequently on WBFF-TV, WMAR-TV, primarily on their talk show "Square Off" hosted by Richard Sher, Maryland Public Television, WJZ-TV, and WBAL-TV.

His seminal article, “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation,” written in the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric when he was 26 years of age, critiqued Lloyd Bitzer's 1968 article "The Rhetorical Situation" in the same journal and has served as the basis for his world view on persuasion; namely, that rhetorical study is conceived most advantageously for the field through a model of competition for agenda and spin. Vatz published a follow-up piece to the "Myth" article in the National Communication Association's January, 2009, Review of Communication. The article was titled "The Mythical Status of Situational Rhetoric: Implications for Rhetorical Critics’ Relevance in the Public Arena." Vatz argued there that the "Myth" perspective was the appropriate rhetorical approach to the study of persuasion, and that the perspective offered in "The Rhetorical Situation" was anathema to the academic status of rhetorical study, as it implied that situations caused the production of rhetoric rather than high-ethos rhetoricians' choices causing what audiences perceived as dominant situations and their meaning.

He is a conservative blogger for Red Maryland ( and blogs about 20 pieces a year on national conservative perspectives on rhetorical theory, media criticism and contemporary political issues.

He has been a member of his Towson University University Senate for a record 35 (ending in 2017) years, promoting faculty autonomy and consistently supporting the values of academic freedom, free speech and the marketplace of ideas and opposing the increasing bureaucratizing of universities.[citation needed]


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