“Make Women Submit Again”: an in-depth analysis into the media representation of Donald Trump

By Siobhan Plowman

If there’s anyone who’s had their fair share of media attention, it’s Trump.

This man hardly needs an introduction; many know him as the 2016 American Presidential candidate, real estate mogul, billionaire businessman, reality TV star. Misogynist. Hero. Racist pig.


Whatever you choose to call him, it cannot be denied that Donald Trump is perhaps the most publicised figure of 2016. This man is everywhere.

Over the course of Trump’s presidential campaign, his representation and characterisation in the media has grown increasingly negative. The portrayal of Trump as a misogynist, in particular, can be said to permeate the current media landscape (late 2016).

This fairly recent but prevalent representation began to firmly establish itself in the media around mid-2016, as damaging allegations and information about his past began to materialise in increasing numbers — coinciding well with some particularly sexist statements on his behalf (such as his controversial view on abortion, or the Alicia Machado incident in late September). This has all seemed to culminate in the recent October emergence of the 2005 bus recording – which in turn spurred several women (at this stage, eleven) to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. Close analysis of several journalism pieces – a news journalism piece from news.com.au, a views journalism piece from The Brisbane Times and a cartoon from the Creators Syndicate – suggests that this representation is carried across the current media landscape as a whole; both news and views-style media, national and international.

Trump wasn’t necessarily represented in this way to begin with.

A Google News search of US headlines in 2010 using the keywords ‘Donald Trump’ reveals titles such as ‘The Apprentice’ premieres tonight: Donald Trump says to prepare for ‘the best boardrooms we’ve ever done’ (Entertainment Weekly, 16/09/2010) or Billionaire speaks out: Donald Trump (Forbes, 19/03/2010).

Search again in late 2016, and you’ll find headlines such as A 10th woman accuses Donald Trump of inappropriate touching’ (New York Times, 20/10/16); ‘WATCH: Donald Trump Walks Out of Interview After Question About Being ‘Labeled a Racist’ and ‘Called a Sexist(PEOPLE.com, 20/10/16); and ‘Another Woman Says Donald Trump Groped Her: ‘I Felt Intimidated and Powerless’’ (Time, 20/10/16).

Yes, these are headlines published at a time when a Presidential candidate is accused of sexual assault; but as newsworthy as the issue is, there seems to be a common pattern in the way the media portrays the topic and the man involved. It appears there has been a fundamental shift in the media to a point where many pieces, written both objectively and subjectively, aim to characterise and define Trump as a certain individual: one who assaults women and is sexist. The headlines above, for example, cite terms such as ‘Another woman’, ‘A 10th woman’, in an attempt to create a list of ‘endless’ victims; and use words intended to be especially graphic such as ‘groped’ and ‘inappropriate touching’. Words such as ‘labeled’, ‘called’, and ‘accuses’ imply that Trump is inherently guilty. They all position the reader to see the same negative representation of Trump. It is very rare to find a piece that would cast suspicion or doubt upon the women who have come forward.

The method of this portrayal varies. Some articles, such as ‘18 Real Things Donald Trump has Actually Said About Women’ in the Huffington Post  and The Telegraph’s ‘Donald Trump sexism tracker’ simply ‘sit back’ and present Trump’s actions in a somewhat factual manner, often in a list format; in the hope that Trump’s actions alone will be enough to horrify readers. Others, such as these pieces from the LA Times, The Courier-Mail and the SBS use Trump as a launchpad topic to discuss broader sexual assault or sexism issues, in society or in politics, which often, intentionally or not, positions Trump as the symbol or representative of these issues.

Even the images used in many articles regarding Trump seem to be specifically selected in order to portray a certain image of the candidate. Many of them show Trump getting close and personal to women, often with what appears to be a leering expression on his face. Trump is often positioned in a dominant stance, in contrast with the woman who is usually in a relatively more vulnerable position. These pointed images can usually be found at the very forefront of the article, beneath the headline, intended to have maximum impact on readers.

The New Daily, 9/10/2016
The New Daily, 9/10/2016
SBS, 11/10/2016
The Telegraph, 19/09/2016
The Telegraph, 19/09/2016
The LA Times, 26/09/2016
The LA Times, 26/09/2016

In some cases Trump is looking directly at the camera, which positions him to appear intimidating and/or threatening.

Now let’s take a look at our first in-depth analysis; an opinion piece titled ‘Tape shows disgusting Donald Trump at his sexist, misogynist worst’, which appeared in The Brisbane Times on the 9th October 2016. Author Paul McGeough instantly makes his central claim known, stating it explicitly in the very first paragraph:

‘This is disgusting. The unearthing of a 2005 recording of Republican candidate Donald Trump at his sexist, misogynist worst surely puts him beyond the pale for even more voters — women and men.’

This is a hybrid claim: one, that Trump is a misogynist, and two, that his sexist nature has been so exposed by this incident that it is likely to damage his campaign beyond repair. The fact that McGeough has explicitly articulated this claim indicates that he felt the need to state it clearly – that he assumes a certain number of his audience may not share the same view, and will be initially reluctant. While McGeough certainly doesn’t hide his viewpoint, he backs it with enough evidence and justification to classify this as an argument rather than simply an opinion piece. This claim is primarily evaluative, as it represents McGeough’s own value judgement, however it can also be classified as factual (he is trying to prove that Trump is a misogynist and that his campaign is ‘done for’) and to an extent causal (he contends that the tape has caused this response).

The article is permeated with communicative workings that portray Trump as a misogynist. To begin with, McGeough uses a number of appeals to popular opinion.

‘surely puts him beyond the pale for even more voters’

a poor attempt to normalise what for many veers towards criminal conduct’.

‘And it confirms the darkest fears of so many in the GOP who opposed his nomination’

‘As senior GOP figures lined up to announce they would not longer vote for Trump or called for him to step down’

His continued use of terms such as ‘so many’ and ‘even more’ subtly imply that the majority of people dislike Trump. McGeough backs this up with further appeals to authority and fact:

‘Even before the video came to light, Trump was seriously on the nose with women voters in particular – a recent Economist/YouGov poll showed that 68 per cent of female voters viewed Trump as either ‘somewhat unfavourably’ or ‘very unfavourably’.’

‘“This one will cause real damage,” Republican pollster Frank Luntz said.’

‘Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, predicted the video would sink Trump’s candidacy.

Verifiable facts and statements from authoritative figures are often an effective strategy as they add credibility to an argument.

The article is full of impassioned quotes from senior Republican figures condemning Trump, including Mitch McConnell, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Mark Kirk, Jon Huntsman, Reince Priebus, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, and Mike Murphy. McGeough presents these damning quotes one after the other, as if to bombard readers with the sheer number of them. These appeals to popular opinion are a deliberate attempt to sway readers. As human beings, we generally feel inclined to side with the majority – and this is what McGeough is toying with here.

The article is loaded with evaluative presumptions that characterise Trump, such as ‘bragged’, ‘fired off a statement’, ‘him being his worst self’ and ‘his sexist, misogynist worst’. These phrases are passed off casually as fact, with no attempt at explanation or justification; which indicates that McGeough believes this view is universally agreed upon by his audience. McGeough uses certain language that indicates Trump’s ‘ownership’ of negative behaviours, such as ‘much of his demeaning of women’ and ‘Trump’s presumption that men are entitled to treat women purely as sex objects’; again reinforcing this notion that this is ‘typical’ and ‘usual’ of Trump. The use of words such as ‘caught’, ‘unearthing’,claiming’, and ‘attempted’ implicitly suggest that Trump is inherently guilty of the accusations cast against him.

McGeough appeals to ethics and morality when he cites two very evaluative statements:

‘“as a father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologise directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape,” he said.’

‘Jeb Bush tweeted his outrage: “As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women”.’

These statements suggest that Trump presents a threat to ‘women and girls’ everywhere, and are intended to instil a sense of fear and disgust in readers; especially men who also have granddaughters, daughters, mothers and wives. The two quotes are divided by this photograph, strategically placed in the middle:

Caroline Giuliani.

This is Caroline Giuliani — a beautiful young woman of the next generation (and of course, a Clinton supporter); her youth emphasised by her long blonde hair and rosy cheeks. She stands tall, and looks up with a knowing, determined expression. She appears to be a woman with a big future ahead of her; someone who does not want to be disrespected by someone like Trump. Giuliani is not mentioned anywhere in the article other than the caption, so it’s probable that this photo was simply used for emotive impact; juxtaposed against the two quotes that present Trump as a threat to ‘women and girls everywhere’. Of course, such a comparison is intended to further propagate this representation of Trump as a threatening, sexist man.

While this portrayal is often essentially an evaluative representation of Trump, it is interesting to note that the same representation carries across to news media and ‘objective’ journalism. An example is news journalism piece ‘Donald Trump to Miss Teen USA contestants: ‘Don’t worry ladies, I’ve seen it all before’, published on news.com.au on the 13th October 2016. Written by News Corp ‘staff writers’, this piece follows the conventional news journalism format, with two introductory paragraphs outlining the ‘what’, ’where’, ‘when’ and ‘who’. Underlying this seemingly objective news report, however, is a thinly disguised attitudinal stance.

The central claim of this piece is fairly obvious: that Trump is a misogynist who sexually harasses women. The authors primarily use appeals to emotion in order to reinforce this representation, based on the assumption that the audience share the universal worldview that sexual assault is awful and unacceptable. This claim is never explicitly articulated, but implied; all of the attitudinally-charged content is assigned to external sources, in order to maintain an ‘objective’ appearance.

The quotes from Trump’s alleged sexual assault victims contain rather strong, physical imagery:

‘“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat,” Natasha Stoynoff wrote of the encounter’

‘“His hands were everywhere”, she said of an incident on a plane in the 1980s’

‘“Trump is much bigger— a looming figure— and he was very fast, taking me by surprise, and throwing me off balance. I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.”’

‘It came as a fourth woman, a recent Miss Washington, revealed Mr. Trump had “continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room”.’

These evocative, ‘shocking’ and ‘creepy’ statements are an appeal to emotion; designed to disturb readers and instil a sense of fear regarding Trump. These accounts are listed one after the other, not unlike the way McGeough listed the Republican condemnations in the earlier article; with the intention of seeming ‘endless’, or even overwhelming. The ‘victims’ cited include Jessica Leeds, Rachael Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Cassandra Searles, Mariah Billado, Bridget Sullivan and Tasha Dixon. Dixon’s statements were left until the very end of the piece, in order to leave her story lingering in the minds of readers. When the authors relay these accounts, they use language that implicitly suggests they are what actually happened:

‘she said of an incident on a plane in the 1980s, where Mr. Trump raised the barrier between their first class seats and groped her’

‘working as a receptionist at Trump Tower in 2005 when the businessman kissed her repeatedly on the mouth, leaving her feeling violated’

‘A reporter for People magazine detailed an unwanted encounter when she was reporting on Trump for the magazine in 2005’

‘It came as a fourth woman, a recent Miss Washington, revealed Mr. Trump had’

These terms imply a certain legitimacy to these observations and assertions.

In contrast, words that usually cast doubt such as ‘claimed’ or ‘alleged’ are reserved only for Trump. His statements are often cited as scare quotes:

‘And his initial response to its publication in The Washington Post – just “locker-room banter” – is a poor attempt to normalise what for many veers towards criminal conduct.’

‘Mr. Trump released a statement describing the New York Times article as “fiction”

‘Trump claimed his vile comments about women have been made for “entertainment”.’

This is a technique the authors have used in order to distance themselves from his words, as if they don’t quite believe him; aiming to cast a sense of doubt and undermine his case.

Powerful labels such as ‘mogul’, ’billionaire’ and ‘the Republican presidential candidate’ are juxtaposed against labels such as ‘10 year old girl’ and ‘teenagers’ in order to emphasise this representation of Trump as a domineering man who is a threat to young girls. Source identifiers are used to attach positive or negative connotations to external sources, such as the recognition of Jessica Leeds as ‘retired businesswoman’. This portrays her as a strong, independent woman who wouldn’t feel the need to make things up for money or attention, thus adding credibility to her statement.

A classic convention of objective news reporting is to include information from all perspectives. In this article, however, the long, seemingly endless, statements from his alleged victims are followed by the short, sharp paragraph:

‘Eleven of the contestants told BuzzFeed they did not recall seeing Trump in their dressing room. The Trump campaign did not respond to the site’.

And later:

‘The Trump campaign and the Trump Organisation did not respond to requests for comment. The Miss Universe Organisation, which runs Miss Teen USA, declined to comment.’

These short statements carry connotations of being brushed off, as if Trump is either guilty or could not care less. Note the use of ‘The Trump campaign’, ‘the Trump Organisation’ and the ‘Miss Universe Organisation’ instead of Trump himself. This reiterates the image of Trump as a huge, powerful businessman, who perhaps hides behind his institutions – again an implication of guilt. The ‘requests for comment’ assists in retaining the article’s sense of objectivity, but if the authors had really wanted to quote from Trump’s perspective, they could have chosen from the many sources available of Trump openly defending himself, even labelling these allegations as ridiculous. It’s not as if they didn’t want to cite from other media outlets; almost all of the assault victims’ statements quoted are from external sources, such as CBS 2 Los Angeles, BuzzFeed and even Facebook. The Trump campaign’s apparent ‘refusal to comment’ projects to readers that he is guilty and has no valid defence to these claims.

While this is a fundamentally ‘objective’ piece of news journalism, it continues to propagate the representation of Trump as a misogynist and sexual abuser.

Finally, let’s take a look at one of the many political cartoons that frame Trump in this manner.

By Steve Benson.
By Steve Benson.

The participants in the image are two singular icons: an instantly recognisable Trump as the main focus, closely followed by the Statue of Liberty. Cartoonist Steve Benson has drawn Trump in his trademark blue suit, with his round frame, oversized chin, orange face and mop of yellow blond hair. There is even the red word ‘Trump’ stamped across his back for clarification. The Statue of Liberty here can be interpreted as not only a woman, but by extension a symbol of the women of America, in addition to her traditional representation of American values such as Freedom and Liberty. The title mocks Trump’s campaign slogan, ‘Make America great again’.

Trump is the ‘active’ ‘doer’ in this cartoon. He has his back to us (perhaps implying he has no care for what others think), and is leaning or leering oppressively toward her, very much in her territory (on her pedestal, in fact), grabbing her around the buttocks or lower waist, pulling her toward him. The Statue of Liberty is also active; trying to fight him off and hold him back with a very anxious and angry expression on her face. She is on the receiving end, presented as the victim in this image. Her expression, the only one we see, is a very serious one: grimacing, with a downturned mouth.

As an audience we are quite distanced from what is going on in the cartoon. It is positioned as a long-shot; there is no eye contact, Trump has his back toward us, and the Statue of Liberty is only looking at him. This could indicate that like all of his alleged assault encounters, this has occurred behind the scenes, with nobody else involved. As an audience we are not invited to take part. At the same time, however, this is very public. They are, after all, standing on the iconic pulpit of America’s most famous statue. This could indicate that the whole world is watching as America’s women, and the country, are assaulted and manipulated by Trump; or it could perhaps be a reference to his sexual assault allegations coming into the public spotlight. This is a very simple cartoon, but its symbolism sends a strong message. While it is somewhat comical (What, Trump is even assaulting statues now?!), it ultimately represents how Trump is openly harassing every woman in America, and in turn he and his campaign is a threat to women’s rights, women’s liberty, and ultimately America’s liberty.

It is evident from the general media patterns and in-depth analysis of these three texts that the media landscape as a whole portrays Trump as a misogynist in late 2016. All of the worldwide media coverage, ranging from views journalism to news journalism, seems to position audiences to take the same view of Trump. He is often characterised with traits such as ‘leering’ and ‘bragging’ and appearing generally ‘creepy’. While some pieces, like the news.com.au piece, may be more implicit in their positioning of audiences, others such as the cartoon above are more explicit in their persuasive techniques. As site ViralMozo so aptly stated, “he’s become one of the most hated men not just in America, but all over the world.”


[2,456 words – not including direct quotes or titles]

Step 1 – Assignment 4 Proposal Siobhan Plowman

The subject I plan to tackle for my analysis is the representation of Donald Trump in the media, particularly his current characterisation and representation as a misogynist. I plan to briefly outline the history of Trump’s representation in the media – ranging from some brief analysis of headlines from five years ago, to 2015-2016 during his presidential campaign, to now; noting how the trend has dramatically shifted to overwhelmingly represent him as ‘misogynist’, particularly from mid-2016, as more and more damaging allegations and information about his past has come forward – coinciding well with some particularly sexist statements on his part (and culminating in the recent emergence of the 2005 recording).

At this early stage I believe my contention will be that the representation of Donald Trump in the current media landscape (late 2016) as a whole— from views journalism to news journalism, national and international— positions and portrays Trump as a misogynist. First I will look at this broadly through analysis of current headlines, in both Australian and international media; I will briefly discuss some common trends in the current media coverage (such as those pieces that sit back and let Trump’s own words and actions do the talking, or those that use the symbol of Trump as a launchpad to discuss broader sexual assault or sexism issues); and even look at the images and captions that are frequently used in media pieces about Trump (for example, selected images of him leering behind Hillary, or images of him getting close and personal to Miss Universe stars in the spotlight, and the particular captions that accompany these).

Then I will go into some more in depth analysis of particular pieces (at the moment I am considering these four):

Brisbane Times (Au) – ‘Tape shows disgusting Donald Trump at his sexist, misogynist worst‘ by Paul McGeough (Oct 9, 2016).

This is a piece of views journalism that is very open and forward in its views of Trump, but uses many facts, statistics and appeals to authority. It is also really interesting to note how this piece has used certain images and videos throughout its piece – for example, the carefully selected images of women he has allegedly assaulted, contrasted with the images of female Trump supporters.

The Age (Au) – ‘In the ultimate act of self-promotion, Donald Trump has destroyed his brand‘ by Jennifer Rubin (11th Oct, 2016).

This is a very strongly opinionated views piece that seems to pinpoint exactly how damaging Trump’s representation in the media has been. Unlike the first piece, this author doesn’t use many appeals to authority, fact or statistics. 

news.com.au, (Au) – Donald Trump to Miss Teen USA contestants: ‘Don’t worry ladies, I’ve seen it all before’ by ‘Staff writers’, October 13, 2016.

This is a piece of hard news that represents Trump in the same light, however it is simply far more subtle in its techniques and communicative workings.

Cartoon, by Steve Benson of Creators Syndicate (US):


I feel the symbolism used in this cartoon makes a pretty clear statement / message about Trump.

It is important to note that while the written pieces were published in Australian media outlets, at least one or two of them were reposted pieces that originally appeared in American media sources, such as the Washington Post. This again further demonstrates my point that the media as a whole seems to perpetuate the same image. I hope my choice of analysis of two different views pieces, a hard news piece and a cartoon further emphasises the broad scope of this representation.

There is nothing ‘Goodes’ about being racist

By Siobhan Plowman

The two views journalism articles ‘Fans have no good reason to boo Sydney champion Adam Goodes’ by Richard Hinds and ‘Man Up? I see a man down: booing and being Adam Goodes’ by Daryl Adair both appeared online in mid-late 2015; a time when the controversy surrounding racist abuse and Adam Goodes was a hotly discussed topic in the Australian media. Adam Goodes is a prominent indigenous AFL player who was incessantly abused at games, and the question of whether this abuse was inherently racist or not became an issue that divided the nation.

Both pieces are essentially arguing in support of Adam Goodes and condemning the abuse as racist, but for two pieces primarily arguing for the same side, they certainly contrast in their approaches. Hinds’ article, published on The Daily Telegraph website on July 29, 2015, immediately launches into an assault, directly addressing the ‘pathetic fools’ who ‘reflexively boo’ Goodes. Hinds writes at a fast pace which is almost hostile, directly quoting the most common opposing arguments and immediately refuting them one by one. He dismisses them so quickly, promptly and so scathingly that his rebuttals almost barrage the reader in an attack. Adair’s article, however, published in The Conversation on August 1, 2015, marks a sharp contrast. Adair takes a measured, insightful and considerate approach; so much so that his central argument is at first difficult to identify. His sophisticated language choices contrast greatly against Hinds’ colloquial expression, positioning him as an educated, intuitive man who is credible and trustworthy. While the two pieces do contrast in many ways, they also share a number of similarities in their argumentative style, such as directly acknowledging and confronting the opposing arguments, and using this to guide their articles.

Richard Hinds’ central argument is that those who abuse Goodes are being inherently racist, and that their excuses aren’t good enough. He never explicitly states this claim, however. It could be assumed that this is because it is so inherently obvious – the ‘evidence’ and the justifying arguments speak for themselves. This almost suggests that Hinds believes his arguments are so fundamentally straightforward, so universally indisputable, that there is really no need to articulate the central claim. The arguments themselves should be enough to communicate the key notion that those who abuse Goodes are racist and are in the wrong. When it comes to the unstated warrants underlying these arguments, Hinds makes the same assumptions. He presumably believes his statements are based on ethical beliefs that everybody should share, for example:

 “As Australian of the Year he talked about ‘My people’ not Australia. That’s divisive!”

 Fancy that. An indigenous Australian using an exalted platform to highlight issues that specifically relate to his people, not everyone. Unless, that is, the rates of infant mortality, deaths in custody and other ills that affect the indigenous community particularly have risen dramatically in leafy suburbia.

The warrant behind this argument could be ‘speaking out for people who are underrepresented in society is fair and ethical, not divisive’. Hinds likely chose not to state this warrant because, in an appeal to ethics, he assumes that the audience already widely accepts and agrees with this worldview. If Hinds had assumed the audience were sceptical about this, he would have perhaps explicitly highlighted or explained that this is a ‘fair’ thing to do, and why.

The central claim (those who abuse Goodes are being racist and their excuses are invalid) is primarily evaluative, as it is largely based around Hinds’ own views and opinions. The claim could also be said to be recommendatory, as Hinds attempts to provoke and almost ‘shame’ readers into admitting and rectifying their behaviour. The piece itself can be classified as a hybrid between argument and opinion. While Hinds provides argumentative support for the majority of his statements, mostly in the form of fact (Goodes voted best and fairest twice, indigenous statistics), comparison (the Haka, Rosa Parks) and appeal to authority (AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan), there are still elements of the piece that remain purely evaluative. He provides many negative assessments regarding the ‘boo brigade’ and their ‘childish jeering’, as they ‘stutter and stumble to try to justify standing with the red-faced mob’. The alliteration in the ’s’s and ’t’s in phrases such as ‘stutter and stumble’ and ‘try to justify’ only adds to the sense of their buffoonery as they attempt to form excuses. These phrases loaded with value-laden connotations are essentially not argument, but pure opinion; Hinds makes no effort to justify why their cheering was particularly ‘childish’ or why they ‘stutter and stumble’, for example. Hinds’ loaded statements could be aimed at both sides — on one hand, forming a sense of comradery with those who wholeheartedly support Goodes and no doubt share the same scornful opinion, and on the other hand, seeking to aggravate those who rival him.

Hinds is addressing quite a wide audience in his article. It appears that he has directed his piece to readers from both sides of the debate; those who agree with him unanimously and those who strongly disagree. Right at the beginning of the piece, Hinds makes reference to the ‘fools’ who are unable to explain why ‘they’ boo, immediately establishing an ‘us versus them’ mentality. He continues to state that ‘we’ve’ evolved too much as a society to behave this way, clearly separating ‘us’ from the ‘booers’. Through the use of inclusive/exclusive language, Hinds is not only addressing an audience that he presumes will be largely in agreement with him (‘us’), but is also provocatively excluding those who disagree. This approach suddenly changes at the third paragraph, however, when Hinds launches into his first counter-argument: ‘It’s because Goodes is a dirty player’. From this point on, he moves to address the ‘boo brigade’ directly. This becomes evident when Hinds begins to direct his arguments toward them specifically, using terms such as ‘you’ and ‘your’ and asking rhetorical questions such as ‘even if you are being asked to act with simple respect?’.  He continues to directly question and challenge those who oppose Goodes until the final two sentences: ‘Emboldened by the anonymity of the mob the fools will keep booing. Even if they can’t tell you why.’ This sudden reversal in tone and shift back to exclusive language is incredibly inflammatory. After addressing them directly for the majority of the piece, Hinds abruptly turns his back on them, excluding them once more. He finishes on ‘they’ in a very resigned tone, as if he has given up on them. This almost provokes those readers who oppose Goodes to leap up and attempt to defend themselves — which, as Hinds likely hopes, encourages them to realise that their arguments are indeed weak and feeble and that they should leave Adam Goodes alone.

Daryl Adair’s piece, like Hinds, shares a very similar central claim: that those who abuse Goodes are being racist, and that we should treat him with more respect. Despite this, Adair takes an utterly different approach, choosing to offer a far more balanced and considerate argument. The Conversation is a well-respected, educated resource and this article aligns with those values. The description of the author at the beginning of the article states Adair’s titles as ‘Associate Professor of Sport Management’ and scholar at the ‘University of Technology Sydney’, which immediately establishes his sense of authority and credibility on the subject. Adair is assuming a completely different audience to Hinds — while Hinds directed his piece toward those who already know a lot about the AFL, the players and the issue, Adair is addressing readers from all sides; those who oppose Goodes, those who support him, and those who know nothing at all about the controversy. This is evident in the hyperlinks that Adair has placed throughout his article; he assumes the audience will be patient and willing to click on these links and further enlighten themselves on the supporting information and evidence provided. Again Adair has assumed that the audience will be patient, dividing his piece into neat headlines and writing at a much slower, more considerate pace.

Like Hinds, Adair bases his piece around addressing and dismissing counter-arguments. While he uses the same technique— presenting the argument and then rebutting it— he differs entirely to Hinds in that he is very respectful and considerate, and chooses to discuss them rather than reject them with contempt. By acknowledging the legitimacy of other arguments, Adair further establishes himself to readers as an open-minded and reasonable author. Throughout the piece Adair attempts to maintain largely neutral and non-biased, and for this reason he doesn’t explicitly state his central claim. Nor does he explicitly state the warrants underlying his arguments. In Adair’s case, this is likely because he assumes the audience to be largely intelligent and like-minded enough to work these out on their own. By presenting the facts, he assumes readers will be automatically share the same worldview and understand them from the same viewpoint. For example, he assumes that when he writes that ‘Yet when Goodes spoke up subsequently in defence of racial equality and against racism’, readers would also share the same worldview that supporting racial equality and condemning racism is the right thing to do, and side with Goodes. It is through these subtle techniques that one can detect that Adair is writing in defence of Goodes. While he attempts to come across as largely neutral, he slyly positions readers to see the issue from his point of view. A good example of this is the way he introduces Goodes with all of his impressive titles at the beginning of the piece — ‘AFL legend and Australian of the Year’; ‘the dual Brownlow medallist, two-time premiership player and Swans games record-holder’. Adair subtly distances himself from the opposing viewpoints by placing them in quotation marks, such as ‘offends because he “stages for free kicks”’ or ‘Goodes has long been a “protected species”’, making it explicitly clear that he did not say these things himself. He strategically uses word choices that position Goodes as the ‘innocent one’, such as ‘Goodes surprised with a dance move he later explained was inspired by junior Aboriginal footballers’, which is what other critics such as Andrew Bolt have described as a confrontational, intimidating and ‘offensively violent’ spear-throwing gesture. Adair uses sophisticated language throughout his piece, using phrases such as ‘imbroglio’, ‘unedifying’, ‘he ought to have’ and ‘paradoxically’ (again highlighting his assumptions regarding readers of intelligence), but then directly contrasts this against more colloquial quotes by the opposition; for example ‘Non-indigenous critics invariably insist that Goodes “man up” and simply “cop it sweet”’. This positions readers to see these critics as uneducated and thus inferior in comparison. When Adair refers to the opposition, he varies between neutral labels such as ‘conservative commentators’ and ‘non-indigenous critics’, to more value-laden descriptions such as ‘hecklers’, ‘conspiracy theorists’, and ‘alarmists’. At one point he even describes ‘them’ as ‘claim[ing] a target’, like an animal with prey. Despite that he uses these subtly biased labels, Adair attempts to avoid appearing one-sided, confrontational or accusatory by distancing himself and referring to ‘them’ in third person. He uses phrases such as ‘those who boo Goodes’ and ‘many people did not believe’. When Adair wants to be direct in his point, he cites or quotes somebody else, for example Patrick Smith accusing people of being racist, or Stan Grant ‘implor[ing] people to think deeply about the impact of discourses of derision’. Several of the hyperlinks provided direct readers toward other views journalism pieces that largely align with Adair’s viewpoint, but he never makes these statements himself in an attempt to appear neutral. This could possibly be a persuasive technique, by positioning readers to see him as unbiased so they let down their guard; allowing him to subtly and slyly win them over. At the conclusion of the article, Adair appeals to ethics with a subtle hint about how this issue has ‘sparked a national conversation about civility and respect towards others’.

Both Hinds’ and Adair’s articles contain fallacies. Hinds’ aggressive descriptions of the ‘boo brigade’ throughout his article such as their animalistic ‘screaming’ and ‘repulsive jeering’ is a clear example of Ad Hominem. This is also an example of evaluative presumption, as he assumes this value-laden language applies automatically and doesn’t need to be justified. Adair’s article can also be seen to contain the Ad Hominem fallacy, as he personally attacks Shane Warne, Sam Newman and Jason Akermanis in an attempt to remove credibility from their arguments. This is a fallacy because this is attacking the people themselves; while they may have made mistakes in the past, this doesn’t necessarily mean their arguments are invalid. Unlike Adair, however, Hinds seems to also use fallacies to his advantage, deliberately highlighting them within the opposing arguments. For example, he points out that comparing Goodes’ celebratory dance to ‘flipping the bird’ is a ridiculous false analogy. He also makes use of the ‘slippery slope’ fallacy to sarcastically highlight the flaws in the counter-argument:

A second indigenous player throws an imaginary spear and a syndicated columnist would have us believe there will soon be dot-painted tanks rolling down suburban streets? Next week: How Aborigines are using taxpayer money to buy nuclear weapons!

While some of Hinds’ arguments are weakened by flaws and fallacies, sarcastically identifying flaws in the counter-arguments is an effective method of persuasion.

Both Adair’s and Hinds’ articles appear similar in many ways. They can both be considered a hybrid of opinion and argument, and their claims are very similar: both largely evaluative and recommendatory. Both of them structure their own arguments around the popular counter-arguments of critics, and are weakened by fallacies such as Ad Hominem. They are both directed toward audiences who sit on both sides of the controversy. Despite this large number of similarities, however, the two views journalism pieces in support of Adam Goodes are fundamentally very different and contrast greatly in their approaches; although both are equally effective in different ways.




Assignment 1 proposal – Adam Goodes and racism

The topic or subject area of the views-journalism items you are proposing to deal with in your 1st written assignment

 The topic I will be dealing with is the controversy surrounding racism and AFL player Adam Goodes.

The headline/title/name of the items (or a brief designator if a broadcast item) and information on where and when they were published/broadcast

Item 1:

Fans have no good reason to boo Sydney champion Adam Goodes by Richard Hinds, published in The Daily Telegraph on July 29, 2015 10:40am


Item 2:

Man Up? I see a man down: booing and being Adam Goodes by Daryl Adair published on The Conversation on August 1, 2015 2.50am AEST


One paragraph summarising what you believe are going to be your primary conclusions – i.e.what you anticipate will be the main point of your intended article.

 For two pieces primarily arguing for the same side (in support of Adam Goodes), they certainly take two contrasting approaches. Hinds’ piece immediately launches into an assault, distancing himself from the ‘fools’, immediately establishing an ‘us versus them’ mentality. He makes his position very clear and writes in a fast-paced tone which is almost hostile; simply quoting the most common opposing arguments (of the ‘fools’), and immediately rebutting them without hesitation. The piece is laced with elements of sarcasm designed to mock those who oppose his case, for example the line ‘you can only imagine the terror that hundreds of people sitting amid a crowd of like-minded fans yelling abuse at a footballer from behind a fence must feel when the subject of their taunts hurls an imaginary spear’.

In sharp contrast, Adair’s piece is far more measured, and perhaps more considerate of those on the opposing side. Unlike Hinds, he doesn’t leap to conclusions and fiercely battle for one side; instead opting to present balanced arguments and quote those from both sides without (too much) mockery. His method of presenting argument is entirely different. Despite this more balanced approach, it becomes evident quite early on in the piece which side Adair is arguing for. While he doesn’t state his claim explicitly, his use of select words throughout the piece subtly suggest that he supports Goodes, and is disappointed with the behaviour of those who boo him.

In essence I will be explaining how the two pieces contrast, whilst in the support of the same argument.