The Debate over Caster Semenya

MDIA2002 Media Analysis Article 2

Kostas, Carolena z5061221 F10A


The Debate over Caster Semenya


Olympians are known to be celebrated by their nation and by their fans, however, issues often arise over the fairness of competition, be it doping or other means of cheating. This in particular has affected South African 800m Athlete, Caster Semenya who has hyperandrogenism, (a medical condition characterised by excessive levels of androgens, male sex hormones such as testosterone, in the body and the associated effects of the elevated androgen levels) and thus a global debate has occurred over how to treat hyperandrogenic athletes.


With an influx of current media representations surrounding hyperandrogenic athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics, Caster Semenya is in a position of intense scrutiny following the debate whether it is fair to allow her to compete or to bar her. “South African Athlete Caster Semenya reportedly under armed guard at Rio Olympics following safety fears” by Benedict Brook for and “Caster Semenya 800m Rio Olympics: Most sensitive race of Games as South African star runs” by Tony Harper for FoxSports, advance similar viewpoints and offer insight into the different perspectives and world views held by authority, athletes and sports fans alike regarding this ethical issue. The personal viewpoints are not advanced by each author, rather the reader’s need to conclude for themselves, after careful consideration of the evidence put forward through use of quotes from figures with relevance to athletics and the sporting world.


A myriad of opinions is portrayed through news stories and there is no conclusion yet on how to treat Semenya’s case in regards to her competing as a woman who is hyperandrogenic. Semenya’s athletic career has been put at stake since the IAAF launched an inquiry into her gender in 2009 after she won an international title at age 18. Semenya has been characterised as an athlete with extraordinary talent but the question remains, is she too fast for a woman? The general attitude represented by authority and sporting figures is that at the heart of the ethical debate, she has grown up and identifies as a women however further research needs to be made to determine if she has an unfair advantage over athletes who do not have her condition. Thus the sensitive issue of her competing at the Rio Olympics continues.


Author Benedict Brook from provides a balance of quotes for those in favour of Caster Semenya competing and those who believe she has an unfair advantage, this positions the audience to better understand each side of the argument before making their own conclusions. Brook’s use of emotive language portrays the issue of the sensitivity of her competing, as displayed in the quote; “Fearful of disquiet from the fans of rival runners spilling over into physical violence they have beefed up Semenya’s security.” Whereby he insinuates that the events currently unfolding in Rio are very controversial. After introducing the current situation in Rio surrounding Semenya, Brook then appeals to authority and ethical social norms, by recounting facts that arose about Semenya’s gender. “A leaked medical report said the athlete has internal testes a condition called hyperandrogenism which naturally increases levels of testosterone. This, in turn, can aid in the building of muscle — essential for an elite athlete.” Through an appeal of emotive language coupled with facts, Brook’s argumentative support justifies the claim that Semenya may have an unfair advantage competing against other women which highlights the generalized attitude people hold when they first hear about Semenya. Generally, the media portrays hyperandrogenism in female athletes in a negative and unfair light and thus Brook argues against these presumed representations which can have a profound influence on the general sporting readership’s opinions of Semenya competing at the Rio Olympics. In this instance, Brook has characterized Semenya as a muscular athlete with uncertainty into her gender, however still implicitly evaluating the case that surrounds her in a justified manner.


In order to present a balanced argument to ensure his readers can come to an educated conclusion, Brook includes quotes to express the opinion of Semenya’s rivals and her supporters, and in this way does not not advance his own opinion on his readers. Drawing firstly upon the opinion of competitors; “Rivals say they would be labelled a drug cheat if they topped up their testosterone to the levels of Semenya and she has an unfair advantage,” he emphasizes the sensitivity of the debate through emotive language. In contrast, Brook immediately goes on to provide the alternate viewpoint; “But supporters say whatever condition she may have, she is still a woman and should be able to compete as one. They say the furore is more because she doesn’t fit the stereotype of what a female athlete should look like.” By providing this balance of arguments, Brook coaxes his audience to make their own opinions by appealing to a comparison, to influence how his audience is informed. Although the argument over whether it is fair to let Semenya compete is a slippery slope, Brook’s strategy is to appeal to different opinions to enable his readers to make their own conclusions and viewpoints. Authors often employ this technique throughout a multitude of media representations in order to not impose their own opinion on their readers. Brook deals with for and against arguments in a manner that suggests his readers have significant understanding of the controversy and that although Semenya may face potential harm, the benefit to society is that they can conclude in an informed manner, whilst respecting the rights of an individual. Although the media portrayal of Caster Semenya is varied and with a certain degree of indecision, as no conclusion has yet to be made by authority, they still afford the debate to be interpreted by their own audiences.


Furthermore, Brook again withholds imposing his own opinion on his readers by including quotes from athletes and authority to support the comparative argument he is attempting to portray. Sports fans have the capacity to respect the opinion of other Olympian’s, and thus Brook appeals to his audience in the quote, “In July, British Olympian Paula Radcliffe told the BBC: “When we talk about it in terms of fully expecting no other result than Caster Semenya to win that 800m, then it’s no longer sport. It’s not just Caster’s rights but all the women with elevated testosterone that need to be balanced with those that don’t.” Brook then goes on to support his argument that a unanimous decision across authority and sporting figures is yet to be made by appealing to facts in, “But a 2016 paper by the American Medical Association poured cold water on the suggestion testosterone would make enough of a difference on its own to support exclude those athletes. “Many factors, favourable genetics, height, muscle type… contribute to competitive success in sport.” This style is employed by authors in order to allow their readers to come to their own conclusions and to ensure their articles are free from their own bias. Through using an evaluative claim, Brook appeals to ethical and social norms as the readers are able to form their own understanding of the issue and then pass their own judgment. An appeal to authority and popular opinion, allows Brook to share the same underlying world view as his readers and supports the claim that a decision has not yet been made by authorities whether it is fair to continue to let Semenya run. As Semenya’s current position has been evaluated by athletes and authority, the readers can understand that Brook has implicitly demonstrated the representational effects of a controversy in sport that has spanned over many years.


Author Tony Harper from FoxSports provides more perspective into the debate over whether it is fair to let Caster Semenya run as a hyperandrogenic athlete. Harper’s article appears to be firstly centered around the fact that Semenya has a right to run and is in favour of her. This is exhibited in the large amount of quotes firstly in favour of Semenya before presenting the other side of the argument. This positions the audience to firstly take on the stance that Semenya is within her rights to run as she is, before allowing them to comprehend whether this ethical debate should result in her being barred from competition. Again the author offers alternate viewpoints to enable the audience to be educated in either side of the debate before coming to their own conclusions. Harper firstly appeals to emotion through an almost sarcastic tone in, “Semenya, the so called intersex athlete, has divided the sport’s fans between those who feel her biological make-up is merely the luck of the draw and those who feel her participation is unfair on her rivals,” by which the words “so called” and “those who feel” deliberately evoke an emotive response in the reader.

Furthermore, the word choice of ’those who feel’ is a direct appeal to the audiences’ emotion as they are subsequently called upon to reflect on their own emotions on the matter. Harper appeals to popular opinion through the inclusion of an athlete’s viewpoint; “It’s a hard situation … This goes beyond sport to the human being,” John Steffensen, an Australian Olympian born in South Africa, told Fox Sports Australia.” As the issue about Semenya translates into the sporting world, as well as being an ethical and moral debate, readers can respect John Steffensen’s opinion as a fellow athlete who has also competed at the Olympic Games. Authors who write about controversy in sport often provide a recommendation claim to appeal to their audience. In this instance, Harper has justified his principle claim that Semenya’s participation is a difficult argument to make conclusions on which creates a relationship between the reader and author. Although Harper does not mount his own argument into his article, he employs quotes that evaluate Semenya in order position his audience to respect the different opinions presented. Through inclusion of quotes from the public consensus against that of a respected athlete, Harper promotes the generalized view that after careful consideration of facts and ethics, one is able to form their own opinion of Caster Semenya.


Authors employ rhetorical questions to intentionally allow the readers to question their own viewpoints as well as the matter at hand that they are reading. Harper additionally appeals to consequence and emotion through the use of rhetorical question in, “This so clear cut and so decisive, she can win the Olympic Games and not run really well,” Bideau told the Herald Sun. “It’s ridiculous but that’s the rules, what can you do about it? It’s not her fault, it’s just unfortunate.” This quote is from Nic Bideau, a coach of Australia’s Rio track team and thus the readers are able to respect the opinion of a figure of importance in the sporting world. Rhetorical question is a device that directly appeals to the audience’s own emotions and displays that although the article endeavors to be fair by providing both sides of the argument, it plays on the readers’ emotions and piques their interest. By including quotes from authority, Harper is able to appeal to his readers and further their understanding of the legal matter on Semenya; “The IAAF are researching into this area to see if there are rules that will help women’s sport to remain fair, but hugely complicated and difficult subject, as you all know,” said Dr Richard Budgett.” By including quotes from figures of authority, including scientists and people responsible in research areas, authors are able to invoke attitudinal assessment by positioning the audience to believe facts coming from authority with relation to this ethical debate. Although as Harper writes for FoxSports and the articles from this media outlet are often very emotive and play on the readers’ feelings, he attempts to provide a balanced argument by offering facts and quotes from authoritative figures. Authors will employ an appeal to facts and authority, especially in the instance of an emotive piece, to further the belief of their readership and to sway them to the underlying world views that they or the publication hold. Harper has positioned his audience in a way that they are able to respect both stances on the Semenya debate as opinions from athletes and coaches with a stake in the issue are explicitly demonstrated, as well as the authority presenting their stance on the issue with careful consideration.


Through a journalistic analysis of two contrasting articles that delve into the controversy of Caster Semenya, it is apparent that although there is no general consensus or conclusion whether she should be allowed to compete, the sporting bodies have not been able to make a reasoned decision yet regarding hyperandrogenic women and thus journalists should tread lightly on this sensitive issue. The authors have also positioned their readers to enable an attitudinal assessment of the situation, which in turn results in the public feeling that they should treat the subject with sensitivity. Each article reaches the conclusion that how to treat Semenya is still up in the air, however the readers are invited to make their own assessment on the matter after being presented quotes and facts from both sides of the argument. Both authors position their audience to understand how this is an ethical debate over fairness of sport and the rights of an individual. Through the many appeals that the authors make to their readers, the authors interpret their audience as sports fans with a capacity for empathy and understanding over the controversy that surrounds Caster Semenya. Thus the conclusions that the audience are able to make are reliant upon personal opinion and how each article has affected the readers’ emotions and overall assessment of Semenya. As the readers are encouraged to come to an educated and informed opinion by the end of each article, this provides engagement as well as the influence each author has. Through a comparison of the linguistic devices of appeals to emotion, comparison, authority and facts, it becomes apparent that each text supports that there are varying opinions surrounding Semenya and her competing at the Rio Olympics. Although there is no general consensus held by both authority and sporting fans alike as to how to treat the ethical debate surrounding Semenya, the readers are invited to make their own opinions on the matter. Brook’s and Harper’s articles are both argumentative in their own right and both attempt to provide a balanced argument for their readers, despite the nuanced play on emotions that occurs. As her involvement in the games is imminent and her progression into the final of the women’s 800m remains, the debate will continue likely into the next Olympics in four years’ time. Being for or against Semenya is a real ethical debate that goes beyond the sporting world as it plays into the world view that everyone should be treated equally.





Brook, B (2016) ‘South African athlete Caster Semenya reportedly under armed guard at Rio Olympics following safety fears’,


Harper, T (2016) ‘Caster Semenya 800m Rio Olympics: Most sensitive race of Games as South African star runs’ FoxSports Australia









Justin Bieber: Just a kid in the spotlight or the worst role model?

By: Mahnaz Angury

Justin Bieber has received negativity since the beginning of his career however this has increased incredibly since he has become a young adult. Numerous incidents have contributed to this including his drug use, physical fights with paparazzi, his public urination scandal, his disputes with neighbours and even his disputes with fan at his concerts. These and many more caused an uproar amongst numerous individuals who label him a ‘spoilt’ teenager. The negative reactions come from people of various ages including teenagers who disagree with his music, adults who believe he is a bad role model and others who believe his fame has caused him to act inappropriately. Due to his popularity and relevance in our society, many are concerned about the way a star like Justin Bieber could affect young kids today. All of the negative occurrences that he is involved in are widely broadcasted in the media raising awareness about his situation and possibly encouraging other kids to act similarly. This would be especially relevant to his supporters who admire him and would defend his actions regardless of how serious they may be. A particular article that outlines the amount of trouble Bieber has been causing and expresses negative views towards the subject of the matter is titled “Justin Bieber: Time To Shut Up”, written by Dean Obeidallah and published on CNN.

Although there are a number of people who have negative views towards the young star, he still has supporters and other adults who believe that his actions are ones of a normal teenager. Ricky Dunlop’s “Is Justin Bieber the Worst Role Model for Your Kids?” published on The Blot Magazine explores this side of the argument by empathising with Bieber and reminding parents that it is in the norm for teenagers to go through this particular stage. He also argues that ultimately, Justin Bieber is a human being that has made mistakes others would however unlike everyone else, his name and fame results in his mistakes to be broadcasted and thus judged by the public. Studies supporting this claim outline that it could be these inappropriate behaviours that result in kids avoiding similar situations in an attempt to escape the consequences Bieber could be facing.

From the title of Obeidallah’s article, his angle is made clear. Through the strong emotive words such as “shut up”, it is obvious that Obeidallah’s piece will be persuading the readers to agree with the negative perspective of Bieber. One of the main claims the author states is “just when you think teen superstar Justin Bieber couldn’t possibly do anything dumber, he does something that makes you do a double face palm. Bieber is truly achieving the impossible: He’s making Lindsay Lohan look good” (Obeidallah, 2013). This opinionated statement address the numerous incidences Justin has been involved in including speeding, drag racing, his arrests and various disputes. Through the appeal to comparison where the author compares Bieber to Lindsay Lohan, he attempts to persuade the audience that this teenager’s actions resemble or even outdo those of Lindsay Lohan, another star known for her controversies. Lohan was also in the media usually for her arrests involving drugs and other occurrences where it was made clear that she wasn’t a good role model. Similar to Lohan, Bieber also grew up in front of the spotlight since he became famous at a young age. By emphasising the fact that Bieber “makes Lohan look good”, Obeidallah raises similarities between the pair both of whom he would clearly consider bad influences.


The effects Bieber’s actions could have on other teenagers is outlined in other articles which stress that his behaviours can in fact influence other kids. “Researchers at the University of Ottawa, used mathematical models to conclude that Biebermania behaves like a real disease – one that is capable of turning into an “apocalyptic infection.” The symptoms include high-octane screaming, hysterics, and mimicking the star’s poor life decisions (like his haircut)” (Kang, 2014). Bieber has been caught up in numerous drug scandals where he’s been pictured smoking cigarettes and marijuana amongst other illegal substances. The media coverage of such instances allow teenagers to witness this and develop an idea about the usage of drugs and its “normality’. “Celebrities have glamorized smoking in the media and are setting an example for supporters everywhere that it is acceptable to smoke” (Anonymous, n.d.).

Obeidallah’s negative view on Bieber is further emphasised when he states “He may have just redefined the word “narcissistic”” (Obeidallah, 2013). This statement is related to the incident where Bieber visited Anne frank’s house and stated he hoped she would’ve been a belieber. The author’s reaction to this clearly emphasises the fact that he believes the statement is inappropriate since it was directed to such an important historical figure. The author outlines who Anne Frank is when labelling Bieber a “narcissist” to inform readers who may not know. By emphasising the details of the subject and the hardships Anne Frank and her family went through, Obeidallah attempts to persuade his readers to agree with his view being that Bieber is a self-absorbed kid and his behaviour is something that parents should not want their kids to be influenced by.

Since the majority of the claims made in this particular article present Bieber negatively, the author attempts to convince his readers he isn’t biased through his follow-up statement. The follow-up claim reads “And I don’t say that as someone who harbors an inappropriate amount of dislike for the teen singer. In fact, last May I wrote a piece for defending and actually sympathizing with Bieber when he had an altercation with the paparazzi. But that was almost a year ago. Since then, Bieber has become unbearable” (Obeidallah, 2013). This adds to the persuasive technique the author is attempting to make use of. By highlighting the fact that he had previously written an article about the same individual in a more empathetic angle and actually linking it, the author becomes increasingly persuasive especially to the audiences who were reluctant to accept his negative point of view. By outlining his previous work where he spoke of Bieber positively, the audience would be more open to listen to his arguments since they now know that he doesn’t have fixed negative views towards Bieber. Instead, he has explored his more positive side but the fact remains that he still disagrees with his behaviour regardless of previously being empathetic towards Bieber and his situation.

In a further attempt to convince readers that he understands the reasons behind Bieber’s actions he states “I get it. Bieber wants the world to know he isn’t a kid anymore. So he has decided to go the “bad ass” route. Bieber is clearly heading down the path of many child stars desperate to make the transformation into grown-up star. But his actions are not getting him there” (Obeidallah, 2013). Through this evaluative statement, the audience is able to see that the author has tried to understand the reasoning behind Bieber’s behaviour however fails to agree with the outcome. This contributes to the persuasive aspect of the piece because it presents the author as an informative and understanding judge. Therefore, the readers are able to agree with his point of view because his technique has displayed him as a somewhat reliable judge since he acknowledges where the actions are coming from but still argues that the affect it will cause isn’t right.


Earlier in the article, Obeidallah appealed to comparison by comparing Bieber to Lohan in an attempt to highlight that this teenager has become an even worse role model than the actress who was known to be the worst influencer. In an attempt to highlight the fact that not all child stars evolve into such poor examples of role models, he again appeals to comparison and compares Bieber to Timberlake. He states “He, too, was a young star. First on “The Mickey Mouse Club” and then in the much better known boy band ‘N Sync. Timberlake didn’t try to be something he’s not. He continued to make music and then made a successful transition into acting” (Obeidallah, 2013). The aim of this was to convince the readers that not all kid stars evolve into such poor examples of role models. By displaying the first appeal to comparison, the author might have suspected that some readers may believe that Bieber isn’t at fault here but the fame and constant lack of privacy is. By emphasising Timberlake’s success from a child star into a great influencer of young teenagers, Obeidallah argues Bieber has the ability to become a good role model however chooses to follow Lohan’s footsteps instead. “A young man who had everything going for him—who could have been a terrific role model for other teens—seems to instead have chosen a path to self-destruction” (Krause, 2014). This could decreases the empathy the audience may have towards Bieber and significantly increases the persuasive aspect of the article.

Dunlop’s “Is Justin Bieber the Worst Role Model for Your Kids?” takes a completely different angle to that of Obeidallah. Obeidallah holds Bieber himself responsible for his actions and attempts to persuade his readers by emphasising examples of his bad behaviour. Dunlop however tries to convince his readers that Bieber is a human being and claims numerous other factors need to be taken into consideration when analysing his actions.

When Bieber was arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license, he was let off with very minimal consequence. The fact that his status allowed him to escape jail time highlights the issue present here when deciding who is to blame. The author outlines the incident and acknowledges that Bieber’s behaviour was poor however he dramatically emphasises the fact that the police allowed him to avoid jail time because he is a huge celebrity figure. He claims “So, who’s actually the bad guy in this situation? The kid that may have had a drink or two earlier in the day or the police officers that completely fabricated the events that took place that night? Who is JB supposed to look up to?” (Dunlop, 2015). This statement contributes significantly to the persuasive aspect of the author’s argument. Through the use of rhetoric questions, the author leaves the readers to think about the questions being asked and revaluate their perspective on Bieber. The claim outlines that the author understands that Bieber’s actions were bad however the police were the ones to blame in this situation because letting him off results in the star not realising his mistake. By allowing him to do whatever he pleases due to his stardom, Bieber won’t understand the idea of consequences and will instead continue his illegal and inappropriate actions. Therefore, the author is ultimately stating that the police’s action effect Bieber significantly and if he can’t trust the actions of the police, then who can he look up to?


There are many other individuals Dunlop hold accountable for Bieber’s actions rather than Bieber himself which results in the inclusion of an informal fallacy throughout his article. Dunlop argues that Justin Bieber is a kid who grew up in the spotlight and it’s the people around him that have shaped his behaviour which portrays the use of ad hominem argument. His parents’ actions are outlined in the article to persuade the audience that the reason Bieber has been acting the way he has is because of the people that surround him. When discussing Bieber’s parents, Dunlop claims “These are the same parents who never got married. This is the same mother who was apparently abused growing up and the same mother who Justin says gives him drugs. This is the same father who at one point abandoned his son and the same father who was spotted with Justin moments before his arrest” (Dunlop, 2015). Some of illegal events Bieber has been caught up in involve drugs and his numerous arrests. In this one evaluative statement, Dunlop shifts the blame for these events from Bieber to his parents by mentioning that they were involved in both these incidents. There is no direct proof to this particular claim but these stories have been previously mentioned in other articles. Therefore this claim would be increasingly persuasive towards individuals who have read the other articles that mention these occurrences.

The follow up claim reads “Now, Bieber’s core group of friends includes a bunch of young, rich recording artists, models and actors. His “mentors” are manager Scooter Braun and Usher (aka the people that make tons of money off of him). Usher can’t even take care of his own kids” (Dunlop, 2015). He continues to outline the people that Bieber associates with one of which is his mentor Usher. By outlining that usher “can’t even take care of his own kids”, Dunlop tries to convince the audience that Usher isn’t a good carer which can be classified as a distraction argument. He is shifting our attention from Beiber’s behaviour to Ushers. The author is essentially stating that how someone who can’t even take care of his own child, won’t be able to help his mentee. The readers are even linked to a story in this claim which presents an incident when Usher’s child nearly drowned. This provides a backup for his argument and is highly persuasive since the linked article even includes the 911 call of the event. Thus, by analysing the behaviours of the adult’s in Bieber’s life, Dunlop persuades his readers that Bieber’s parents and mentors are to blame for their action since they are such poor examples of role models. Thus, since Bieber’s actions cause negative influence towards young kids, this author argues that the blame for this shouldn’t be place on Bieber but his adult influencers.


In a further attempt to persuade his readers to empathise with Bieber rather than judge him, Dunlop compares Bieber’s youth to that of the readers. He states “Unless you were an extremely sheltered child, you can’t tell me you didn’t go to school with kids that did many of these things. I know I did. The difference here is that he is a lot more famous than those kids and the way the media is sensationalizing his behaviour is only encouraging him to continue down that path” (Dunlop, 2015). Through this appeal to comparison, readers are able to reflect on the fact that they weren’t perfect as kids themselves either. He follows it up with the fact that the only difference between the adolescence of Bieber and the adolescence of the readers is that Bieber’s every move is broadcasted to the world. His behaviours is even dramatized for entertainment purposes resulting in him to continue them rather than learn from them. “Instead of regimented piano lessons, soccer practice and SAT classes, the entertainer has committed himself to the steady, if largely self-directed, cultivation of singing, dancing and interview skills since he was 12” (Evans, 2014). Rather than be able to lead a normal life, Bieber is faced with much bigger responsibilities and in addition to that, his every mistake is presented to the public allowing the world to judge him for actions many others do at his age.

The effect Bieber’s behaviour, like any other huge celebrities’ actions, could have on young kids is clear and evident. The popularity of social media has made it easy for the public to access the stories that outline the actions these public figures undertake. Teenagers who look up to these stars may always defend these actions and classify them as the norm. This could lead to them acting similarly and being negatively influence by celebrities such as Bieber’s behaviour.  “Their actions have more of an effect on us then many people believe they have” (Anonymous, n.d.). However, a study conducted shows that these negative behaviours amongst stars could in fact cause positive behaviours amongst teenagers. “This 18-month study was carried out on 24 groups of British children, aged 14 and 17, by experts at Manchester and Brunel universities, which  found that today’s celebrities serve a vital ‘social function’ that was previously delivered by religious or mythical figures, such as Jesus Christ, Judas and Zeus” (Evans, 2014).  Seeing individuals like Justin Bieber act this way and watching their lives unfold in such a negative way as a result of it could encourage teenagers to avoid the decisions they are making. “They learn lessons of greed, excess and insincerity from ‘bad celebrities’, whose public demise actually discourages them from bad behaviour and substances such as drink and drugs” (Evans, 2014). Thus it is clear that these stars do have significant impact upon teenagers however these effects could be negative or positive. Kids could mimic their mistakes or learn from them.


Wayne, T, 2013, Justin Bieber and Youth’s New Wilderness, The New York Times, accessed 29 November 2016,

Kang, S, 2014, Justin Bieber’s Influence On Your Kids, Psychology Today, accessed 28 November 2016,

Evans, SJ, 2014, Justin Bieber’s bad behaviour could actually influence children for GOOD, claims new study which says celebrities’ public demise works well to put teens off drugs and drink, Daily Mail, accessed 28 November,

Krause, C, 2014, Justin Bieber: A Warning To All Teens, NDA For Teens, accessed 30 November 2016,

Obeidallah, D, 2013, Justin Bieber, Time to Shut Up, CNN, accessed 27 November 2016,

Dunlop, R, 2015, Is Justin Bieber The Worst Role Model For Your Kids?, The Blot Magazine, accessed 31 November 2016,

Anonymous, n.d., Celebrities and Their Influence, Teen Ink, accessed 31 November 2016,





A drug war: The highs and lows of medical cannabis

By Raiyan Faruque

The use of cannabis as a medical aid has been cultivated for over 6000 years dating back to 4000 B.C. Originating in Ancient China, cannabis was recommended for treating various health conditions such as malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains and female disorders. Over time, cannabis has expanded its medical purpose in several other countries such as India, the Middle East, South African and South America. Cannabis was originally renowned for its healing properties, which, in recent decades has shifted to be recognised as the intoxicating drug of hippies and stoners who laze around smoking ‘pot’ to the detriment of their cognitive development.

The legalisation of cannabis is not the area of debate you would expect to hear from parents with experimental, developing adolescents, but for some, this very debate is a cry out of desperation. Whereas others, argue the potential legalisation of cannabis legalisation will create a socio-economic malfunction.

The current media landscape, particularly in Australia, USA and the UK, the debate has branched into two conflicting arguments – the legalisation of cannabis can be utilised as a medical tool for sick patients, and on the flipside, the potential legalisation of medical cannabis will impose an immense capital investment, unaffordable for most patients in need.

Both a combination of hard news and views journalism articles, with reference to a variety of credible sources from politicians, researchers and patients, these authors have provided ranging perspectives on the issue of legalising cannabis for medical use – one that is of benefit for society whereas on the other hand, imposes an opportunity for a capitalist venture.

In favour of the legalisation of medical cannabis is Jane Fynes-Clinton’s views journalism article titled, ‘Opinion: It’s time to listen to the science on medical cannabis, not the ideology’ published on The Courier Mail on 22 April 2015. The Courier Mail is a News Corp Australia owned, daily tabloid newspaper published in Brisbane, Australia. The Courier Mail has often been criticised for its controversial publications however, its articles range from a variety of issues such as breaking news and current affairs to latest celebrity gossip. Through analysis and research, The Courier Mail has published a number of articles in relation to passing the legislation to permit the use of cannabis for medical aid.

On the other hand, Dana McCauley’s hard news article titled ‘Legalising medical cannabis sounds great, if you can afford it’ published on on 4 March 2016, weighs the economic and financial aspects of the cannabis legalisation and the threats and restrictions it imposes on our socio-economic framework. The is an Australian news and entertainment website which is also owned by News Corp Australia. specialises in publications associating national and international affairs, as well as other areas including entertainment, sport, lifestyle and travel. is recognised as Australia’s number one news site, reaching an audience of over 5.5 million Australians.

Under the Australian law, cannabis is classified as a Schedule nine drug which is of equivalent scale to drugs such as heroin and LSD. According to a research study conducted by Hamish R. Smith from James Cook University, cannabis is highly common across Australia with roughly 40% of Australians aged fourteen and above who have admitted to using cannabis, whereas over 300,000 Australians engage with the drug on a daily basis. Cannabis has developed a negative socio-recreational agenda which contributes to the criminalisation of the substance. Although a number of countries have acknowledged the medical properties of cannabis, decriminalising it for medical practice, the Australian government is still sitting on the fence. Public knowledge and support for the legalisation of medical cannabis has shown a survey result of 69% among Australians. Scientific research has proven that cannabis contains medicinal properties which can assist with several health conditions.

Fynes-Clinton, a journalist of almost 30 years specialises in political journalism and government relationships. Fynes-Clinton voices a strong opinion on the issue of legalising medical cannabis on her various published newspaper articles and Twitter posts.

Fynes-Clinton’s publication on medical cannabis, ‘Opinion: It’s time to listen to the science on medical cannabis, not the ideology’ presents a wide range of journalistic techniques which justifies the debate for legalising medical cannabis.

Journalist Fynes-Clinton has titled her article ‘Opinion: It’s time to listen to the science on medical cannabis, not the ideology’, which explicitly reveals to the reader that is it a views journalism piece. Fynes-Clinton’s principle claim argues that the debate associating the legalisation of medical cannabis first and foremost requires the understanding and clear distinction between the recreational use and medical practice of cannabis:

“We need to stop talking about marijuana [cannabis] that is smoked for fun and cannabis oil that is taken for comfort and survival in the same conversation.”

The principle claim is accompanied by the use of inclusive language ‘we’ which creates a unified community, convincing readers that the conflicting debate of medical cannabis requires the knowledge from society as a whole to eliminate the stigma of cannabis as a recreational substance, and understand its medicinal power.

She cleverly addresses her argument to target her audience from young adults to conservative middle-aged recipients through her use of language and choice of description.

Fynes-Clinton often uses colloquial terms and ‘street’ references such as ‘pot’ and ‘get high’ to engage with a broad audience, particularly young adults.

Furthermore, Fynes-Clinton uses a false analogy ‘stop the oscillating Jekyll/Hyde approach of giggling teen and judgmental parent’ to attract a more mature-aged audience.

“We need to grow up a bit and stop the oscillating Jekyll/Hyde approach of giggling teen and judgmental parent. The health-giving properties need to be discussed scientifically and maturely.”

The author strategically alludes to a historical reference to appeal to the popular opinion and emphasise the ludicrousness of the debate. The ‘Jekyll/Hyde approach’ is understood as a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to another. Hence, the author creates a narrative reflection of a serious debate of legalising medical cannabis, using visual descriptions ‘giggling teen’ and ‘judgmental parent’ to position the audience to evaluate their stance on the issue of medicinal cannabis.

The author explicitly states the primary claim of her argument is to steer away from from the idea that cannabis is only a recreational substance, but rather a drug that can be used for medical assistance to aid patients and for patients to have the right to use cannabis without the risk of being charged under criminal substance abuse.

“For the debate on this issue to be properly advanced, the recreational and medical uses of cannabis need to be separated, at least for now.”

 “Politicians need to stop making references to cannabis in this context as a gateway drug.”

 The author uses a strong voice in her statements and claims, and gives her argument an affirmative tone by questioning the political perception of cannabis.

Fynes-Clinton articulates her piece using highly emotive language to accentuate her frustration and strong opinion towards the use of cannabis, and the drastic measures patients experience to fight for their lives.

“The problem is they do so quietly because those who make and supply it, as well as those who use it, risk arrest. It is ludicrous.”

 The author has used an either-or argument to emphasise the severity and desperation of the medically ill patients, who have no choice but to either put their health at risk without cannabis or risk being prosecuted for obtaining and utilising cannabis illicitly. The author’s use of truncated sentences, further supported by the use of emotive-passive terminology claiming the struggle of the medically ill is ‘ludicrous’ further solidifies the author’s frustration and emotions towards the issue.

The article primarily appeals to ethical and social norms, as the author’s primary stance is focused on the legalisation of cannabis.

“It seems strange that yet again, we are not prepared to learn from the findings of other nations. Australia may be an island, but must we always take this so literally?”

“More than 20 nations have already legalised medical cannabis and gone through the motions of checking the science and laying out the safety zones.”

“By insisting on tilling ground that has already been prepared by others, we are delaying the process of approvals – something we have become champions at in Australia.”

The author uses rhetorical questions and the use of statistics to support her claim with a credible backbone. The use of a rhetorical question contests the reader’s ethical values, further supported by her use of a sarcastic tone incorporating slippery slope informal fallacy to solidify her argument. By frequently using the inclusive pronoun ‘we’, the author alludes to the idea that the fate and ethical stance of medical cannabis is a shared debate, one that everyone can empathise and be affected by equally. The author’s appeal to ethics and social morality is embedded throughout her article, as she raises the issue of ill children who suffer from medical conditions, unable to obtain medical cannabis as a treatment. By making references to a sensitive minority group, the author forces the reader to empathise with her argument and creates an atmosphere for the reader to engage with.

“Signing up to be part of NSW’s medical cannabis trial for suffering children and dying adults is a sign it is at least willing to listen to the people.”

 Overall, Fynes-Clinton’s views journalism piece has been presented with a strong emotive voice which speaks highly in favour of legalising medical cannabis. Fynes-Clinton employs a variety of language techniques to appeal to her audience. The author’s principle claim is that medical cannabis is a significant debate, which affects the whole Australian community, and a debate which should encourage Australians to enrich their knowledge and understand the distinction between medical cannabis and recreational ‘pot’.

While global nations are still recovering from the effects of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, state governments continue to explore financial strategies to boost their economic stability. To address the staggering financial deficits, medical cannabis has been a proposed agenda by many legislators to boost tax revenue. Cannabis is recognised as a billion-dollar industry yet while it sounds appealing to many investors, journalist McCauley argues legalising medical cannabis will erupt an ‘explosion of capitalist investment’, becoming unaffordable for many Australians who desperately require this medical aid.

McCauley argues in her article ‘Legalising medical cannabis sounds great, if you can afford it’ published on, that investing in medical cannabis measures will generate more financial burden on Australians than boosting a nation-wide economic status.

The author’s principle claim can be identified in the lead sentence of her article:

 “Australia is about to see an explosion of capital investment in a product that, up until recently, has been the domain of the criminal underworld.”

The author introduces her argument by using strong emotive and highly visual language, ‘explosion of capital investment’ and ‘domain of the criminal underworld’. By incorporating these powerful terms in the lead sentence, McCauley immediately presents her argument to her viewers in a captivating mode.

The lead sentence employs an evaluative presumption, which alludes to the potential negative effects of legalising medical cannabis, a significant factor that is often ignored or unknown to the Australian public.

McCauley constructs her article by exploring and presenting and weighing a variety of credible sources. She contrasts the vision of Canadian investment company, Tilray, with the threats of a medical cannabis investment industry for a middle-class Australian mother who seeks medical cannabis for her epileptic child.

“In Australia, we think that medical cannabis has potential to be a billion-dollar industry, and can create thousands of skilled jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in foreign investment,” the company’s global president Brendan Kennedy told

“Ms O’Connell does not pay for the product, but believes when it is available in the retail market it would sell for between $30 and $100, depending on the bottle size and strength. She has looked at the prices of medical cannabis products available in the United States and found they cost up to $2000 a month.”

 “She fears regulation will push up the price of the product that has allowed her family a normal life — or worse.”

By contrasting the two distinct sources, McCauley creates a well-crafted blueprint of the reality, threats and potentials of legalising medical cannabis.

McCauley appeals to emotion and ethics throughout her news article and through her use of effective descriptive language and journalistic techniques, forces readers to dig deeper to comprehend the reality of a medical cannabis industry. The effective use of Ms O’Connell as a primary case study, alludes to the audience’s emotional values as it encourages readers to empathise with Ms O’Connell in order to understand the hardships that could be enforced on many patients and families by legalising medical cannabis.

Furthermore, alongside its emotional and ethical appeal, McCauley draws upon authority as she frequently lists and refers to politicians who have spoken in regards to the economic aspects of a medical cannabis industry. By commonly referring to the views and opinions of Australian politicians, McCauley adds credibility and proximity to her argument.

“The Federal Health Department says in a statement on its website: “The Government wants to ensure that Australians get access to the most effective medical treatments that are available, but it is important to ensure we follow the principles of evidence-based medicine.”

Overall, McCauley’s hard news article has been constructed using a broad range of journalistic techniques and resources to appeal to a target audience who have not considered the social and economic strains that are more than likely to arise with a nation-wide acceptance of medical cannabis. The author’s principle claim is to inform the readers that the legalisation of cannabis, while effective and crucial, it requires a broader social understanding to ensure it is available and affordable to those in need.

In summation, while both authors have employed an extensive collection of augmentative techniques to present and solidify their views towards the issue of legalising medical cannabis, they have taken on distinct angles towards the issue. Both Fynes-Clinton and McCauley speak in favour of the medical cannabis legislation, however, McCauley has raised a significant threat that the legislation may impose on Australians and the economic function. Thus, although the fight for a medical cannabis society is beneficial to Australia’s health care system, it is important that the general public and government bodies acknowledge and appropriately action the financial and socio-economic aspect of the issue.

Frankel, Kiah, Alexanne 12pm Thurs, Final Assessment, Same-Sex Marriage & Plebiscite Debate

Same-Sex Marriage & Plebiscite Debate: Final Analysis

Political debate earlier this year regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, and a same-sex marriage plebiscite enforced by the Liberal government, was divisive to say the least. The Australian media was separated by the issue, presenting a number of different views that addressed a range of opinions for and against the issue. Articles considered the consequences of legalising same sex marriage, what changing the definition of marriage means for parenting, and both criticisms and commendations of the current government for palming the decision for same-sex marriage off to the Australian public to resolve. Communicative effects found within views journalism articles determine how audiences are positioned in relation to political issues such as same-sex marriage. This analysis will therefore assess aspects of a range of articles; sourced from a number of different news sites, in terms of their communicative effects that make them engaging views journalism pieces.

“Same-sex marriage: Australians assume ‘marriage equality’ has no consequences” is an interesting article written by Lyle Shelton, for published in October of this year. Shelton provides a hybrid argument that is causal, in the way that it posits the social and legal consequences that will develop as a result of legalising same-sex marriage, and evaluative in the way that he labels Australians as ‘assuming’ marriage equality has no such consequences. Shelton’s primary claim is advanced within a rhetorical question, where he writes, “I wonder how many other Australians have just assumed same-sex marriage has no consequences”. The article presents a number of justifications to support the primary claim, with a large majority of them as appeals to consequence. Claims such as, “Stripping marriage of the gender requirements sends a powerful legal and cultural message that gender is no longer relevant in the institution which is the building block of society,” and, “…our children are already being taught their gender is fluid at a “Safe School” near you,” use emotive language, such as inclusive personal pronouns, to convince the reader that marriage equality will demand a new definition for gender, and instigate more social and legal consequences than many Australians are aware of. Interestingly, an article written by Josh Manuatu titled “Shorten’s Stereotyping of Homosexuality is Offensive and Demeaning” sourced from the same site,, employs a different approach to an anti-same sex marriage argument, through the use of value laden language and appeals to consequence.

Manuatu’s primary claim is that Labour leader Bill Shorten’s comments that the marriage plebiscite could cause young gay people to commit suicide are founded on gross stereotypes and intolerance, and therefore should be condemned. The article is an evaluative argument, as it frequently uses emotive language such as ‘deeply demeaning’, ‘offensive’ and ‘belittling’ in order to negatively evaluate the politics surrounding anti same-sex marriage campaigning. In comparison to Shelton’s article, Manuatu employs different communicative tools such as justifications in order to argue a similar anti-same sex marriage article. For example, Manuatu makes regular appeals to morality and social norms in order to criticize and negatively evaluate Shorten’s political bigotry. Lines such as, “Mr Shorten’s continued push of the stereotype that all homosexuals are sad and impulsive…is not only offensive and demeaning but, I am sure, would be doing more harm than good”, makes an appeal to morality. The warrant that underlies Manuatu’s argument is essentially that to stereotype individuals is offensive, yet to push it onto the Australian public through political campaigning is immoral and demeaning. Through the use of emotive language and regular appeals to morality, Manuatu argues that Shorten’s campaign is founded upon unfair stereotyping and scare tactics, and recommends the reader condemn him for this. In comparison to Shelton’s article, and many others including some published in the Sydney Morning Herald, authors negatively evaluated the same-sex marriage debate for its divisive and offensive stereotyping for homosexuals and their families.

Similarly, “We don’t need one plebiscite question – we need 10” is an article written by Sydney Morning Herald columnist Alan Stokes that similarly argues the political side of the same-sex marriage debate. Stokes posits a highly evaluative argument that advances a central claim that essentially condemns the Australian government for their incapability in deciding on national issues such as same-sex marriage and for enforcing an extremely expensive plebiscite that in no way binds them to take make any new policies. Stokes presents a hybrid argument that is both evaluative, in the way that he perceives the Australian government to be inefficient and incapable of making national policies, and recommendatory in the way that he recommends we have a plebiscite that allows people to decide on not only legalising same-sex marriage, but for a range of other policies from Indigenous rights, to taxations and refugees. This article employed a significantly different approach to the Shelton and Manuatu articles, as it applies humour and sarcasm to strengthen the relationship with readers. In a way, the article mocks the plebiscite as something so ridiculous we might as well have 10 questions instead of 1.

Stokes’ initial justifications appear in the opening lines where he uses appeals to popular opinion in order to establish a strong relationship with the reader based on a similar view of politics. Through the inclusive pronoun ‘we’ in, “For starters, we don’t trust our politicians very much. They abuse taxpayer-funded expenses, accept money from companies linked to foreign governments…(Ed: for space reasons the next 20 examples have been removed)”, it is clear that Stokes is addressing an audience he perceives to be in general agreement with. This justification supports his claim that our politicians are untrustworthy, and therefore it’s identified as a good thing that we are able to decide on same-sex marriage and determine our own faith. This justification, and appeal to popular opinion, sets up for Stokes’ primary claim stated in the line, “So why not just ask voters clearly and directly what they want? To make this happen we need to turbocharge this plebiscite. I propose that we do not need one plebiscite, we need 10”. Whilst this claim is an appeal to comparison/analogy in nature, I believe that it is more metaphorical because there’s a sense of irony in Stokes’ argument. Whilst he knows a ‘turbocharged plebiscite’ will never happen, he entertains he idea to implicitly mock the government for being unable to decide on the issue.

Whilst it is evident that opinion pieces regarding same-sex marriage and the same-sex marriage plebiscite in Australian media implore different communicative tools, they each use emotive language in order to attract and convince readers. The Shelton and Manuatu articles for example regularly use appeals to consequence and social norms in order to negatively evaluate the issue, yet use different claims regarding different aspects of the issue. Comparatively, the Stokes article was sourced from a primarily left-wing media source, the Sydney Morning Herald, so this would explain his political bias in a kind of ‘mockery’ of the plebiscite. Whilst many articles I found were politically motivated, some articles were similar to the Shelton article in that they utilised appeals to morality and consequence in order to argue the emotional side of the debate.

“Why a plebiscite on same-sex marriage is dangerous and divisive” is an opinion piece sourced from The Sydney Morning Herald. Written by two registered psychologists, Dr Liz Short and Dr Sharon Dane, this article advances the primary claim that media campaigns that argue against same-sex marriage will cause serious psychological damage to LGBTIQU Australians and their families. Whilst this article is still an evaluative argument that condemns the plebiscite, it is also causal in the way it argues the emotional consequences for those involved. This article references more than 6 registered organisations and experts in different fields to support facts and evidence used, demonstrating why the plebiscite is detrimental to the wellbeing of LGBTIQU communities. An appeal to precedent and fact in, “Emerging evidence from Ireland indicates that such campaigns are distressing to LGBTIQU seniors who have already suffered greatly due to historical discrimination…” advances a warrant that suggests we shouldn’t endorse an opportunity to further discriminate against already marginalised groups in society. I believe that due to continuous appeals to facts, such as this, the authors are attempting to convince the audience at least in some respects, of the emotional consequences of the plebiscite. It presents a starkly different article to Shelton and Manuatu and others that I found, and was one of the only easily accessible articles that included the insights of registered health professionals to advance their argument rather than the somewhat bias perspectives of columnists for left-wing media organisations such as the SMH.

Furthermore, Dr Liz Short and Dr Sharon Dane advance claims that act as appeals to consequence in order to further argue that the plebiscite campaign will escalate already growing demands for mental health support in LGBTIQ communities. “Already in Australia there are indicators of a spike in the need for mental health support by LGBTIQ people…” has an underlying warrant that suggests, like mentioned before, that you shouldn’t purposely worsen an issue that is already of concern, such as the marginalisation of LGBTIQ people. However, whilst this article presents an interesting argument compared to most same-sex marriage arguments I found, I think to a degree it is a circular argument due to most of the minor claims basically being the same, that the plebiscite will cause emotional distress for already marginalised communities. Each warrant is essentially that you shouldn’t worsen an issue that is already of concern, and it failed to mention a diverse range of minor claims to strengthen the primary claim.

Evidently, the same-sex marriage and plebiscite debate in Australia has resulted in a number of different views journalism pieces. The majority of articles produced were extremely politically driven, acting as evaluative arguments that criticised the government for their incapability to decide on national policy. However, I noticed a significantly smaller amount of articles actually focused on the emotional consequences of the debate, and those that acted as causal arguments were few and far between. I believe the majority of more evaluative arguments may be due to the fact that readers are more likely to side with an author that shares the same political view, and is able to form a stronger relationship with readers based on political criticisms toward our government. It’s interesting to note however that I found it extremely difficult to locate articles that were in support of the plebiscite, and the only one I found was essentially a mockery of it. This may ultimately demonstrate that Australia stands in general agreement that the same-sex marriage plebiscite is detrimental to society, and the negative aspects far outweigh its benefits.

Whilst it is extremely interesting to analyse the linguistic and argumentative techniques employed by authors, I also found the illustrations and photographs used in articles intriguing. ‘Why a plebiscite on same sex marriage is dangerous and divisive” included a graphic of a red heart with the following caption, “Polls indicate a plebiscite would result in marriage equality. However, it would do great harm to LGBTIQ Australians and their families”. I believe the symbolism of the heart is greater than love, rather I think it is used to imply the duty Australians have to remain compassionate and to act with the interest of all Australians at heart. The colour and tone of the image is complex, with contrasts to create a 3D like image. This has the effect of demonstrating the complexity of the same-sex marriage debate, and represents the need for all Australians to understand the consequences of what it means for those whose rights are being debated.

Contrastingly, the article “Shorten’s stereotyping of homosexuality is offensive and demeaning” by Josh Manuatu employs a photograph of Bill Shorten featured at the beginning of the piece (featured below). I believe the choice of image was measured and deeply considered by the author, as Bill Shorten’s emotions in the photograph assist in the author’s vulgar descriptions and evaluations. The image captures Shorten with an expression that can be associated with ignorance, and assists the readers to picture Shorten in this light.

In conclusion, it’s evident that this political issue has disseminated Australian media. Whilst many articles present different claims, there are some similarities between them, most of which I have discussed. It is clear that the Australian media don’t all share the same view, but the general consensus is that the same-sex marriage plebiscite is detrimental to Australian society. Whilst most believe in this, and argue this point, they each use different communicative devices in order to advance their beliefs.

Words: 2081
Kiah Frankel



Our obsession with uncovering the identity of Melania Trump

Melania Trump is best known as the Slovenian supermodel wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and for famously plagiarising Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention.  Yet Melania is considered by the media as somewhat of an enigmatic figure, choosing to stay at home rather than parade the campaign trail with her husband. Despite her mystique and preference for privacy, she has been swept up in the chaos sparked by many of her husband’s scandalous feuds and controversial remarks. Most recently, defending her husband against leaked footage from 2005 where he boasted that because of his celebrity status he could grope and kiss women without their consent.  Melania’s response to the vulgar discussion that saw many Republicans denounce their support for Trump was that it was “boy talk” and that “he was … egged on to say dirty and bad stuff.” The fixation with exposing the clandestine personality of the potential First Lady, who is Spartan with her words and content with maintaining her private life in the Trump Tower, has led to the rising media storm that has encircled Melania since her husband rose in the polls.


In the quest to uncover the character of the next potential First Lady of the United States, various publications have strived to expose what they believe to be the real Melania Trump to their readership. One article by the The New Yorker in particular echoes the obsession with unearthing Melania’s past and familiarising the world with her personality, asking in its headline, ‘Who Is Melania Trump?’.  The article is written by Lauren Collins and presents a fantastical narrative of a young, beautiful, promising Slovenian woman in desperate pursuit of the “American dream”, suggesting that Donald Trump was her ticket out of communist Yugoslavia.  The article draws on the mysteriousness of Melania, lamenting, “Her story is so vacuous as to almost require the imagination to spackle its holes.” With not much information to go on, the author constructs a narrative arch of Melania as a formidable and aspirational woman, longing to exchange her humble town life for a more glamorous existence. The author achieves this by juxtaposing Melania’s modest beginnings to the excessive wealth that awaited her as the wife of a multi-millionaire businessman.


“She was born in Novo Mesto, in what was then Yugoslavia, in 1970, and raised in a Communist apartment block in Sevnica, a pretty riverside town where a smuggled Coke was a major treat.

Now Melania, who once lived a quiet life in the Zeckendorf Towers, on Union Square, lives a quiet life in the Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue. House rules require that guests don surgical booties, so as not to scuff the marble floors.”


The extravagance of Melania’s life in New York is harped on throughout the article to present a sort of ‘rags to riches’ narrative. This story angle serves as an explanation of Melania’s motives for remaining in a marriage with a man 24 years her senior, who is loathed passionately by many worldwide. Yet the author does not call for her audience to pity Melania, and crafts a characterisation of her that is cold, robotic and callous, asserting that she is both “un-American” and has “no affinity for her homeland”. The article presents a character assassination of Melania where she is described as “aspirational, playing ice queen rather than soccer mom”, arguing “If we take the office of First Lady seriously, then it’s worth trying to figure out who Melania is as a person, versus a product to be placed.”


The author uses “we” to unite herself with her readership, which she assumes is the American people. She writes in a persuasive tone, attempting to convince the reader that it is critical that the nation unearth Melania’s personality, the claim being that Melania is rebuffing her responsibility as a prospective First Lady to gain conference with the nation. The author’s negative construction of Melania as a reluctant participant in the campaign and as a sheer “product” lacking personality, is solidified through the comparisons to other First Ladies such as Michelle Obama.


“We marvelled at Michelle’s arms, because it seemed that they could be ours, if only we were willing to work as hard as she did, but you don’t hear anyone (other than her husband) talking about Melania’s legs.”


The author presents a superficial comparison of Melania to Michelle that is purely based upon physicality. She argues that Melania does not measure up to the same standard as First Lady, Michelle Obama, by contrasting their physical attributes. However, the author then contradicts her own emphasis on Melania’s physical attributes by criticising Trump for reducing Melania to a sexual object in their “inegalitarian” marriage.


“Her husband seems to define her largely by her physical advantages, which confer upon him an aura of sexual potency. ‘Where’s my supermodel?’ he yelled from the stage, at a town-hall meeting at the University of Pennsylvania, in 1999, shortly after ushering Melania onto the Howard Stern show to discuss the couple’s ‘incredible sex’ and her lack of cellulite.”


As the quote above demonstrates, the author thrusts doubt upon Melania’s decorum as a prospective First Lady by including quotes by Donald Trump where he overtly sexualises her physical advantages.  This serves as a warning to readers that Melania is incapable to fill the role of First Lady as her depth of character is ignored by her husband and is deemed unimportant, locked away from the public eye. The author also compares Melania to Donald Trump in order to turn the reader against Melania and paint a negative image of her character. This suggests that the article is intended for those who are unsupportive of Trump becoming president. The author attempts to lessen Melania’s likeability by portraying her relationship with her husband, arguing that Donald Trump’s crude and aggressive rhetoric has rubbed off on Melania. The underlying warrant cautions the reader that just as Donald is not fit to be president, Melania is not fit to fulfil the role as First Lady of the United States.


Yet Melania appears to have internalised many aspects of Donald’s culture: his ahistoricism; his unblinking gall; his false dichotomies between murderous scofflaws and deserving citizens, women who ask for nothing and nagging wives. Like Donald, Melania doesn’t drink… She has taken on her husband’s signature pout, in a connubial version of people who grow to look like their dogs.”


These comparisons are largely speculative and are derived from the author’s observations of the couple, rather than on a factual basis. The suggestion that the author concedes to is that Melania, the model, has been branded by her husband and mirrors many of his unflattering qualities. This is a contrast to the independent woman portrayed earlier in the piece who pursued her own interests, compared to the meagre characterisation placed upon the married Melania. Seemingly, the author conveys the opinion that Melania has shed her past self to fit into Donald’s American world and become his wife.


This article from The New Yorker leans on the assumption that a reader is bewildered by Melania Trump and is interested in her true identity. It relies mainly on evaluational claims rather than facts to create a compelling narrative about Melania that is derived from the author’s interpretations of her upbringing, marriage and career. The author is consistent in her traditional and patriotic standpoint that deems the role of the First Lady as quintessential to the US presidency, presenting a negative characterisation of Melania where she is painted as “cold” and “un-American”.


The New York Post presents a slightly different take on Melania, where she is offered to readers in an erotic light, as the so-called sex symbol of the Republican campaign. The hyper-sexualisation that is glued to Melania’s image perpetrates a sense of shame about her past dealings as a naked model, distracting from her personality as readers are directed to focus merely on her physicality. The New York Post released a naked photo of Melania as a 25-year-old model on the cover of their July issue, sparking controversy and a barrage of criticism. The provocative headline read ‘Ogle Office’ and the caption, “You’ve never seen a potential First Lady like this!” Many questioned the relevance of this image and argued that it was placed out of context, considering the image is over 20 years old and its original intention was to be sold to a European audience who may hold sexuality in a vastly different light to Americans. The appeal to comparison with previous First Ladies in the caption reveals the underlying worldview of the publisher who suggests that it is taboo and unprofessional for a potential First Lady to have posed naked in this manner.


The Ogle Office front page by The New York Post, 2016

The spread included other shots of Melania in erotic, canted positions which the magazine censored, indicating that the average reader would find the images too graphic and confronting for everyday consumption. The images were accompanied by an interview with the photographer who commented “I am completely against this world, and I don’t understand why the girls f- -k with old guys to afford a Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès bags…The fashion industry has become the biggest pimp ever.”


An image of Melania Trump (then Melania Knass) taken from The New York Post spread


Another image in The New York Post spread from the 1996 photo shoot


The final image from The New York Post spread which was originally shot for Max Magazine

These quotes were presented wildly out of context, the photographer describing his general experiences with the fashion industry, rather than targeting Melania directly who he said in a separate article was “a true professional… always smiling, with a very pleasant personality and was polite and very well educated”. The fact that the publisher chose this particular quote to complement the seductive images of Melania misconstrued the photographer’s statement, suggesting that Melania “pimped” herself out by marrying Donald Trump. The piece renders her in a negative light, as a trophy wife and “gold digger” who has sold herself out for fame and money. There is no factual basis for this claim and it is merely evaluative, where a nude image from 20 years earlier is depicted as a palpable signal that Melania is morally inept. This reveals the publication’s worldview, where the naked female body is seen as scandalous and uncouth, especially considering the prestigious and morally-sound position that the First Lady is idyllically expected to represent. The images are arranged and captioned in a manner where audience shock and discomfort is not just anticipated, it is a blatant expectation, as they ‘ogle’ the image which carries flagrant overtones of slut-shaming and hyper-sexualisation.


The media places a great emphasis on Melania’s history as an immigrant and foreigner, casting doubt on whether she is an American citizen and how she obtained the highly sought after H1B visa. An article by St. Louis Dispatch titled ‘Melania Trump’s ‘Extraordinary Ability’ To Gain Special Immigration Status’ accused her of being unfairly granted a visa because of her relationship with Donald Trump, a well-connected businessman.


The modelling profession will never require bending immigration rules so that our country doesn’t get out-modelled by foreign competitors.

The only reason this needs clarification is because Melania Trump, who could become America’s next first lady, somehow finagled a coveted H1B visa in 2000 (the same year she began appearing in public with Donald Trump) under the guise of being a model.”


This accusation interrogates the premise that Melania Trump was awarded an immigration visa based on her “extraordinary ability” as a model. The article’s warrant is that an “underfed” model shouldn’t be awarded a visa before an engineer, scientist or someone in the high-tech field. It also doubts the talents of Melania and implies that she could not have achieved the successful visa outcome without someone working behind-the-scenes to assist her. However, these claims are not supported by evidence and are somewhat impetuous, consisting of sheer speculation. The claims present unsupported conclusions, as article has gaps in its information, refraining from defining what constitutes as “extraordinary ability”, how Melania failed to qualify for this specification and finally, the number of visa applications granted that year and how many were denied.


The article reads as if it was written as a smear on Donald Trump, who is notorious for his anti-immigration policies, arguing that his views are hypocritical as his wife is an immigrant herself.


“Trump lives and breathes by a double standard on immigration in which it’s perfectly fine to bend the rules when it suits his needs. When it’s other people’s lives, families and staffs on the verge of being split up, he shrugs his shoulders and pronounces, ‘Get ‘em outta here’.”


In this quote Melania is an invisible actor with the sole focus resting on Trump who is assumed guilty and the sole individual responsible for “bending immigration rules”. This article is clearly positioned towards a reader that possesses anti-Trump sentiments and who does not require great convincing in order to label Trump a hypocrite. Melania’s foreign background is manipulated to attack Trump as she is portrayed as a passive and compliant partner who is an extension of Trump rather than a separate individual who holds her own vices and sense of accountability.


A copious portion of what has been written about Melania Trump paints her in a negative light. She is viewed, first and foremost, as Donald Trump’s wife, a Slovenian supermodel with an elusive past who has climbed her way to recognition. The quest to piece together Melania’s character has been sparked by her reluctance to appear on the campaign trail and her preference for privacy. These three articles speculated on various aspects of Melania, constructing narratives about her identity drawing on her foreignness, marriage and mere observations of her character. Melania has been hyper-sexualised, framed as un-American and presented as a trophy wife who opportunistically married Donald Trump to gain American citizenship and a percentage of his hefty fortune. Often she is compared to previous First Ladies to argue that her lack of modesty is not compatible with the role of the First Lady, who is viewed as an icon of American femininity and class.  Yet the mystery remains unsolved, as little is known about Melania, the articles showboating the manic pursuit to uncover the personality of the potential First Lady of the United States. The questions remains, who is the real Melania Trump? Is she the immigrant who fraudulently was awarded a visa, an erogenous model, or a young woman from a modest town who stopped at nothing to achieve her American dream, or a combination of the three? An astute reader may be sceptical as to whether the articles are disingenuous in their attempt to unearth the real Melania Trump. In fact the bigger question remains unanswered as to whether these articles borrow from a political agenda, acting to injure the presidential campaign of her husband, the infamous Donald Trump.

Eden Gillespie, MDIA2002, F12A, z5059936

For: The Columbia Review

Words: 2495

The Polarisation of Gun Control

With the recent spike in gun violence in the United States and with the most highly publicised candidate in the ongoing U.S. presidential election season being endorsed by the NRA, it comes as no surprise that the gun control regulation debate has resurfaced as a divisive issue in the media. The core of this division can be separated into two underlying perspectives of guns: that they are the cause of violence or that they prevent violence. Typically, the central claim of the former is that in order to reduce gun crime, the government should be reducing or controlling access to guns. However, the latter claims that gun control leaves victims defenceless and that there is a lack of causation between legal gun ownership and gun violence. These arguments are inherently recommendatory claims directed towards legislators and lobbyists, with the assumption that government action has a pivotal role to play in the future of gun crime. Despite their differences, a common thread between both arguments is an underlying concern and fear of gun violence in society. These concerns and argumentation addressing these concerns have historically been given a higher platform in the wake of tragedies such as Columbine High School, Sandy Hook and the Colorado Theatre shooting.

In order to reveal the key differences in how each perspective deals with similar concerns and events, this discussion samples articles written since December 2012, following the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut and the following spike in conversation regarding legislative action. This discussion will begin by analysing two opinion pieces published in the wake of this tragedy, and this will be compared with how the issue has been dealt with more recently since the study released by the Centre for American Progress that claimed to find a connection between gun laws and gun violence.

Making Gun Control Happen and The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control) were both published immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 26 people were killed (20 children, 6 adults). They both address an audience still in mourning and assume their audience is looking for a solution. Whilst both reach similar conclusions in terms of their solutions to gun crime, that the government should introduce measures to control gun ownership, their representation of guns and their place within society are starkly different.

The central claim in Patrick Radden Keefe’s opinion piece Making Gun Control Happen written for The New Yorker is that in the absence of an organised and continuous push to reevaluate gun laws, there is no legislative action in the aftermath of contemporary gun tragedies. It is clear from the title that this argument relies upon the assumption that making gun control happen is the solution to gun violence, and that guns are the cause of violence. The writer claims that the Sandy Hook massacre can be simplified down to one cause:

“…the single syllable that might explain how one disturbed young man could walk into an elementary school and end twenty-six lives in a matter of minutes: ‘gun.’”

His central claim is supported by an appeal to fact:

“The N.R.A. has only four million members — a number that is probably dwarfed by the segment of the U.S. population that feels uneasy about the unbridled proliferation of firearms. But the pro-gun constituency is ardent and organised, while the gun control crowd is diffuse and easily distracted. In the 2012 election cycle, the N.R.A. spending on lobbying outranked spending by gun control groups by a factor of ten to one.”

This is essentially an ad populum argument, as the writer is asserting that his claim is a belief that is widely held without using any facts to support this claim. This appeal to popular opinion is used throughout the article, suggesting the writer is addressing the ‘majority’ of people who are outraged by the situation. This is evident from the beginning of the article, where he writes:

“Do you feel that? That’s your sense of moral outrage dissipating.”

This is further supported by the accompanying image of a crowd protesting gun violence, with an action shot of a couple holding a protest sign and candles in a candlelight vigil in response to the massacre.







The writer then addresses the opposing argument with an appeal to authority, using Larry Pratt as a straw-person for the entire gun advocating community, which is positioned as a minority group that has perpetuated a “profound national lunacy:”

“Following the Newtown shooting, Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners for America, suggested that these massacres might be avoided in the future, if only more teachers were armed.”

The writer then responds to this argument:

“As Pratt’s sentiment should make clear, the United States has slipped its moorings and drifted into a realm of profound national lunacy.”

In order to further support the claim that the position of gun advocates is illogical, the writer uses an appeal to analogy:

“Ponder, for a second, the fact that I cannot walk into a C.V.S. today an purchase half-a-dozen packages of Sudafed, but I can walk into a gun dealership and purchase a .50 caliber rifle of the sort that U.S. snipers use in Afghanistan.”

Whilst Keefe positions gun control critics as an illogical minority group whose coordination has a strong influence in the lack of legislative changes, Goldberg positions this group as logical and rational whilst gun control advocates in his article “make an emotional argument rather than logical one.”

The headline of Goldberg’s piece for The Atlantic, The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control), hints towards his primary claim that we should adopt a balanced approach to gun ownership. He claims that gun-control legislation is not the only answer to gun violence, and recommends the consideration of responsible gun ownership as an alternative that addresses both sides of the issue. This claim is only explicitly stated at the conclusion of the 17 page opinion piece, which indicates the writer is aware of the unpopularity of his argument at the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy and carefully justifies this argument. The writer interviews both a father who has lost his son to gun violence and conservative gun rights activists, suggesting his appeals to  authority are balanced, that he is unbiased and understands the complexity of the issue. The headline ‘the case for more guns’ highlights the idea that this article is taking a more detailed and constructed approach, which
is also suggested by the image of a photo of a gun constructed by cut up squares that implies the article is deconstructing and reevaluating the role of guns in reducing gun crime and mass shootings.


The first primary justification made is that guns are usually effective for self-defence purposes, hence gun control is not the answer to gun violence. The writer uses his “instinct” as a justification:

“My instinct was that if someone is shooting at you, it is generally better to shoot back than to cower and pray.”

This is supported by an appeal to fact:

“…especially when you consider the massacres that have been prevented or interrupted by armed civilians before the police arrived.”

The writer tends to rely on anecdotal evidence that appeals to emotion rather than fact to support this claim:

“The presence in the Columbine library of a well-trained, armed civilian attempting to stop killers could hardly have made the situation worse.”

An appeal to the ‘facts of the matter’ is used to justify this claim:

“Maybe it’s possible to distract a heavily armed psychotic by throwing a pencil at him. But the psychotic would likely respond by shooting the pencil thrower.”

The links back to the story told at the beginning of the article:

“Eric shot him once, and Daniel pushed chairs at him to try to make him stop, and Eric shot him again.”

This story of the Columbine High School shooting now works to justify this claim, which becomes an appeal to precedent.

The writer also claims that there is no proof to support the idea that concealed-carry permit holders create more violence in society than there would be otherwise. The writer uses an appeal to the authority of Dave Kopel, research director of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute who posits that “opposition to gun ownership is ideological, not rational.” The writer also refers to law professor Adam Winker: “permit holders in the U.S. commit crimes at a rate lower than that of the general population.” The writer doesn’t directly disprove the casual link between gun laws and gun crime — rather, this writer relies on the assumption that because there is no evidence that proves this link and because it is an just an emotive argument, no link exists.

One of the most interesting claims made by the writer is that the argument for gun control is invalidated by the fact that it is too late for America to eradicate guns:

“However much I might wish it, the United States is not going to become Canada. Guns are with us, whether we like it or not…”

At the end of the article, the writer quotes gun-control activist Dan Gross, who states:

“Do we want to live in [a society] in which the answer to violence is more violence, where the answer to guns is more guns?”

The writer then answers this question with an appeal to fact:

“What Gross won’t acknowledge is that in a nation of nearly 300 million guns, his question is irrelevant.”

This suggests that the writer is attempting the persuade the reader to see the ‘facts of the matter’ and to understand the ‘more logical’ appeals used by gun owners. The gun control activists interviewed throughout the article, including the father who lost his son in Columbine, serve to represent the view of the reader. In many instances, a direct quote from this side of the debate is countered by the more ‘logical’ approach of the writer, further suggesting he is attempting to persuade the reader to think otherwise.

These sample articles are illustrative examples of how either sides have represented the issue of gun legislation. Whilst Keefe takes an emotive approach that assumes guns control legislation is the answer, Goldberg questions the lack of authority to support this assumption. For instance, whilst Goldberg argues that it is not feasible to ban guns in American when there is nearly 300 million of them, Keefe took a different approach:

“But the fact that banning all guns, or even all assault weapons, may not be politically feasible is no excuse for the Obama Administration to do nothing.”

Four years on, the rhetoric and argumentative appeals used by either side of the gun control debate has changed very little. However, the debate has reached a pivotal point with the upcoming elections possibly determining the future of gun ownership in America. The New Yorker’s recently published article What’s Really Standing in the Way of Gun Control written by Jeffrey Toobin follows in line with the warrant of Keefe’s opinion piece for the same publisher that assumes gun control is the solution because guns are the problem. This article’s primary claim is also similar — that there is something blocking the countries progression to introduce gun control legislation. Whilst Keefe argued it was a lack of public discourse, Toobin argues the blockage is Congress and the Republicans, currently controlling the House of Representatives, who “have chosen to preserve the status quo.” The article uses an appeal to fact:

“But because most guns are easily portable over state and jurisdictional lines, there is only so much that can be done without action by the federal government…. Even in the period immediately after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when the Senate was still in Democratic hands, an attempt to impose a background-check requirement fell to the threat of a Republican filibuster.”

The article concludes by suggesting that the effects of the blockage of Obama’s initiative to ban individuals on the terror watch list from buying guns were “in Orlando and elsewhere, evident to all” — an appeal to both emotion and fact.

Also in line with Keefe’s argument, advocates of gun control laws continuously rely on the warrant that gun violence can be simplified down to one word: “gun.” In an editorial piece published on The Age last month titled Need for tougher gun control laws is obvious, the writers’ central claim is premised upon the assumption that strict gun laws will ‘obviously’ create change. This argument relies on an appeal to popular opinion and emotion, evident at the beginning of the article:

“For many of us, any discussion of gun control in this country turns our thoughts to the Port  Arthur massacre…”


This is complimented by the image of a gun photographed front on, suggestive of the dangerous consequences of gun ownership which places its whole audience in direct line of danger. This article makes a direct comparison to lack of gun control in the US and their “sickeningly common” gun massacres with the recent reports that the Turnbull government was considering relaxing gun laws in return for Senate support. The article refers to itself as an authority to support the claim that Australia is seeing an alarming rise of gun crimes:

“In Australia, we are seeing an alarming rise in gun crimes. As The Age detailed last month in an investigative series, a culture of carrying, and using guns is becoming entrenched in criminal circles.”

However, gun laws in Australia have not yet changed, and the link between legislative efforts to reduce gun ownership and levels of crime is not proven nor explained in this article. This suggests  that the writers rely on this assumption as a warrant that the audience will just take on as ‘common sense.’

This appeal to ‘common sense’ and popular opinion was also relied upon in the article When the People Choose Gun Control published on the New York Times. The central claim is that the majority of Americans support gun regulations, citing a study from Gallup as an appeal to authority. This argument is supported by the accompanying image of a gun barrel being stuffed with confetti by the collective public.


Last month, the Centre for American Progress (CAP) published a new study that claimed to finally prove the link between gun laws and gun violence, and the media’s response is an illustrative example of how each argument deals with the same information.

Mike Weisser in an article titled Gun Violence Research Will Lead to Smarter Gun Laws published in the Huffington Post said:

Our good friends at the Centre for American Progress have published a new study on the link between gun laws and gun violence which is a ‘must-read’ for everyone who is concerned about reducing gun violence.”

Similarly, the New York Times said:

“The latest analysis comes out Wednesday from the Centre for American Progress, a leading liberal group that supports toughened gun control. It concludes that gun fatalities in states with weaker laws are more than three times as high as in those states with tougher restrictions, including background checks or permits.”

This article uses an appeal to authority to further support the findings of the CAP:

“While the centre is unabashedly in favour of tougher gun measures, Daniel Webster, an expert on gun violence at Johns Hopkins University, who reviewed the findings, said its methods were scientifically sound and expanded on previous research in the issue.”

In response to this article, the Crime Prevention Research Centre sent a letter to the New York Times explaining that they had incorrectly described the study as showing that gun control laws reduce violence, which it then published on its website. In criticising the the New York Times, the letter follows the argument of many critics of gun control research that they don’t take into account other factors which affect rates of violence, such as demographics, income and law enforcement.

Other critics of the research labeled it as “junk science:”

“The national media’s unquestioning acceptance of the junk science in an anti-gun ‘study’ concocted by the leftist Centre for American Progress not only threatens your rights, but may cost innocent lives, as it gives politicians cover to ignore the real causes of crime to push gun-control gimmicks…”

Similarly, Connecticut Post described the research as a “sham study” and “junk science that would not pass muster in a middle school science fair.”

Whilst the New York Times took a more positive light to the fact that the CAP is a leftist organisation, critics addressing a more conservative audience premise their argument on the assumption that leftist bias would infiltrate the findings of the research and invalidate its results.

Therefore, whilst gun control advocates will use this study and similar upcoming research as an appeal to authority, these are not treated as fact or accepted by the gun advocating community as genuine and authoritative research.

Ultimately, the opposing viewpoints are drawn from irreconcilable world views: access to guns is the problem or access to guns is the solution to gun violence. The challenge for gun control advocates in constructing well grounded arguments that prove the casual link between gun laws and gun crime is in using appeals to authority that will be accepted by the gun community. The difficulty in this has been clearly shown in the brief analysis of the trending arguments that arise in the media – that the argument for gun control is often positioned as a purely emotional and irrational argument by the gun community. However, both sides claim that their argument is more logical and grounded in common sense warrants, and the challenge for legislatures is determining which common sense prevails.

Code War? If only it was that simple…

The Hyundai A-League (HAL) was founded in 2005 following the 2002 Crawford Report, which found Australian soccer (“football”) required a systematic overhaul to reach professional status and stay afloat financially. The league catalysed the growth of football in Australia, both financially and in terms of participation, as seen in the 2015 report by Outside90. Such growth has helped the HAL negotiate what is expected to be its most fruitful broadcasting rights deal in history. Yet, this growing popularity has also resulted in a spike in unduly biased media scrutiny — namely from News Limited publicationsand a consequent code war between other Australian sports. These publications have attempted to sully the reputation of Australian football by hyperbolising the ostensible ‘hooligan problem’ that pervades the sport. On the contrary, they have neglected issues involving the sports they invest in. For example, News Limited owned the National Rugby League until 2012, while the AFL’s six-year, $2.5 billion broadcast deal with Fox Sports highlights News Limited’s vested interests.

With this in mind, my paper will discuss 1) the contrasting perspectives of football fans in Australia, and 2) how these portrayals are used to propagate — particularly right-wing — agendas. My first article is It’s Time To Stop the Football Louts by the late Rebecca Wilson, which was published in The Daily Telegraph November 22, 2015. The article brought conflicting responses — support and ignominy — from all divides of the code war. Mike Cockerill’s A-League: Idiotic fans don’t just attend games, other sports shouldn’t throw stones from glasshouses is a response in The Sydney Morning Herald to Wilson’s article. In short, Wilson’s article portrays football fans in a negative light in her opinion-laden piece, while Cockerill defends’ fans behaviour and argues they are pawns used as a pretext to denigrate football’s growing status in Australia. Before I continue, it is pertinent to preface my analysis with my perspective (not unlike Alia Imtoual did with her paper): I am an avid football fan and the Sydney Correspondent for a football website. I believe this does not make me deliberately biased, rather an informed individual that is able to consider historical contexts in analysing the two articles.

Wilson’s article was published during the HAL’s 10-year anniversary celebrations. This context, coupled with the provocative title – “It’s Time To Stop the Football Louts” – shows her intentions to sully the reputation of football by referencing past eras where the sport was saturated by gang-related firms. It is no surprise that Wilson has portrayed football fans in this light; in her 2016 article, It’s time for the FFA to get tough and ban RBB thugs, she uses a plethora of negative connoting words to label the fans as “bad boys” that “[cannot] behave for 12 months”, “criminals” and “perpetrators.” Such language is unduly biased, as statistics show it is a significant minority of football fans that commit miscreant behaviour. Furthermore, this language — which implies fans attending football games are vagabonds with the sole intention of committing crimes under the pretext of passion — mirrors her lexicon used in the main article I have chosen. Epithets such as “football louts” and “rats in the ranks of clubs” supports her primary framing of football fans. These are aided by her elected image which depicts a security guard chasing a flare that has wondered onto the field of play, as well as the 198 mugshots of fans banned from the games. The photos of the fans are not flattering — rather, they add to Wilson’s insinuations that football is inundated with criminals.

Wilson compares football fans to fans of other codes to highlight the apparent contrasts in behaviour. By referring to other fans as “a few drunk cricket yobbos” and “a small base of Bulldogs fans” instantly relegates their behaviour to actions society should expect as a result of inebriation. These innocent behaviours, she argues, “belies the savagery of hundreds of A-League fans.” One can infer that, according to Wilson’s portrayal, violence at football games mirrors organised crimes, while the misbehaviour at other sports is incidental. Such a portrayal is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, football in Australia has historically had a negative image because 1) it was first played in Australia when the post-WWII European migrants brought it to Australia, and 2) the violence that arose in the 1980s and 1990s due to the ethnic-based clubs, pre-dating the HAL. Secondly, The Daily Telegraph’s predominantly right-wing, conservative viewership may have a propensity to supporting other sports which have traditionally been dominated by athletes with Anglo-Saxon roots. Therefore, Wilson links hooliganism with ethnicity to add racial undertones to the code war. If journalists are supposed to be the fourth estate, I would argue Wilson is acting irresponsibly and envenoming relationships that already exist in society by portraying football fans as hooligans.

On the other side of the divide lays Cockerill’s piece. Cockerill, one of football’s most respected journalists, responds to Wilson’s portrayal by labelling fans as “supporters” and the “hooligan…idiotic fringe” to separate authentic fans from the miscreants. Furthermore, Cockerill refers to the football community as “tribes in football” to engage with the negative labels and subvert them to portray football fans as united against hooligans. This is supported by his title, where “idiotic fans” again distinguishes the good from the bad and also positions himself as someone who is against belligerent fans. His analogy of “throw[ing] stones from glass houses” implies the apparent hypocrisy of other codes criticising football, thus simultaneously defending football and attacking other codes.  This subversion is further evident when he applauds the FFA for banning miscreant fans — “might actually suggest the game doesn’t tolerate bad behaviour and is trying to do something about it” — before even suggesting that perhaps the governing body has been too heavy-handed in dealing with hooligans. He also cites the Western Sydney Wanderers offering convicted fans the opportunity to appeal their fans, which he labels as a way of correcting “unfair…bans”.  In doing this, Cockerill establishes two things, 1) football fans’ misbehaviour that the code is dealing with, and 2) said issue is being pounced upon by journalists such as Wilson from publications such as The Daily Telegraph.

As I did with Wilson’s article, it is important to cross reference this piece with other works by Cockerill to highlight his perspective on the wider issue. Most telling is in his 2016 piece, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou wants fan to embrace the ‘fire which burns endlessly, where he summaries the fan-driven football culture with “passion, excitement, obsession”. Contrary to Wilson’s denigrating descriptors, Cockerill chooses these words to portray football fans as victims of innate feelings and Murdoch media’s false characterisations. He elaborates on passionate behaviour as “the size of the fight of the crowd,” distinguishing it from “bad behaviour”. This passion can be seen in his use of the Red and Black Bloc (RBB) — the Western Sydney Wanderers active support group — that are regarded as the benchmark of the league. Furthermore, he has elected the RBB because they were at the centre of Wilson’s criticism, whereby he is attempting to put a positive spin on their negative portrayal. It seems Wilson and Cockerill’s agree that all fans have a right to be passionate. Furthermore, both writers denounce hooligans in sports — albeit to varying degrees. Therefore, I explore a second aspect of my paper: that the apparent pandemic of football hooliganism is exaggerated in the media as a pawn to push right-wing agendas.

In having portrayed football fans as violent hooligans, Wilson attempts to inflate the issue into something synonymous with the code. She uses medical adjectives such as “endemic and acute” to position herself as an intelligent writer, while simultaneously hyperbolising football hooliganism to compare it to a terminal illness that is crippling football and wider society. This continues with her apparent sympathy for the police who are “hamstrung” by the hooligan who have created a “cultural problem within the sport that worsens each season”. This last quote is particularly important as it builds on her earlier portrayal of fans by framing it as a growing issue, and it is here that context and agendas must be considered. This article was published following the 2015 AFL season which was marred by Adam Goodes, an indigenous Australian player, being booed at games after he called out a fan’s racist remarks. Eddy McGuire, the chairman of Collingwood and a radio host, exacerbated the issue by suggesting on national radio that Goodes should be used to promote King Kong.

As well as this public relations nightmare, the News Limited publications also have an investment in the AFL as seen in their latest aforementioned broadcasting rights deal. It is further apparent when, in 2008, then editor-in-chief of The Gold Coast Bulletin – a News Limited publication – was appointed as a board member of the The Gold Coast Suns in their foundational year. This is a clear example of a conflict of interest, thus further highlighting the bias that pervades Australian sport in favour of Australian Rules Football and Rugby League. Regarding the latter, News Limited owned a 50% stake in the National Rugby League until 2012, and the Melbourne Storm were owned by News Limited until the end of the 2013 season. Contrarily, HAL franchise, Gold Coast United, were owned independently by mining magnate, Clive Palmer and no club in the league has had ownerships affiliated with the media. While this does not relate to Wilson, per se, it shows how News Limited are invested in other sports that rival football, therefore highlighting their agendas that perchance Wilson would either have to adhere to or happily comply with.

Conversely, Cockerill frames Wilson’s article as another biased attack on the football fraternity, dismissing her article as having “the familiar whiff of discrimination” and implying the article’s “raison d’etre…[was] clickbait”. By challenging Wilson’s journalistic integrity — “florid language and the aggressively myopic undertones of the article in question — Cockerill discredits not only her portrayal of football fans, but also those done by her colleagues. For example, he calls out Alan Jones’ “odious comparison to the terrorism in Paris” to show the blatant absurdity and partisanship employed by Murdoch-owned media. Another example is his interjection in “Right, of course” to respond to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione’s criticism of football’s culture. By doing this, he has deflected criticism that belied the code not only from right-wing media, but also Subordinate Authorities.

With this in mind, I come to the next part of Cockerill’s piece: attacking the media bias against football in Australia. Cockerill does this by asking readers a question — “Why was the list leaked? — before answering it, in short, by attacking “the establishment…[that] has never understood, accepted, or liked [football]”. This “establishment” is further evident when he questions the violence statistics at other sports. “We don’t know,” he concludes, “because nobody has leaked that information yet. That’s no surprise.” Not only has Cockerill positioned himself as a pro-football writer than is championing the virtues of the game, he is also raising the fact that perhaps there is a conspiracy against the sport. In citing these conspiracies — which include Wilson’s article, Alan Jones on radio, NSW Police — Cockerill has portrayed fans as victims in a wider code and racial war:

“These people…like Jones…[a]re united in their distrust, and dislike, of a game which represents the world beyond our shores”.

This links to my earlier analysis of Wilson’s article which addressed the Anglo-Saxon readership of The Daily Telegraph as well as the lack of Balkan and Mediterranean players in Rugby League and Australian Rules Football.

In conclusion, it is clear that football fans are being portrayed in two contrasting ways depending on the media organisation. My analysis of Wilson’s right-wing article shows how News Limited  criticises fans of others codes to protect the sports they are invested in. On the other hand, Cockerill’s article seeks to defend football fans and the sport, arguing that perchance there exists a conspiracy that seeks to thwart the growth and influence of football.


Cockerill, M. (2015). A-League: Idiotic fans don’t just attend games, other sports shouldn’t throw stones from glasshouses. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].

Cockerill, M. (2016). Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou wants fans to embrace the ‘fire which burns endlessly’. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Imtoual, A. (2005). Religious Racism and the Media: Representations of Muslim Women in the Australian Print Media. Outskirts Online Journal, 13(1).

May, B. (2016). Analysing the growth of the A-League | Outside90. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].

The World Game. (2016). A-League seeking bumper TV deal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2016].

Wilson, R. (2015). Time for denials is over: stop the louts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Oct. 2016].

Wilson, R. (2015). It’s time for the FFA to get tough and ban RRB thugs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].

Is Veganism Safe For Our Children?

By Jasmine Mahar.

Sourced from

Veganism has gained
momentum in recent years, with Australia having the third fastest growing vegan market in the world. At a dietary level, vegans do not eat meat or any other animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey, while also excluding any other lifestyle products that have exploited animals, including certain beauty products, clothes and furniture.  This global trend has garnered large amounts of media attention surrounding its ethics and its validity as a nutritionally complete diet. More and more national dietary guidelines are condoning this way of eating, including the American Dietetic Association, who stated in 2009 “that
appropriately planne
d vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits…”  Yet while a carefully planned vegan diet can meet all an adult’s nutritional needs (excluding the vitamin B12), the question remains: is veganism a safe for children?

Though not an unheard-of practice, parents raising vegan children have been scrutinised by the media this year after several events in Italy that gained international attention. In July, a fourteen-month-old Italian infant was taken to hospital by his own grandparents and deemed to be severely malnourished, a condition caused by the strict vegan diet his parents had placed him on. An article from The Washington Post details this, as well as previous cases of malnutrition and even infant death after living on a vegan diet without supplements. Only a month later, Elvira Savino from the centre-right Forza Italia Party proposed a bill to parliament that would see parents jailed if proven to be enforcing a vegan diet on children aged sixteen and under. Both The Washington Post article, and this BBC article outlining Ms Savino’s proposed bill, explore the question of whether children can thrive on a vegan diet, but these are not the articles I will be discussing today. This article will explore three pieces, published by both popular news outlets and a health and wellness magazine, all of which portray parents raising vegan children in a positive light, positioning the reader to view them in a researched way which considers several stipulations. These include the parents being well educated, providing their child with a carefully planned, nutritionally complete diet (with supplements if needed), and working collaboratively with a paediatrician or dietician.

On the 21st of October, 2016, CBS News published the uncredited article “Can you raise a healthy vegan baby?” supplied by the Associated Press. CBS News is a US based news organisation, that, though experiencing a recent decline in audience trust, is still found by many American readers and viewers to be largely credible.  This news piece, while in part presenting a factual argument overall, becomes largely evaluative. The central claim is made immediately explicit in the leading line, in part answering the question posed in the headline: “There’s a right way and a wrong way to raise a baby on vegan food. Those who get it wrong, parents say, give the responsible ones a bad name.” Though citing “parents” isn’t the most reliable of sources, the rest of the CBS article works to prove the central claim that vegan parenting is safe and healthy, only given a bad name by the minority who don’t work to create a balanced diet for their children. The repeated use of words such as “neglect,” in relation to an already emotionally charged topic (children), create appeals to emotion. Mentioning previous cases of reported malnourishment in vegan children, including those in Italy, it is stated: “Those cases are not about veganism at all, but are instead about neglect, say parents who are raising their children vegan. Pinning bad parenting on vegan diets, some say, unfairly stigmatizes those who have done their homework.” The emotionally charged word “neglect” is used again as the piece quotes Fulvia Serra, a mother choosing to raise her children on a vegan diet, as she says that “to get a child to the point of starvation, it means you are ignoring him and his crying all the time… It’s neglect.” These emotional appeals begin to emphasise the positive portrayal of the majority of vegan parents.

The factual element of the article “Can you raise a healthy vegan baby?” comes first from reference to the book “Pediatric Nutrition” from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It describes how, with sound nutrition and dietary planning, ‘it is possible to provide a balanced diet to vegetarians and vegans,’” giving a researched basis to the expressed ‘fact’ that a diet free from animal products can provide complete nutrition to a child. Further appeal to facts comes with quotations from Sheela Magge, an endocrinologist at the Children’s National Health System and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on nutrition. Magge states: “For children in general you can have a safe vegan diet, but it has to be in consultation with a pediatrician or health care provider,” furthering the stipulations of the CBS article’s central claim, that veganism is safe for children only with adequate research and medical opinion. The article, though based in fact, becomes increasingly one sided through using a collection of real-life examples of poorly executed vegan parenting. “In Florida in 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn got probation for neglect in the death of their 6-month-old son, who was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk…” is one such extreme example. By using several similar examples, CBS vilifies the minority of bad vegan parents, characterising them as being stupid and neglectful, but also relies on the warrant that readers are already quite positive towards the vegan lifestyle, as the pro-vegan argument has thus far been minimal.

In concluding the article, CBS reiterates the central claim, which is closely linked to their portrayal of parents choosing to raise vegan children. Quoting the nutritionist Reed Mangels, who raised two vegan children now in their twenties, the article states: “’The problem is not the vegan part of the diet, but it’s the inadequacy of the diet,’ she said of cases that make the news.” This final appeal to authority positions readers to view vegan parents in a more positive light than the media may usually portray, as only the few who do not make the effort to make a vegan diet nutritionally complete for their children cause health problems for their kids.

The next article I will look at, published online by SBS, makes a very similar claim. The SBS is a trusted national news outlet in Australia, the multiplatform news outlet being known for providing factual and reliable information to the public. Written by Louisa Matwiejczyk and published on the 17th of March 2016, before the Italian infant made international headlines, “Are there any health implications for raising your child as a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian?” explicitly states the central claim in the byline of the article, which reads: “Children who are raised as vegetarians grow and develop at the same rate as meat-eaters, writes Louisa Matwiejczyk.” Matwiejczyk uses a factual argument to come to the same conclusion as the previous CBS article, that being that a carefully planned vegan diet, along with the input of a medical professional, is nutritionally sound for developing bodies, and therefore also positions readers to view vegan parents in a positive light.

Sourced from United States Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Photo by Peggy Greb.

After addressing widespread public concern that excluding meat and other animal products will not allow children and teenagers to garner adequate nutrients and calories, an appeal to facts is made, as it is stated that “research shows that children who are raised as vegetarians grow and develop at the same rate as meat-eaters. They receive mostly the same amount of protein, energy and other key nutrients that children need.” This is furthered through supporting quotation from the American Dietetic Association, an appeal to authority, stating: “Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.” Coming to this conclusion, though factual, causes the rest of the argument to become slightly evaluative, reporting only the positive factors of veganism. It does, however, acknowledge that diets omitting animal products must be “well planned.” The rising number of vegetarians and vegans is also addressed, but not given a factual basis, creating an informal fallacy, in particular an ad populum argument: “In high-income countries, ethical reasons [for not eating animal products] are more common – and the trend for vegetarianism is increasing.” This statement works to normalise people in society choosing to eat this way, again placing vegans in a positive light, backed up by the fact that the exclusion of meat, eggs and dairy does not necessarily cause nutritional deficiency at any stage of life.

More facts that place vegan parents in a positive light are immediately given after the aforementioned informal fallacy, as Matwiejczyk states that “Research shows that being vegetarian as a child does not contribute to disordered eating. And adolescent vegetarians tend to have a healthier weight and healthier attitude towards eating than their omnivore counterparts.” This overt appeal to facts (though the source is unnamed) also works as an appeal to emotion, stating only beneficial aspects of raising vegan or vegetarian children. The article “Are there any health implications for raising your child as a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian?” continues to be overtly positive, factually proving that vegan and vegetarian diets provide adequate and abundant nutrition through a dietary breakdown of foods that afford the same nutrients and vitamins of animal-sourced produce. Another appeal to authority points out that “According to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, a cup of cooked legumes is equivalent to a serve of cooked meat in energy and comparable nutrients.”  Again, the challenge presented by veganism and total boycott of animal products is addressed in a factual manner, as Matwiejczyk admits it is difficult “for meeting B12, iodine, calcium and vitamin D needs.”


It is reiterated, though, that vegan children can thrive, yet this will not occur through a simple exclusion of certain food groups. “Vegan children need to take a regular B12 source and have their diet reviewed by an accredited practising dietitian,” Matwiejczyk states. While this is an evaluative presumption, using the imperative “need” without offering any form of factual or authoritative support, it neatly summarises the both factual and evaluative central claim and nature of the argument, which is then repeated:

“The take-home message is that with careful dietary planning it is very possible for children to be vegetarian and healthy.

In fact, vegetarians enjoy more health benefits compared to meat-eaters. Although there aren’t any guidelines as such, it is useful to have children checked by their GP every six months and, if vegan, to take a regular source of B12 and to visit an accredited practising dietitian.”

While addressing certain stipulations that come as part of feeding a child a vegan diet, that it must be well planned and reviewed by health professionals, the SBS piece “Are there any health implications for raising your child as a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian?” by Louisa Matwiejczyk positions readers to view parents raising vegan children in a positive light, by proving that this diet can be nutritionally sound. Not unlike the previously discussed CBS article “Can you raise a healthy vegan baby?” facts and appeals to authority dominate the evaluations of this emotional subject.

Similarly, an overtly factual approach is taken in the final article I will be examining. Published by SELF Magazine, a women’s health, wellness, beauty and style magazine, on the 16th of August 2016, the article “Is it safe to put a child on a vegan diet?” poses the same question as CBS and SBS, made clear in the title. Written by Haley Goldberg, the article is extremely factual in nature, with little authorial opinion in the way of evaluation, instead using the opinions of professional dietary experts and healthcare providers. The central claim, answering the question posed in the headline, is also exactly that of the previously discussed articles; vegan diets are safe for children only if the proper attention to nutrition is given and approved by a dietician or paediatrician. Therefore, again, readers are positioned to view parents raising vegan children in a controlled positive light, as we are encouraged to move away from antiquated thought patterns that condemn diets containing no animal products, but realise that veganism must be undertaken only with the appropriate knowledge and planning.

A factual tone is immediately adopted by Goldberg in this article, through a brief discussion of the events in Italy earlier in the year which led to Elvira Savino proposing the bill to make it illegal for parents to limit children under the age of sixteen to a vegan diet, referring to The Washington Post through a hyperlink. Brief evaluative authorial intervention describes the July case of the hospitalised fourteen-month-old as “shocking,” admitting that it is one of four similar recent incidents in Italy alone. A quote from Savino first introduces us to the article’s central claim, as she is reported to have stated: “I just find it absurd that some parents are allowed to impose their will on children in an almost fanatical, religious way, often without proper scientific knowledge or medical consultation.” Proper scientific knowledge and medical consultation are viewed as an imperative aspect of raising vegan children, part of the central claim which is supported by facts throughout the remainder of the article, which seeks to answer its own question, “Is putting a child, especially an infant, on a vegan diet unsafe?” In short, this is answered with an appeal to authority: “According to experts, the answer is no.” The central claim is then explicitly stated, as Goldberg continues: “A vegan diet can be healthy for a child—if it’s done properly. And that means monitoring the vitamins, calories, and minerals a child is or isn’t receiving from their diet, and providing supplements when necessary,” the hyperlink to Healthy Children providing support an appeal to both facts and authority.

Appeals to authority are continually made through “Is it safe to put a child on a vegan diet?” as way of supporting the main conclusion. Jill Castle is the first specifically referenced authority, as registered dietician and nutritionist as well as childhood nutrition expert.

“There are certain nutrients we know in the very early years of life that are very critical to normal brain development and normal growth of an infant or a young toddler… And those nutrients can be missing or compromised if a parent were to use a vegan diet without good knowledge of the diet and good knowledge of the food they need to be using to make sure a child gets all the nutrients that they need.”

This, along with the following appeals to facts and authority, positions the audience to take a positive, yet wary stance towards parents raising their children on a vegan diet. Next resourced is Sheela Magge, an endocrinologist at the Children’s National Health System, who is paraphrased stating the position of the American Academy of Paediatrics, that “the AAP generally rules that restrictive diets aren’t unsafe, but they need to be followed in consultation with a pediatrician to make sure children and infants aren’t missing out on crucial nutrients and minerals,” also referencing the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics through hyperlink. These supporting arguments work to educate readers. They continuously prove that while a child can receive complete nutrition through a diet free from animal products (most probably with certain supplements), parents choosing to raise their children this way must be extremely well educated about their actions. Parents who do not educate themselves on their child’s nutritional needs are therefore characterised as neglectful.

Based upon the former appeals to fact and authority, as well as others I do not have time to mention, Goldberg comes to a conclusion which again succinctly repeats the central claim, that “the issue isn’t children on a vegan diet itself, then, but a lack of knowledge and vigilance when putting children on a vegan diet.” Jill Castle is again drawn upon, as she states that laws banning veganism are not what we need. Rather, society would benefit through more education for parents opting to choose a vegan lifestyle for their children.

“You look at the media and children doing very poorly on the vegan diet, it really does stem from a lack of knowledge on the parent side and a lack of monitoring on the healthcare side,” Castle says. “If a family decides to go this path, everyone needs to be wide-eyed and watching and monitoring and making sure that family has everything they need to support that child well and be able to step in early if things aren’t going well.”

Sourced from Photo by Owen Lucas

Overall, here we see three articles published this year, all by credible sources of news (both in a conventional news format and health and wellness format) that, through repeated appeals to facts and authority, find that veganism is safe for our children. In doing this, the Associated Press article “Can you raise a healthy vegan baby,” the SBS article “Are there any health implications for raising your child as a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian?” by Louisa Matwiejczyk and SELF Magazine’s article “Is it safe to put a child on a vegan diet?” by Haley Goldberg all position readers to take a more positive view towards parents choosing to raise vegan children. The audience is, throughout all three pieces, encouraged to put aside antiquated prejudices against veganism and its supposed nutritional lack, and accept that while raising children on such a diet takes copious amounts of knowledge and planning, it can be done successfully, providing and nutritionally adequate and abundant diet for growing bodies. The only parents characterised as being neglectful, therefore, are those who choose not to educate themselves or work with a health practitioner, putting their children’s health at risk.

Media Analysis 2 Proposal – Sophie Gobbo, z5079355

By Sophie Gobbo, z5079355

A recent matter in the news that I have chosen to use for my second analysis is that of the ‘Budgie 9’ controversy. I plan on interpreting how some articles differ in the way they portray the Australian guys involved and whether any judgement is explicitly made or just implied through certain textual elements.

Some of the articles I have recently looked at are mainly ‘views’ reporting and contain a lot of harsh judgement toward the men.

It would be interesting to see how they were represented in the news in Malaysia, however I predict the conclusion I will draw will be that majority of the articles will represent the men in a negative light, or as doing the wrong thing.

I have noticed some articles use the men’s own quotes against them to make them appear more foolish and highlight the lack of apology they made.

Here are some of the articles I’ve looked at so far:


A4 O’reilly, Caitlin -PING 12PM FRI

Caitlin O’Reilly z5015532

For my Assessment Four, I plan to base my analysis around the mainstream media response to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The coverage of the tabloid paper, Daily Mirror in the run up to the Iraq War is particularly unique in comparison to the wide range of other mainstream media of the time that were wholly in favour of Britain, America and Australia entering the war. The Daily Mirror created their own campaign against the war that fell way outside the realm of objective journalism. The Mirror followed up its hostility towards the British and US bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 with a series of articles that warned against going to war with Iraq as a distraction from the real fight against international terrorism. The problems involved in challenging George Bush and Tony Blair’s war plans soon became clear. The Mirror celebrated American Independence Day with the headline MOURN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (DM, 4 July 2002) and a two-page article by John Pilger that described the US as ‘the world’s leading rogue state … out to control the world’. I plan to analyse a range of their front pages in this time period and how they convinced up to 200,000 people to sign their petition against the war.