TIGER WOODS – A PROTECTED SPECIES OR PUSHED TO EXTINCTION?

As mere mortals, people have always reveled in the perceived superhuman feats of professional athletes. We begrudge their talents and dream of their rock star lifestyles, manifesting in a form of jealousy that we can only accept by living vicariously through these talented sports men and women. Such is the public’s obsession, the lives of today’s sporting stars are becoming increasingly cast into to the public eye under an intensifying media microscope. It seems nothing is off limits when it comes to documenting the private lives of the modern day athlete, and their lingers a certain unspoken expectation of how they are to behave as role models to so many. It comes as no surprise then that when professional athletes become shroud in controversy, as they so often do, the media reaction can be immense.

Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer of all time, is one such high profile sportsman whose private life has become illuminated by the media.

“Tiger, the superhuman golfer, has been the focus of unprecedented media commentary. Woods has been the biggest story in golf.”                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                       (Barbie & Hackenberg 2012, p.2)

Like many generational sportsman, “one cannot simply summarize the full significance of the Tiger Woods phenomenon. Tiger Woods changed everything. Golf became a sport…and most importantly, the sport and the players were now cool” (Barbie 2012, p.1). “Tiger was the only player who took golf from the fourth or fifth page of the sports section not only to the front page, but also the front page of the newspaper” (Lavner 2015).

An analysis into his portrayal in the media is intriguing, depicting an on-going fixation that has seen Woods described as everything from a “cultural icon” (Barbie 2012, p.2) to a “disgraced celebrity who became the embodiment of entitlement and arrogance” (Massarotti 2015). Following on from his shock admission to extra marital affairs and sex addiction in 2009, Tiger’s career has been defined by his actions away from the course. “Although the everyman Tiger tried mightily to cordon off his ‘regular’ life, those efforts ultimately proved futile. Suddenly, the everyman was exposed” (Barbie 2012, p.3). Love him or hate him, Woods is now regarded as one of the most polarizing and controversial athletes of all time.

For the purpose of this media analysis, my aim is to showcase how Tiger’s personal struggles have plagued his characterization and representation in the media. Firstly, I will analyze two opinion pieces from 2009/2010, (the immediate aftermath of Tiger’s infidelity) “Tiger Woods will never recover from this scandal,” an opinion piece appearing on newsone.com (author not quoted), and “Letting Tiger off the hook with ‘sex addiction’ tale would be a cop out,” written by S.E Cupp of nydailynews.com. These two views journalism pieces are similar in their view in painting a negative picture of Tiger, largely indicative of the general media and public evaluation of Woods at the time. Both texts focus largely on the extreme fall from grace Wood’s experienced during this period, and how his image, an image that had taken decades to build, was suddenly in tatters.

In comparison, for the second phase of my analysis, I will dissect two current evaluative articles, “Tiger Wood’s 5 years of scandal and misery since infamous crash,” written by Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, and “Tiger Woods is back – But still on the endangered list,” a piece by Eamon Lynch for newsweek.com. Looking at a current representation of Wood’s media profile reveals that he is still haunted by his mistakes, even though some seven years have passed since news first broke of his infidelity. Despite this, these texts also communicate how the contemporary media representation of Tiger has softened over the years. Vilified for some time, these two articles instead adopt a more concerning tone for the fallen star. Although it would be foolish to assume that this basic assumption is representative of the wider public opinion of Woods, it does nevertheless offer an insight into both articles assumed readerships. A readership that has seemingly forgotten or forgiven Woods for his misdemeanors, and above all else wishes to see him back on the course, performing in his ‘Sunday red.’

 

Tiger Wood’s cheating scandal first came to light on the 25th November 2009, when The National Enquirer published a story claiming Woods had had an extramarital affair with a New York City nightclub manager named Rachel Uchitel. Over the ensuing days, more than a dozen women claimed through various media outlets to have had affairs with Woods. For the first time, Woods’ squeaky-clean image had been severely tainted. With his own startling admission of infidelity, thus began a media frenzy that engulfed the world’s best golfer.

We can gauge this immediate and unfavorable media reception of Wood’s by firstly delving into the newsone.com article, entitled “Tiger Woods will never recover from this scandal.” From the outset, the author explicitly passes judgement on Woods by brandishing his actions as a ‘scandal.’ This label communicates a negative perception of Woods in it’s meaning, to which scandal denotes “any action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage” (Cambridge English Dictionary). For a reader who may have no preconceived notions about Tiger Wood’s or his transgressions, this use of scandal creates an instant negative connotation. The fact that the author states that it is a scandal he will never recover from, only serves to further its severity. “I think it (the cheating scandal) will always be with him” (Lapchick, quoted by newsone.com, 2009).

In addition, the author positions readers to perceive Wood’s negatively by describing his actions as “so far out of bounds of what anyone considers normal behavior” (Lapchick, quoted by newsone.com, 2009). The underlying assumption, or warrant used here assumes that a reader will have an understanding of what constitutes ‘normal behavior,’ and thus they will have the necessary foresight to deduce cheating as something that is rare or unacceptable. Instead, Tiger is portrayed as someone who lived his life outside the constraints of these acceptable ‘social norms,’ further distinguishing him as an ‘outsider.’ In this way, the author effectively employs the classic use of the Ad Populum argument, creating a view amongst readers that infidelity is a sin by in which the author knows would be a universally held opinion. This doubles as a clear appeal to both popular opinion and precedent, as again, the author expects a reader to view her assertions through a similar mindset, that being the traditional negative view of being unfaithful.

However, the author’s primary tool in constructing a negative representation of Wood’s is through their description of the number of people and parties Wood’s has let down by his actions. As the article states:

“In a lot of ways Tiger Woods has broken the hearts of a lot of people who looked at him as a role model who was above all those things. An African-American athlete who totally transcended race and dominated a sport like no one else seemed to have this perfect life. It turned out not to be true”

                                                       (Lapchick, quoted by newsone.com, 2009)

Such emotionally laden quotes allude to the notion that as Wood’s is such an inspirational and influential figure, not just in the sport of golf but also in they eyes of the general population, he should have known better. “It’s so far the opposite of what we thought that it makes it so much more dramatic” (Lapchick, quoted by newsone.com, 2009). In this way, the author expresses a clear appeal to precedent and customary practice. The sense of shock and surprise also expressed by the author, gives a reader the impression that Tiger had ‘duped them,’ as it seemed he lived a “perfect life.” Again, the underlying warrant at play here is that sport stars, celebrities, or anyone in the public eye, have a select way of behaving, a way in which Tiger Wood’s clearly did not uphold.

 

This negative representation of Wood’s is similarly shared in S.E. Cupp’s article for the New York Daily News, entitled, “Letting Tiger off the hook with ‘sex addiction’ tale would be a cop out.” As explicitly stated in her headline, Cupp approaches her article with consideration to the social and medical agents that ‘supposedly’ played a role in Wood’s extra marital affairs. As Cupp states, “ we can stop questioning his (Tiger Woods) character, for this (his infidelity) – we’re being told – is a medical issue” (Cupp 2009). Immediately, a reader would be able to detect Cupp’s use of sarcasm, effectively portraying her belief that sex addiction is an insufficient excuse used by Wood’s and his people to attempt to salvage his image. This is a clear use of the Non-Sequitur fallacy by Cupp, as she claims that there is no evidence to suggest that a link exists between sex addiction and infidelity. Cupp goes on to dismiss the legitimacy of sex addiction, stating “the affliction may be real, but it also keeps us from acknowledging the immorality of our actions” (Cupp, 2009). Instead, Cupp urges her readers to share in her attitudinal inferences through the factual implications (appeals to facts) of Wood’s scandal. She bluntly states that the “facts here are pretty simple. Woods made repeated and calculated decisions to deceive and hurt his family. For that he should get no sympathy” (Cupp, 2009). Cupp adapts emotive language in a bid to portray Tiger as ‘in control’ of his decisions, further dismissing the legitimacy of the ‘sex addiction ‘ argument. The use of “repeated” and “calculated,” position a reader to view Tiger as a deceitful husband who pulled the wool over the eyes of not only his family, but also the public. In communicating these subjective evaluations as fact, Cupp constructs the perception that Wood’s actions were indisputably unacceptable.

Thus, in assessing the myriad of media reaction to Wood’s startling admission of infidelity, the vast majority of commentators, including that of newsone.com and Cupp, looked down on the incident with a highly negative view. Many authors expressed shock and repugnance at the actions of Woods, a characterization typically shared by that of the broader society. These conclusions contribute to a universal stance on extra marital affairs that has existed for centuries, that “one thou shalt not commit adultery.” Both authors adopt this way of thinking through a strong use of appeals, primarily through precedent and facts. Both authors quite confidently assume their audience will be like-minded in negatively assessing Wood’s actions, such is the negative undertone associated with infidelity and cheating. As such, Woods’ image went from being extraordinary, to ordinary overnight, as “the media published every possible aspect of his all-too-human problems and weaknesses” (Barbie 2012, p.3). The 2009 media portrayal of Tiger Woods exposed him for what he really was, a “flawed human being” (Shipnuck 2016) who selfishly lied and deceived for so long in order to protect his own artificial identity.

 

Having established the meteoric capitulation of Tiger Wood’s public image after his extra marital affairs, a media analysis into the current characterization of Tiger Woods presents a number of interesting findings about the way the media continues to portray his struggles.

Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, presents a post mortem of the life of Tiger Wood’s some five years after he admitted to extra marital affairs in his piece, “Tiger Wood’s 5 years of scandal and misery since infamous crash.” As we can see explicitly from the headline, Cyrgalis positions his readers to feel slightly sympathetic for Woods and the ‘misery’ he has endured for such a long time. This attitudinal positioning is maintained by Cyrgalis throughout his article, interestingly and most notably through the antagonist of Wood’s ex-wife, Elin Nordegren. Cyrgalis writes in such a way that he invites a reader to view Nordegren as equally responsible for the mental demons Tiger has faced since their divorce. Cyrgalis writes:

“He (Woods) went from having the public image of a loving husband and father of two adorable children, to that of a single dad having to carve time out of his globetrotting schedule. Of his reported $1 billion in career earnings, he had to give half to Elin, who has seemingly moved on with her life and managed to get on just fine.”

                                                                                                         (Cyrgalis, 2014)

For an audience, this position taken by Cyrgalis asks them to consider the sacrifices that Wood’s has had to endure ever since news broke of his scandal in 2009. Cyrgalis positions a reader to view Wood’s sympathetically, portraying him as the only one who has been hurt following the divorce as his ex-wife Elin was “seemingly” able to “get on just fine.” Cyrgalis then uses an appeal to facts, stating that Tiger had to give up half of his career earnings, a reported “$1 billion,” in the divorce settlement. In this way, Cyrgalis positions the reader to view Nordegren as money-hungry, who never really loved Wood’s, such was her unemotional response to their divorce. Finally, Cyrgalis uses an appeal to emotion by describing Tiger as a “single dad” who now has to carve out his own time to see his children. This is a clear use of appeals to emotion from Cyrgalis, evoking sympathy for Wood’s for the fact that he struggles to see his children, a right of being a parent. Again, this evokes strong sympathy amongst readers for Woods, positioning them to consider all the things he has ‘lost’ out on because of the scandal. Thus, we can clearly see in Cyrgalis’s article a shift in the characterization of Tiger Wood’s in the media. Contrary to how he was represented in 2009, Wood’s is now viewed sympathetically for the hardships he has had to endure since the scandal.

 

“Tiger Woods is back – But still on the endangered list,” an article by Eamon Lynch of newsweek.com, is a similar evaluative piece that showcases this current ‘softened’ media representation of Woods following on from his scandal of extra marital affairs in 2009. The article by Lynch, published in October 2016, details Tiger’s announcement that he would be making a return to competitive golf in December following three years away from the game. Interestingly, Lynch’s article makes no direct reference to Wood’s infidelity, yet subtly alludes to Wood’s struggles in his time away from the game. We can first analyse this characterization by Lynch through his headline, “Tiger Woods is back – But still on the endangered list.” By choosing to evaluate Woods as “endangered,” positions the reader to view Wood’s as diminished and at risk of being lost forever. This innately, albeit in-explicitly communicates Lynch’s primary claim that Tiger is not fully ready to return to competitive golf, and that without doubt Wood’s is still battling with his demons.

Lynch reiterates this representation of Tiger, that he is still not yet up to the stresses of week-to-week competitive golf, through his use of subtle evaluative triggers. Lynch writes, “His (Wood’s) expectations are low,” “the notion of him winning seems fantastical,” and “returning is a physical and psychological gamble for Woods” (Lynch 2016). These quotes from Lynch clearly represent Wood’s as harboring both physical and emotional stresses in his life. For a reader, this undeniably positions them to feel a sense of concern for Wood’s, not just through his physical capacity to play golf, but also in his mental capacity to compete.

Lynch continues to represent Tiger in this way by noting how much the game has changed in his absence. As Lynch writes:

“The landscape has altered greatly in his absence. His most recent appearance came earlier this month, when he served as a non-playing assistant for the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team. Yet at the post-match press conference he was an afterthought, the recipient of a single, flaccid question near the end of proceedings.”

                                                                                                       (Lynch 2016)

By citing just how much the game has changed in his absence, Lynch also points to the fact that Tiger has been somewhat forgotten. “Wood’s has been golf’s ghostly cipher – seldom seen, often spoken of, but ousted from headlines by a younger generation” (Lynch 2016). For a reader, this conjures a feeling of nostalgia, and again sympathy, for that fact that Wood’s has been away from the game he mastered so many years ago as a result of his hardships. However, Lynch plays on this nostalgia, attempting to create excitement for his readers by stating, “He (Woods) is back playing, and he’s the biggest story in sports. Again” (Lynch 2016). In this way, Lynch creates a sense of optimism amongst his readers for Tiger’s return.

 

Thus, having analyzed a more current representation of Tiger Wood’s in the media we can clearly see this shift in the way he has been characterized. In 2009, Wood’s was severely tainted by the media, represented as a cold and disgraced celebrity who abused his entitlement for individual self-worth. Some seven years later, it is clear that Tiger Wood’s will live with the scandal for the rest of his life, however it is slowly fading to the background. Without question, the media’s stance on Tiger in 2016 is far more concerned for his well-being and his struggles in attempting to reconfigure his life and damaged image. Ultimately, like any fan, the media wishes to see Tiger back to what he did best, awing crowds with his unbelievable golf game. One thing is for sure, one cannot see a time in the foreseeable future where Tiger will not attract headlines from the media, such is his human interest. “Because of his iconic status, Wood’ adherence to the rules (or lack thereof) is always on public display” (Barbie 2012, p.6).

 

REFERENCES:

Newsone Staff Writers – “Tiger Woods will never recover from this scandal.” – 2009. http://newsone.com/383542/opinion-tiger-woods-will-never-recover-from-this-scandal/

 S.E. Cupp –“Letting Tiger off the hook with ‘sex addiction’ tale would be a cop out.”– December 9th, 2009. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/tiger-woods-hook-alleged-affairs-sex-addiction-defense-article-1.434969

Brett Cyrgalis – “Tiger Wood’s 5 years of scandal and misery since infamous crash.” – November 26th, 2014. http://nypost.com/2014/11/26/tiger-woods-5-years-of-scandal-and-misery-since-infamous-crash/

Eamon Lynch –“Tiger Woods is back – But still on the endangered list.” – October 10th, 2016. http://www.newsweek.com/tiger-woods-back-still-endangered-list-508006?utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=incontent&utm_medium=related2

Lorne Rubinstein – “Tiger’s Private Struggles.” http://time.com/tiger/?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange

Mark Seal – “The Temptation of Tiger Woods.” – May 2nd, 2010. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2010/06/tiger-woods-article-full-201006

Ryan Lavner – “Tiger at 40: Why Tiger Woods still matters.” December 16th, 2015. http://www.golfchannel.com/news/ryan-lavner/tiger-40-why-tiger-woods-still-matters/

Donna J. Barbie – “The Tiger Woods Phenomenon. Essays on the Cultural Impact of Golf’s Fallible Superman.” – McFarland and Company Inc. Publishers, North Carolina, 2012

Matthew Paul Neapolitan – “Athletes vs. the Media. Right to Privacy v. the Public Right to Know.” University of Tennessee (Knoxville), 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenges with graphic photojournalism

Without a doubt, pictures are worth 1,000 words, playing a vital part in communicating messages and changing history. But with influences from new media and backlash from consumers on publishing graphic content, present-day photojournalism is beginning to face increasingly more challenges than ever before. David Rohde’s ‘Pictures That Change History: Why the World Needs Photojournalists’, Shanifa Nasser’s ‘Puppies, selfies, corpses: How graphic images on social media can change your brain’, Julia Angwin and Matthew Rose’s ‘When News Is Gruesome, What’s Too Graphic’ and Fred Ritchin’s ‘Why Violent News Images Matter’ are a few views journalism or opinion articles with different perspectives on the positive or negative impacts photojournalism has on society. Together, they constitute a shared understanding of photojournalism in the 21st century, particularly in relation to graphic images portrayed in the media.

Historically, the art of photography has served as a crucial means of capturing places and events for future generations (Duncan 2015) and documenting what is presented in the facts. Yet, there continues to be a debate surrounding the exposure of such graphic images. The National Press Photographers Association’s (NPPA) Code of Ethics lays out in crystalised detail about the acceptable terms of professional photojournalism. It reads, in part:

“Photographic and video images can reveal great truths, expose wrongdoing and neglect, inspire hope and understanding and connect people around the globe through the language of visual understanding. Photographs can also cause great harm if they are callously intrusive or are manipulated.”

The big question is the extent to which media outlets should go or restrain from showing human tragedy. Nasser, a news reporter for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, claims that exposure to uncensored graphic images can change the brain, as explicitly stated in the title “Puppies, selfies, corpses: How graphic images on social media can change your brain”. With hundreds of thousands of atrocities taking place and photographs of them circulating on traditional and new media, constant flow and explicit exposure to these atrocities builds up unnecessary insecurity, tension and trauma. Nasser justifies this causal argument with an appeal to authority, quoting a Toronto psychologist, Dr. Oren Amitay, who calls it second hand trauma:

“‘With enough viewing, we are now coming to understand that somebody could be traumatized second-hand… If you’re always seeing it then you have the sense that this is the norm, then you have the sense that the world is far more dangerous than it is.’”

An unwarranted induction or hasty/over-generalisation lies in this justification however. It’s almost as if the justification is suggesting that when you are always seeing these graphic images, you will automatically be traumatized second-hand. With traditional and new mediums circulating violent photographs everyday from the television screen to the home screen on Facebook, the global population would be entirely traumatised based on this suggestion when in fact not every person exposed to these graphic images constantly is mentally affected by it.                     

To further support Nasser’s claim, Ritchin, a professor at New York University and co-director of the Photography & Human Rights program at the Tisch School of the Arts, wrote an opinion piece in 2014 for TIME Magainze taking a different approach to arguing and justifying the claim. The central claim is found in the second to last paragraph of the article:

“… they [graphic photographs] provide reference points for both the present and the longer view of history”

Yet, he spends a large portion of his article presenting counterarguments, offering justifications as to the immorality of violent images.

Ritchin offers four primary evaluative arguments explaining reasons why editors hold back graphic photographs from the audience. First, he argues that publications from mainstream outlets purposely withholds graphic imagery in “fear of offending, or even from a feat that readers will abandon the publication altogether.” He adds two quotes, one from a photographer Christoph Bangert who asks: “How can we refuse to acknowledge a mere representation— a picture— of a horrific event, while other people are forced to live through the horrific event itself?” and another from a photographer of an excruciating photo that went unpublished in American Photo magazine in 1991 who questioned: “If we’re big enough to fight a war, we should be big enough to look at it.” These two quotes from industry professions aim to argue against the first counterargument in support of Ritchin’s original claim.

The second argument coincides with Nasser’s warning of second-hand trauma. Ritchin believes editors are ethically taking into consideration of the children’s wellbeing before publishing “egregious imagery”. Then, Ritchin takes it further with his third argument by arguing that industry professions are at risk of being affected by constant exposure to these graphic images as well. He uses a study by Anthony Feinstein, MD, of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto as a justification appealing to authority that “‘… frequent, repetitive viewing of violent news-related video and other media raises news professionals’ vulnerability to a range of psychological injuries, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.’” For documentary photographer and member of the VII Photo agency, Ed Kashi, it’s much more than that. In his article ‘The Unspoken Consequences of a Photojournalists Life’ published on his website but later in TIME Magazine, he discusses the aftermath of his 30 years as a photojournalist, spending his lifetime trying to fade into the background to achieve “candid intimacy” is his photographs. He describes:

“Losing myself in other people’s lives, whether in their dramas of joy, pain, or transition, has turned into not being able to find myself in my own life.”

There is an appeal to emotion as Kashi describes one the worst consequences is “… a deep sense of loneliness and abject certainty.” He doesn’t believe the profession is all bad because of the rare privilege to gain expansive knowledge of the world, cultures, the processes of technology and business as well as the small yet magical moments of daily life.” Yet it is very easy to lose yourself if you are fully consumed in your practice.

Finally, the last argument lies on the other side of the spectrum in which Ritchie says:

“… a fear by others that readers are seeing too many such images and, as a result, are losing their ability to empathise and evaluate what is going on in the avalanche of violence and destruction depicted.”

One of the most, if not the most, famous and influential graphic photograph shows 9-year-old girl Kim Phuc running down the road completely stripped of her burning clothes after South Vietnamese forces bombed her village with napalm (Media Watch 2016). Taken in 1972 by photographer Nick Ut for the Associated Press during the Vietnam War, this photograph splashed over front pages of magazine covers despite full front nudity and was the turning point in the War. This historical photograph proves the importance of publishing violent images. Ironically, it also justifies the argument above because without the ability to empathise with victims and evaluate the situation at hand, the US would not have received worldwide pressure and agree on a ceasefire.

For that reason, Ritchin provides a few recommendations when dealing with violent photographs for the media. Using photographs of families crying over graveyards as opposed to faces of fallen civilians covered in blood can address the subject matter without impacting the mentality of audiences (Angwin and Rose 2004). Another alternative is shifting the subject matter focus less on war but more on “…‘photography of peace’ … the beauties of ceasefires, and of healing, and of some of the horrors that were prevented from happening.” More happiness needs to be seen around the world rather than agony.
Despite the arguments in favour of limiting graphic imagery, it’s important to question why photojournalists and mainstream media outlets do publish violent images. To start with, Ritchin argues there is an obligation for photojournalists to be the messengers for the rest of the world, to turn the world’s attention to sights unknown. He says:

“The trauma of witnessing such devastation, and the powerlessness that may accompany it, can be more difficult to resolve if one is prevented from sharing what one has seen with others—the reason the photographer was there in the first place.”

Similar reasons explain why editors do not restrain from releasing violent photographs. Journalism is the fourth estate of society, which makes depictions of accurate truths and honest representations critical in bringing exposure to the intensity of the matter. Former News Corp editor Piers Akerman points out the need to set aside traditional media guidelines at times because there are just some photographs audiences have to witness (Media Watch 2016).

Social media has been changing the rules of acceptable pictures to be exposed online and still continues to till today. With less caution on the Internet, there is a ‘moral vacuum as the feeds go online’ and has ‘diluted somewhat the agenda-setting power o the mainstream media, according to Jonathan Zittrain, an assistant professor at Harvard Law School (Angwin and Rose, 2004). The article by Angwin and Rose, staff reporters of The Wall Street Journal, discusses the conflicting nature between broadcasting gruesome images across different media outlets. While mainstream media is capable of controlling what photographs go in and out of their filters, there is no control over what happens to these images when uploaded on the Internet. Despite this, Angwin and Rose take on a rather positive outlook towards social media’s influence on photojournalism. First, Web sites segregate information more effectively than traditional media such as newspapers or TV channels who see themselves as arbiters of taste. Second, social media’s algorithmic calculations such as hyperlinks allow audiences to see the photograph at their own discretion. On the Yahoo news Web site, photos are placed in a way that users need to actively search for the photographs with the most graphic content and each graphic footage and photos are marked with a warning when distributed. Lastly, social media’s proliferation of information sources attracts executives at traditional media companies to approach the sites. Social media’s immediacy with photos uploaded real-time allows a news story to be visually told without delay in present time.

In an era when anyone with a smartphone can upload a photo, how then is it possible to recognise the images that matter and legitimize what we see when more professional photojournalists are fired from prestigious editorial sources such as U.S. News, Newsweek, and Reuters? Rohde, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, the national-security investigations editor at Reuters and a former reporter for The New York Times, uses factual evidence from a report by Pew Research Centre stating more news photographers, artists and videographers have been laid off than any other type of journalist in 2012, decreasing in numbers by 43 percent. In his opinion, he has a pessimistic view towards the switch from mainstream media to new media. He argues:

“… technological change has irreversibly changed photojournalism. Professional photographers, they insist, will inevitably join the ranks of toll collectors, telephone switchboard operators, and other jobs rendered obsolete.”

This statement is an informal fallacy, a slippery slope/domino theory, because his article primarily focuses on the negative consequences, the corrupt nature of social media. Despite his pessimistic outlook of what the future holds for photographers, he remains certain that the work of photojournalists will dominate, for the vast majority of iconic photographs capturing historical moments are taken by professional photographers.

As for the photographs themselves, the plus side when photographs are uploaded online is an increasingly greater appreciation for photography, attracting new audiences over time. While graphic images might be difficult to “appreciate”, social media amplifies reach and recognition of such images to raise awareness to the issue depicted. Having said that, it is still uncertain whether these photographs are able to stand out for two reasons: one is the change in function of the nature of photographs in a general sense, from emphasising more on ourselves than others as the subject of the photograph and two is the torrent of images that makes it difficult for photographs to stick out longer than 24 hours (Rohde 2013).

The common theme found in the articles mentioned above is the inclusion of images that are all strikingly graphic. Surprisingly, even though Angwin and Rose (2004) claim that “technology permits us to say ‘Dear reader, you may not want to looks at this’”, only one of the four articles mentioned “WARNING: This story contains a graphic photograph” and it was the Website for a traditional medium, the CBC. Unlike Rohde, Nasser and Ritchin’s articles, the CBC article kept its images low-key with images not horrifically graphic but representative of horrific events. All of the photographs in the article are not staged, adding an element of candidness that makes viewers feel as if they are witnessing the scene. This happens to be the case for most of the graphic photographs in the other three articles— all candid and representational of the conflicts at the time but with less caution in showing graphic elements such as blood, dead bodies and people being hurt. The reason behind this is that the writers want to prove their point that violent photographs have impact on readers, whether it is in a good way or a bad way is for the reader to decide.

In conclusion, it is evident that photojournalism has a lasting impact in society, yet less and less companies are taking it seriously as more and more amateur photos circulating around the Internet receive more recognition. There continues to be a debate over the degree of violence allowed in photographs in different media outlets but for now, it is fair to say that whether audiences willingly see it or not, these graphic images will play a part in changing society.

Donald Trump: The joke that went too far – from harmless narcissist to serious threat.

 

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States, in June of 2015, the media has seemingly imploded. Donald Trump’s media presence has been overwhelming, reportedly receiving close to $2 billion worth of free press coverage (Confessore & Yourish 2016). Donald Trump is known for being the real estate tycoon, responsible for such feats as the Trump Towers and for being the star of popular reality television show, The Apprentice. Trump has been in the limelight since he became a prominent figure in elite social circles of New York in the 1980’s (Friedersdorf 2016). There is clearly a close relationship between Donald Trump and the media which stretches back to long before his campaign for presidency.

For this analysis the portrayal of Donald Trump in the media is examined from his candidacy announcement in 2015 to his 2016 campaign for presidency. This analysis will focus on how prominent media outlets, such as The New York Times and USA TODAY, have chosen to portray Donald Trump and how, over the life of his campaign, a distinct shift in characterisation and tone can be noted.

My research shows that, initially, Trump was framed by the media as a joke, a comical figure and a narcissist. However, following his campaigns success, the media seemingly shifted tact and unconventionally turned to denouncing him, characterising him as a serious threat. It was the first time prominent and highly respected media outlets had so vigorously and openly condemned a candidate.

It is the purpose of this analysis to outline the apparent shift in characterisation and tone and to ultimately examine the reasoning behind this and attempt to understand the media’s motivation in their portrayal of Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

All articles examined are opinion/views journalism, with two articles taken from both The New York Times and USA TODAY in order to better ascertain and highlight the shift in characterisation and tone from 2015 to 2016. The papers were chosen for a number of reasons, following my research on the topic I found the two papers were indicative of a trend across a number of media outlets in their portrayal of Donald Trump. Due to their prominence, respectability and circulation, the papers are often referred to as sources for other media outlets, with both being counted in the top three widest circulated newspapers in the US by the most recent Audit Bureau of circulation. (MediaMiser 2016)

 

Image taken from article
Image taken from (Mann 2015) USA TODAY article

In June 2015, Windsor Mann wrote an opinion piece for USA TODAY, ‘Donald Trump’s rambling presidential pomp.’ The headline itself characterises Trump in a negative light, as ‘rambling’ suggests incoherency and serves to undermine Trumps intelligence, whilst ‘pomp’ highlights his narcissistic tendencies of vanity and ostentatiousness.

Mann (2015) remarks that, “Trump made the announcement at Trump Tower in New York City, presumably in an effort to elicit headlines like, ‘Trump towers at Trump Tower’.” Mann’s statement serves to highlight the narcissistic tendencies of Trump and highlights the sarcastic and facetious tone of the author. This tone is echoed when referencing Ivanka Trump’s comment, ‘that her father is the opposite of politically correct’ by suggesting, “Many would say the same thing, only without the politically part” (Mann 2015). Mann makes no effort to hide his opinion or to back it up with factual or evidentiary support which suggests the expectation of an agreeing audience and an established characterisation of Trump which will go unchallenged. “Speaking of military matters, Trump was right about a couple of them. He said that Humvees are ‘big vehicles’ (a quick Google images search confirms this). ‘We have wounded soldiers’, Trump (correctly) informed the audience” (Mann 2015). This exert clearly serves to attack Trump’s credibility and undermine his intelligence, outlining the authors view of Trump as a comical figure. The author’s choice of parentheses again highlights use of sarcasm, a seeming attempt to speak directly to readers, suggesting an expectation that the audience will share his view of Trump.

There are many examples of the author’s characterisation of Trump as narcissistic and self-obsessed, maintaining the mocking tone present throughout the article. “On the most pressing issue- golf courses- Trump has ‘the best courses in the world’. Of course he does. Anything and everything bearing his name is the best…..Presumably if the Unites States were to be renamed Trump Territory, Trump would call it the best, finest and most spectacular country in the world” (Mann 2015). The author is explicit in his characterisation and the piece is highly evaluative and opinion based, making use of emotive language and a mocking tone to further frame Trump in a decidedly negative light.

Similarly, an opinion piece taken from The New York Times in September 2015 by Joe Nocera ‘Is Donald Trump Serious?’, Trump is clearly and deliberately characterised as a comical figure, a joke not be taken seriously. Nocera presents an evaluative piece with a strongly negative stance on Donald Trump. Nocera opens with the line, “As part of his ongoing effort to make a mockery of the American political process, Donald Trump released his tax plan on Monday morning” (Nocera 2015). This sets the tone for the article where the author repeatedly makes sarcastic quips regarding Donald Trump and his presidential campaign.

The author explicitly characterises Trump as a figure not to be taken seriously in the statement, “like almost everything else about the Trump campaign, his tax plan is hard to take seriously,” (Nocera 2015) and ultimately suggests that Trump’s campaign, rather than a serious political campaign, is likely a publicity stunt, an attempt to further promote the Trump brand.

Like the previous article taken from USA TODAY, the validity of Trump’s candidacy is belittled and Trump is ultimately framed as a joke, someone to laugh at and promptly dismiss. “I wonder whether even now Trump is a serious candidate, or whether this is all a giant publicity ploy” (Nocera 2015). Nocera claims, “I’m not alone in wondering this, of course,” and supports this statement with an appeal to authority by referencing Republican strategist, Rick Wilson.  Wilson states, “You would see him spending a lot more money if he were putting together a true national infrastructure” (Nocera 2015). This marks the only point in the article where the author seeks to convince the reader of his view, otherwise his stance on Trump is expected to be shared by the reader and is unsupported by factual or evidentiary references.

The article is largely an attempt by the author to discredit Trump as a real candidate, and to ultimately characterise him as a joke, a narcissist obsessed with publicity, someone not to be taken seriously by the public. “All his life, Trump has had a deep need to be perceived as a ‘winner’. He always has to be perceived coming out on top. The more famous he becomes, the more he can charge to slap his name on buildings or perfume or men’s suits” (Nocera 2015). These comments are highly evaluative with emotive language being used to frame Trump in a negative light. This again suggests the authors fundamental belief that his opinion is widely shared and unlikely to be challenged by readers. The author refers to a ’60 Minutes’ interview with Scott Pelley, where he describes Pelley as, “struggling to keep a straight face” (Nocera 2015). The author uses exclamation marks to convey the perceived ridiculousness of Trumps political ideas. “Trump told Pelley that he would force the Chinese to ‘do something’ about North Korea’s nuclear program-while also preventing them from devaluing their currency!”, “that he would get rid of Obamacare-while instituting universal coverage!” (Nocera 2015).

The author makes an evaluation at the end of the article that Trumps political stint will come to a quick end, due to his inherent narcissism, “I don’t think he’ll ever put himself at the mercy of actual voters in a primary. To do so is to risk losing. And everyone will know it. He’ll be out before Iowa. You read it here first” (Nocera 2015). This is purely the evaluative opinion of the author, which again serves to undermine the credibility of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate and characterise him as a joke, not to be taken seriously or worry too much about.

What is interesting to note is that both of the articles taken from 2015, characterise Trump in a startlingly similar way and this is reflected across the media at the time. The articles’ focus on the narcissism of Trump, highlighting an obsession with publicity and branding, and both take a distinctly mocking and sarcastic tone. The articles’ characterise Trump as someone to laugh at and mock for his ridiculousness. Neither authors’ expect their readers to disagree with their characterisation, suggesting this characterisation is a given and agreed upon by the majority of people. Trump is conveyed by both in an entirely negative light with no mention of alternative views, showing a clear belief of an unchallenging audience. In the articles the predominant view expressed portrays Trump as a joke, a narcissist who is too ridiculous to present a threat.

However, after examining articles taken from 2016 there is a noticeable shift in tone and characterisation. The articles’ focus less on Trump as the narcissistic, comical figure and more on Trump as a very real threat and danger to democracy, highlighting him as a racist, a misogynist and strongly discouraging readers from voting for him. This interestingly shows a different expectation of readers, one where they are challenging and need convincing, cementing the view that Trump is no longer a joke but a dangerously viable candidate. Trump is characterised in a more serious tone as a misogynist and a racist, and the articles chosen are taken from the editorial board, showing the shift from lighthearted mocking, to a strong appeal to authority, as senior members of the two prominent papers defy standard news protocol to publicly condemn Trump as a presidential candidate.

In the case of USA TODAY, the article itself is focused around the phenomenon of the paper’s editorial board taking sides in the election and publicly condemning Donald Trump as a candidate for the presidency. The September 2016 article is itself titled, ‘USA TODAY’S editorial board: Trump is ‘unfit for Presidency’. The article is accompanied by a short clip with members from the board, the editorial page editor, Bill Sternberg, and the operations editor, Thuan Elston, explaining why, for the first time since the paper’s origination 34 years ago, the board has disregarded its objective stance and decided to discourage Americans from voting for Donald Trump. The article cites that, ‘normally there are two capable candidates, whereas in this election Donald Trump does not represent a capable candidate, ‘fit’ for presidency’.

 

See link: http://usat.ly/2dqGvvN

 

This clip is captioned with “We haven’t made a recommendation in 34 years. For this election, we made an exception”. The article itself has a byline that reads, “The editorial board has never taken sides in the presidential race. We’re doing it now” (USA TODAY 2016). This repetition seemingly seeks to simultaneously convey the gravity of the situation, suggesting that Trump is such a false candidate that it has prompted the paper to act in an unprecedented way, and to justify the papers actions of disregarding an objective stance on the election. This justification can be seen in the following lines. “We’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now” (USA TODAY 2016).

The following paragraph again seeks to justify the actions of the paper, suggesting that if they were presented with a capable candidate they would not be subjective, however, Donald Trump is not a capable candidate. Unlike the 2015 article the tone is somber and serious, the article clearly doesn’t expect the audience to be in agreement or unchallenging, due to the lengths with which they’ve taken to justify their stance. The article is then structured into subheadings of reasons why Trump is an unfit candidate, entitled; ‘He is erratic, he is ill-equipped to be commander in chief, he traffics prejudice, his business career is checkered, he isn’t leveling with the American people, he speaks recklessly, he has coarsened the national dialogue and finally, he’s a serial liar’. There is no humour, sarcasm or traces of facetiousness in terms of the tone of the article, the article is very much a concerted attempt to frame Trump, not as a joke, but as a very real threat that has prompted serious action.

The article is undeniably explicit in its central claim and states this throughout the article, “Now is the time to spell out, in one place, the reasons Trump should not be president” (USA TODAY 2016). The article makes multiple appeals to authority to back its various arguments against Trump, citing the opinion of Robert Gates, “the highly respected former defence secretary who served presidents of both parties over a half-century,” who described Trump as, “beyond repair” (USA TODAY 2016). The article references a 1973 Justice department suit against Trump and his father for discrimination against African Americans in housing rentals and a series of USA TODAY network articles which, “found that Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits over the past three decades” (USA TODAY 2016). Unlike the previous USA TODAY article analysed, this article attempts to draw a factual and evidentiary basis for its opinion. Unlike the previous article, reference to alternative views are made. “We are not unmindful of the issues that Trump’s campaign has exploited: the disappearance of working class jobs; excessive political correctness; the direction of the Supreme Court…. All are legitimate sources of concern” (USA TODAY 2016). This again shows a change in the assumption of audience, referencing the ‘legitimate sources of concern’, that Trump has ‘exploited’ shows, albeit still using language to frame Trump as negative, a need to convince a questioning audience and to discourage fence sitters from voting for Trump.

This is further conveyed in the final recommendation of the article. “Our bottom-line advice for voters is this: Stay true to your convictions. That might mean a vote for Clinton. Or it might mean a third-party candidate. Or a write in ………Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.” (USA TODAY 2016)

Similarly, The New York Times also produced an opinion article in September 2016 from the editorial board entitled, ‘Why Donald Trump should not be president’.

It is interesting to note an apparent trend in prominent news outlets such as The New York Times, USA TODAY and other papers such as the Washington Post to unanimously denounce Trump within the same time period. The Washington Post wrote a piece in July 2016 from the editorial board entitled, ‘Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy.’

The New York Times article is structured in a similar way to that of the USA TODAY article, with subheadings, this time in the form of questions, regarding Trump’s appeal, such as ‘A straight talker who tells it like it is?’ and ‘A change agent for the nation and the world?’. The article proceeds to systematically debunk these ‘selling points’ cleverly addressing alternative views whilst systematically arguing against them. This again shows a shift in the assumption of an agreeing audience, to one that needs convincing, and a clear change in tone from mocking to serious.

The article similarly makes its central claim abundantly clear not only in the headline but again in the byline, ‘Donald Trump is a man who dwells in bigotry, bluster and false promises.’

Another point for comparison can be seen in the images the authors’ have chosen to accompany the article. In the previous article taken from the New York Times, the image included is in colour and conveys an almost comical expression on Trump’s face. The image accompanying the latter article is in black and white and Trump wears a stern and serious expression. This shows a visual and literal shift in the tone of the articles.

Image taken from article
Image taken from USA Editorial Board 2016 article

While in the former article Donald Trump was referred to as Trump, in the latter article he is referred to as Mr. Trump, again suggesting a shift in the stance of the authors. Trump is no longer a joke, Mr. Trump represents a serious threat. In the article there is a repetition of key words, ‘dangerous’ and ‘fear,’ showing a clear characterisation of Trump as a threat. The article makes use of the same examples as that of the USA TODAY’S editorial board, such as Trumps failure to release his tax returns, and both make reference to a list from NBC detailing Trumps shifting stance on key issues. However, it is worthy of note that USA TODAY reports the list as outlining 124 shifts on 20 major issues whilst The New York Times reports it as 117 shifts on 20 major issues. Whatever the number both articles are undeniably similar in their approach to condemning Trump.

The article is evaluative in its highly emotive language such as, “Mr. Trumps views were matters of dangerous impulse and cynical pandering rather than thoughtful politics,” (The New York Times 2016) but unlike the previous article from the New York Times, it does make reference to factual and evidentiary support to justify the authors’ opinions. Like USA TODAY’s editorial piece, the article is strong in its recommendations, with repeated reference to what voters should do, “voters should be asking themselves if Mr. Trump will deliver the kind of change they want…..Voters should also consider Mr. Trump’s silence about areas of national life that are crying out for constructive change” (The New York Times 2016). Both these recommendations are followed by a series of hypothetical questions in response, such as, “How would he change our schools for the better?” The final paragraph stresses a strong recommendation to readers, “voters attracted by the force of the Trump personality should pause and take note of the precise qualities he exudes as an audaciously different politician: bluster, savage mockery of those who challenge him, mendacity……Our presidents are role models for generations of our children. Is this the example we want for them?” (The New York Times 2016) This highlights the drastic shift in tone, characterisation and expectations of audience. Here the authors are strongly appealing to their readers, not to vote for Trump, suggesting the assumption that they need to convince their readers.

Concluding, my research suggests that the media’s initial response to Donald Trump, in the early stages of his campaign, was to characterise him as a joke and maintain mocking and sarcastic tones when describing him. Following his campaign successes, the media shifted to a more serious tone, moving away from characterising him as a joke, to a demagogue, a serious threat and a danger to democracy.

Furthering this analysis, in an attempt to understand the media’s actions, a study from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, which assessed the coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign by mainstream media outlets, including The New York Times and USA TODAY, has been examined. The study found that the media have covered Donald Trump in, “a way that was unusual given his initial polling numbers.” (Patterson 2016) Suggesting Trump received an inordinate amount of coverage even before his polling numbers justified it. This could be due to the outrageous, flamboyant and highly entertaining nature of Trump and the inherently capitalist nature of the current media, where ratings are prioritised. Now that Trump is edging closer and closer to being President of the United States, the media have perhaps realised their role in his rise and are desperately attempting to amend the situation, ignoring common precedent by publicly denouncing his candidacy for presidency and strongly urging readers not to vote for him in the coming election.

 

 

Reference List

Representations of Donald Trump in the Media

The 2016 US election has been a core topic throughout media outlets for the majority of the year. Presidential candidate Donald Trump is continuously making headlines for his unique, straight forward campaign technique and disrespect for women. Ben Jacobs’s “’You can do anything:’ Trump brags on tape using fame to get women”, a news journalism article and Charles M. Blow’s “Donald Trump, the worst of America”, a views journalism piece, were both produced in the coming weeks of the election. Although different in their journalistic style, both articles characterise Trump in a negative light, positioning readers to adopt the same view.

 

Described as being a “sex offender” and a man of a “disordered personality”, a tape caught on a live microphone was released to the media of a conversation between Trump and a television host in 2005, where he explicitly describes various sexual encounters with women. Trump describes how “when you’re a star they let you do it”, going on to state that he “did try fuck her, she was married.” This is just one instance where Trump has been highly criticized for his disrespect of women.

 

The majority of media published after the release of the tape was highly negative, as authors expressed their disgust. However, it is not only this scandal which has attracted negative media attention towards trump, his public verbal attacks at various women have also sparked anger within many. Trump’s words of Hilary Clinton, “When she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed,” is just one example which has left many questioning whether he is fit to be the President of the United States.

 

When analysing both Jacobs’s and Blow’s articles it is evident that both authors have evaluated the actions of Trump negatively, based on the moral standards of how one should conduct themselves if they are employed in a highly regarded position within the world. Although Jacobs’s article is a news journalism piece, his choice of quotation and supportive videos are an indication of his negative view towards Trump. Alternatively, Blow’s piece is a highly subjective views journalism article, which also shares the same negative view as Jacobs, however, uses different linguistic techniques to achieve his argument. Thus, it is evident that the values of both authors are mutual, where Trumps morals and transparent campaign techniques are regarded as abnormal and unfit for presidency.

 

Jacobs article, “’You can do anything:’ Trump brags on tape using fame to get women” communicates a negative characterisation of Trump through the use of facts, which are used as evidence to back up his argument. Evident from the title, this news journalism article conveys a negative reaction to the released footage of Trump “bragging” about his sexual encounters with women and how his fame allows him to do this. As this news journalism piece operates objectively, Jacobs uses facts ad quotations to position his audience.

 

Jacobs’s vilification of trump after the release of the tape can be seen in the first line of the article. “Donald Trump was hit by an outraged backlash from allies and opponents alike after a tape emerged of the Republican candidate bragging about using his fame to try and “fuck” women and groping them without waiting for their consent.” The use of quotation marks around the word “fuck” illustrates Trump’s poor use of language. Jacobs highlights Trumps failure to word phrases appropriately, therefore belittling any women who was involved in this affair. Jacobs further illustrates the vulgarity of this incident through the phrase “groping without consent”, where he highlights the seriousness of this offence. This works as a strong opening statement, where Jacobs’s choice of words is used as a tool to negatively portray Trump to his audience.

 

Jacobs is selective when including quotations of the tape. Although it is necessary for a news style report to be completely objective, Jacobs use of these snippets “When you’re a star they let you do it,” “I did try and fuck her, she was married,” and “grab them by the pussy”, which implicitly act as “attitudinal triggers”. These phrases quoted by Trump are not entirely evaluative, however, it is the shared moral standards by society which allow readers to understand that the act of grabbing a woman “by the pussy” and trying to “fuck” her while she is married conveys barbaric and animalistic behavior. Therefore, Jacobs negatively characterizes Trump through the reference of evidence.

 

In addition to this, Jacobs positions readers to perceive Trump negatively when he suggests that Trump “dismissed” the tape recording and labeled it as “locker room banter.” However, the main tool which Jacobs incorporates into his article to construct a negative representation of Trump is his inclusion of quotes by various authoritative government personnel condemning Trumps behavior. He asserts a seriousness towards the objectification of women, identifying how the House speaker Paul Ryan canceled Trumps attendance to a republican event. The inclusion of Ryan’s’ statement solidifies Jacobs negative characterisation of Trump, expressing through emotive language that he is “sickened” by what he heard. Ryan then goes on to state that “women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for woman than this clip suggests.” It is through this quote that Jacobs communicates a worldview that the objectification of women will not be tolerated by anyone, despite their status in society. Thus, through implementing these quotations into his argument, Jacobs is likely to sway readers, especially females to collectively accept that Trump does not treat women with adequate respect, creating negative characterisation.

 

When analyzing this news journalism piece, it is evident that Jacobs is unsure of the positioning of his readers and therefore implements facts into his argument to further persuade them negatively towards Trump. Jacobs only slightly touches on any counter argument, including quotes from Trump’s twitter account defending himself. In doing this, he does not give his readers much opportunity to think positively about Trump, positioning them to adapt the same negative viewpoint as himself.

 

Throughout the majority of the article, Jacob references various members of parliament who condemn the actions of Trump, implying that he should “step aside”, and reinforcing that “no woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.” Jacobs also includes quotes by recognized senators and leaders which include emotive language. Trump’s actions are criticized as being “vulgar”, “egregious”, “repugnant”, “offensive” and “despicable”. In doing this, Jacobs attitudinal positioning is created via facts, which may include the use of evaluative terms. Thus, it is evident that the negative characterisation of Trump is not treated as a “given”, however, needs to be argued for. Alongside these negative and evaluative terms, Jacobs includes a fact which further implicates Trump’s position. He describes how a “number of Trump campaign members have problematic histories with women,” whereby members were asked to step down from the network as they faced sexual harassment allegations and domestic violence charges. Jacobs uses this statistic and cites authoritative sources to further position readers to take a negative stance on Trump, an example of how facts are used as arguments to persuade the reader without explicitly stating a direct opinion.

 

Throughout the article there are two links to watch the video and tape recording where Trump is caught saying these claims. Both videos include the use of subtitles which allow readers to not only hear the dialogue for themselves, but follow along. (Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koTrmin5n0g)  The use of these links allows a person to evaluate the tape for themselves and also becomes more personal to readers than reading a quote in an article. Thus, by using a video source to support the content within the article, the audience is given an opportunity to visually interpret the topic at hand and are more likely to pass the same judgement as the author if the video is seen as a reliable source, through an appeal to emotion. When analyzing this article, it is evident that there is also a link to another Trump related story with the headline, “Jill Harth speaks out about alleged grouping by Donald Trump,” which is used as a tool to further validate Jacobs’s point of view.

 

The underlying assumption embedded within this article, reinforces that any behavior that is derogatory to women is not acceptable, regardless of one’s place in society. This is reinforced in the last line of the article, “The Illinois senator Mark Kirk, who has vowed not to support Trump, went further, saying on Twitter that Trump “should drop out” and the Republican party “should engage rules for emergency replacement,” and Jacobs’s use of selected quotes which position the audience against trump, creating a negative characterisation.

 

Similarly, Blow’s article “Donald Trump, the worst of America” presents a negative representation of Trump; however, the author is more derogatory, as it is an opinion piece. As indicated by the title of the piece, Blow’s article is also constructed against Trump, making evaluative negative judgements of him, labelling him a “lunatic”. Blow does not only focus on the released tape of Trump. However, Blow touches on other instances where he has mistreated and disrespected women, together with examples of his fiery campaign techniques which in his opinion makes Trump “the worst of America.”

 

Although both Jacobs and Blow exhibited a negative characterisation of Trump, Blow adopts a more explicit and evaluative way of communicating this. This is seen where Bolt implies that Trump knows the end is near, and therefore aims his anger at “all within reach.” He goes on to say “as his path to victory grows narrower, his desperation grows more pronounced.” This phrase, accompanied with the main image associated with the article paints a negative picture of Trump.

Image 1:

picture1

 

This image illustrates an intimate, close up of Trump. Dressed in a business suit, this candid shot of Trump is very serious. He is engaging eye contact with the camera; however, is extremely passive, looking or thinking. Trump’s facial expression is not happy, but alternatively does portray a sense of desperation, uncertainty and vulnerability, which Blow implies within the opening paragraphs of the article. Thus, when an audience looks at this photo they are not welcomed or encouraged to to create a positive relationship with Trump, making it easy for Blow to position them negatively towards Trump.

 

In conjunction with Jacobs, Blow also touches on Trump’s sexual assault allegations, highlighting his poor response to the allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Blow asserts that Trump’s response has “been marked by a stunning lack of grace and dignity, let alone contrition or empathy, a response much like the man himself.” To accompany this, Blow lists many examples whereby Trump has belittled or disrespected women. This is seen in his response retaliating to a woman from People magazine who accused him of forcibly kissing her; “Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.” In including demeaning quotes by Trump himself, Blow is negatively characterising him, and further positioning the reader to go against Trump. Further stating his opinion of Trump’s response to the charges, Blow uses evaluative language, such as “callow”, “mocked”, “whined”, “Chided”, “bemoaned” and “belittled” to show Trump’s “emotional ineptitude”, reinforcing his negative opinion of Trump. Through this use of evaluative language, Blow positions the reader to accept his worldview that Trump is a “lunatic”, who is not fit for presidency, a view explicitly stated in the headline.

 

Blow makes an appeal to comparison, comparing Trump to a pig, an act that “seems to be most natural to him.” Together with this, Blow uses a sarcastic tone to almost “make fun” of any counter arguments set out by Trump. This is evident when he describes how everything is “rigged against him”, and urges Clinton to “take a drug test before the next debate.” It is through his use of emotive terms and sarcastic tone that Blow makes an assumption that his audience does share the same view as him, and therefore he does not employ the use of facts often within his piece. Blow uses this notion to further emphasise his negative characterisation of Trump, labelling him a “logical extension of toxic masculinity and ambient misogyny,” a view which is also shared by Jacobs.

 

Finally, Blow’s last attempt at positioning his audience to embrace a negative view of Trump can be seen in the last paragraphs of the article where he states that Trump is “corrupting” American politics. The article ends with the line; “Republicans sowed intolerance and in its shadow, Trump sprang up like toxic fungi,” which labels Trump as toxic, an extreme use of emotive language which encourages his audience to think the same. Thus, Blow creates a negative characterisation of Trump through the use of explicit emotive language. In doing this, it is evident that he assumes his audience does hold the same world view and negative view of Trump as he does not employ an overwhelming use of facts to put forward his argument.

 

These articles provide a sample of texts which construct negative characterisations of Donald Trump. The difference in linguistic technique demonstrates that each authors assumed reader varies. However, both Jacobs’s and Bolt’s articles share the same ideology of Trump. An analysis of these very different articles shows the high standards of morals which are embedded into society, shunning anyone who does not act appropriately or respectfully. Thus, as a result of Trump’s actions, each article positions their audience to negatively evaluate their findings.

 

References: 

Article 1:

“’You can do anything:’ Trump brags on tape using fame to get women” By Ben Jacobs, published on The Guardian, 8/10/2016

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/07/donald-trump-leaked-recording-women

Article 2:

“Donald Trump, the Worst of America” By Charles M. Blow, published on the New York Times, 17/10/16

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/07/donald-trump-leaked-recording-women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Violence: Victims or Liars?

By Christina Ramsay

Did the media explicitly or implicitly encourage scepticism for Amber Heard, following her accusation of domestic violence against Johnny Depp?

amber-heard-bruise-133f53b4-7412-4640-a36e-e3f3da5e429d

In May 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce against well known “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor Johnny Depp. A few days later, Heard alleged that she had suffered repeated physical and verbal abuse from Depp throughout the course of their relationship.

In Australia, one in six women and one in 20 men have experienced at least one incidence of violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15 (ABC Fact Check 2016). Given these statistics, you would hope Heard’s allegations would be taken seriously. You would hope Heard would be flooded by messages of support from women around the world. You would expect that the media would also show their support for Heard.

However, this was not the case. Instead many labelled Heard as a lying gold digger, seeking to increase her fame and fortune by public shaming beloved actor Johnny Depp. In an article for Mamamia in early June, Katy Hall succinctly summarised the disheartening message sent to Heard by thousands of people across the world: “Your word isn’t true, your proof isn’t enough, we’d rather not know about it, we don’t believe you.”

In this article, I wish to reveal the significance of the media in informing public opinion on this issue, and on the topic of domestic violence more broadly. To assess this impact, I will examine articles from around the world published in the months following the announcement of Depp and Heard’s divorce.

The first article was published in early August by WHO Australia, entitled, “Johnny Depp “Stressed About Amber Heard Divorce”. Interestingly, the title of this article focuses on Depp rather than Heard. In hundreds of articles, Heard is often portrayed as the active agent, almost invariably framing her in a negative light.

For example:

“Amber Heard Resumes Public Battle with Johnny Depp Over Divorce Settlement” (Vanity Fair – August 2016)

“Amber Heard denies she’s blackmailing Johnny Depp” (CNN – May 2016)

“Amber Heard wants a bigger divorce payout from Johnny Depp – as she’s donating it to charity” (OK! – August 2016)

In the WHO article, there is a notable imbalance between quoted material that supports Depp and quotes that favour Heard. An “insider” is quoted repeatedly throughout the article, saying Depp is “stressed about all the Amber drama” and “spending time with his kids is his focus.”

These quotes are an appeal to emotion, creating sympathy for Depp and portraying him as a caring father. However, the quotes come from an anonymous and thus somewhat unreliable source, therefore are unlikely to change the opinion of those who support Heard. Instead, I believe this article is likely intended for an audience predisposed to favouring Depp.

However, author Dave Quinn quotes another important source:

 “In a response to Heard’s claim, Depp’s divorce attorney, Laura Wasser, said in court documents that “Amber is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

This is a more reputable source, and thus could implicitly incite scepticism for Heard’s allegations. Obviously, Wasser has motive to support her client, however, for readers that are undecided on the issue, this source could create doubt.

Moreover, an important distinction arises between the quoting of Depp’s sources and quoting Heard. Whilst Quinn uses the neutral verb “says” or “said” to cite sources in favour of Depp, he writes, “the actress claimed the actor was abusive to her throughout the “entirety” of their relationship.”

As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, “claimed” means to “state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.” Therefore this distinct difference in word choice suggests to an audience that Depp’s sources are reliable, whereas there could be doubt surrounding what Heard has “claimed”.

Additionally, Quinn reports that Depp recently held a memorial for his deceased mother, perhaps to again appeal to the reader’s emotional response and motivate sympathy for him.

On the other hand, Quinn reports that Heard was spotted with “tech guru Elon Musk”, sparking “rumours of possible relationship”. This purposeful contrast between the activities of Heard and Depp could be used as flag-waving exercise for readers who are against Heard readers. However, it would not likely convince neutral readers that she is in the wrong or lying about the allegations.

Another article from French newspaper, Le Figaro, took a different approach to reporting the divorce in the article, “Amber Heard-Johnny Depp : les dessous d’un divorce houleux”, (Amber Heard- Johnny Depp: behind the heated divorce) published on August 19th 2016.

Despite being a hard-news style publication, the tone of the article is quickly established as gossip when author Lena Lutad writes, “La sulfreuse Amber Heard n’a décidément pas fini de faire parler d’elle” (The scandalous Amber Heard has not yet finished getting herself talked about).

By describing the actress as “scandalous”, Lutad implies that she is the one causing public outrage, rather than the situation itself. Thus the implication is that Heard’s intention is to be the subject of discussion, and that her actions are encouraging scrutiny of her personal life.

The article uses subtitles in an attempt to build a rational case against Heard and encourage scepticism in readers.

“Amber Heard tient à son image” (Amber Heard holds onto her image)

“Soupçons, mensonges et visage dissimulé” (Suspicions, lies and a hidden face)

“Montage particulièrement grossier” (Particularly clumsy montage)

The article evaluates a series of “facts”, such as Heard’s donation of the divorce settlement to charity as “la preuve” (the proof) that she is attempting to save her public image because her career is on the rocks.

Given no external sources are supplied as supporting justification for these claims, this evaluation is an informal fallacy as there is insufficient evidence to prove that Heard’s sole motivation for donating her settlement was to save her reputation.

However, Lutad appeals to the authority of TMZ, a celebrity news website, to raise suspicion about the timing of Heard’s allegations.

“TMZ s’étonne aussi du timing: Amber Heard est partie en guerre 48 heures après le décès de la mere de Johnny Depp.”

(TMZ was also shocked by the timing: Amber Heard started a war 48 hours after the death of Johnny Depp’s mother.)

The phrase “started a war” is highly evocative, suggesting that Heard has been aggressive in the divorce battle. It is particularly ironic that Lutad alludes to violent behaviour by Heard given the allegations of domestic violence.

Nevertheless, this appeal to authority assumes an audience who will be sympathetic towards Depp and are willing to believe the reports of a gossip website. Like the WHO article, Lutad uses the death of Depp’s mother to stir sympathy in the reader and portray Depp as the victim.

Ultimately, the piece is highly evaluative, explicitly stating that Heard had, “sa stratégie de dénigrement” (a strategy of denigration) which promotes a negative view of Heard and encourages sympathy for Depp. Similarly, Lutad explicitly raises doubts about Heard’s story and the authenticity of images surfaced in the media that show Heard’s bruised face. However, little to no justification is given to support Lutad’s claims. This lack of serious attempt to persuade the reader that Heard is lying, suggests that Lutad believes the audience will already be sceptical of the allegations and pre-disposed to favour Depp.

Finally, I will look at an article from Morning News USA published on October 13th 2016, entitled, “Johnny Depp Ex-Wife Amber Heard Confirmed Gold digger: ‘Justice League’ Movie Suffers?”.

Heard’s key descriptor in this article is not actress, but “Johnny Depp’s ex-wife”, suggesting that readers will best know the actress for her romantic relationship rather than her career. This could indicate the publication is writing for an audience who have an indifferent or unfavourable attitude towards Heard, believing her to be talentless or un-noteworthy.

The article immediately takes its position as an evaluative news piece from the title, labelling Heard as a “gold digger”. Whilst there is no Oxford definition for this term, the top definition as stated by Urban Dictionary is, “Someone who seeks romantic involvement with a wealthy individual with the goal of obtaining wealth from the relationship.”

Given Depp paid $7 million dollars to Heard in the divorce settlement, it could be argued that Heard fits this definition. However, this sum was donated to charities of Heard’s choice, rather than kept for the actresses’ personal use; thus, a case could be made to refute claims that she is a “gold digger”.

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The photo used in this article is also telling; whilst the article is reporting the release of new photos for Heard’s upcoming movie “Justice League”, the publication chooses a hyper-sexualised photo of Heard lying seductively on a couch. Rather than portraying Heard as a victim of abuse, or even as an actress in her new film, this image implicitly suggests that Heard continues to live a life of opulence given she is casually lounging, dressed in expensive clothing and jewellery.

Throughout the article, author Pritha Paul uses evaluative language in describing Heard’s actions such as, “demanded” and “played the victim”. This language encourages a reader to take a negative view of Heard’s actions and implicitly suggests that Heard’s claims were false. Emphasis is also placed largely on Heard as the active agent throughout most of the article, perhaps implying to a reader that Depp is the victim of her actions.

Interestingly, Depp becomes the active agent when he is doing a good deed.

“An amicable settlement was finally reached when Depp agreed to pay the aforementioned money in instalments to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union.”

This imbalance between Heard as the active agent acting upon Depp implicitly encourages a reader to view Depp more favourably than Heard.

Ultimately, this tabloid style article takes an explicitly negative view of Heard

“Some people are of the opinion that the actress is talentless and the only way she managed to bag a role in such a big production was by creating media frenzy around her earlier this year when she accused Johnny Depp of domestic abuse.”

Whilst this statement implies this is the opinion of an external source, no sources are quoted thus I would argue that instead this evaluative opinion is a reflection of the author’s own views.

In fact, only one source is quoted in the entirety of the article and this source is an anonymous user on a comment thread from an article posted by Celebrity Dirty Laundry. As with Le Figaro article, this piece fails to engage in a persuasive discussion of the facts of the situation or justify the opinions provided with any support.

This highly evaluative stance against Heard is possibly a result of Depp’s huge popularity and success as a Hollywood actor. For this reason, author Paul assumes readers will be in support of Depp and will look less favourably upon Heard’s actions.

Comparatively to this evaluative tabloid approach, many other news outlets favour quotes sourced from psychologists and domestic violence victims. For example, popular news site News.com.au published an article in early June, “Domestic violence experts explain how the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard saga could affect victims”, in which they sourced much of their information from Rachel Kayrooz.

Kayrooz, a victim of domestic violence, founded Shout! Speak Out in 2006, a non-profit organisation for women and child survivors of domestic violence.

Kayrooz said: “The media’s approach to domestic violence can ultimately save a life or destroy it.”

Several other publications take a similar stance on the importance of reporting on incidents of domestic violence in a serious and considered manner:

“The Disturbing Reaction to Amber Heard’s Domestic Violence Allegations Against Johnny Depp: Why It Matters” (E! News – June 2016)

“Amber Heard was courageous to speak out about abuse. We’ve failed her.” (Mamamia – June 2016)

It is evident that the divorce of this high-profile couple has sparked controversy worldwide, and the reactions are extremely varied. Upon beginning this article, I expected to conclude that the approach taken to reporting this issue by hard-news publications, as opposed to tabloid style articles would be vastly different. I expected that tabloid journalism would show their support for Depp, an extremely successful and beloved Hollywood actor. I expected that the hard news publications would present the facts of the situation, and any perceived scepticism for Heard’s story would be implicit.

Yet upon further analysis, it became clear that style was not the differentiating factor.

The article from WHO demonstrated that tabloid news in Australia may have implicitly encouraged scepticism for Heard; however, this scepticism was generated by shifting support to Depp, rather than by explicitly attacking Heard.

On the other hand, the approach taken by both tabloid and hard-news outlets in the USA and France was to explicitly provide evaluative judgements on the situation, often in favour of Depp and accusing Heard of making false allegations.

This significant difference in approach perhaps reflects a difference in worldview between Australia and the rest of the world. As of June 1st, domestic violence killed 31 women in Australia in 2016. In an average day, police across Australia will deal with an average of 657 cases of domestic violence. Due to these alarming statistics, earlier this year the federal government announced a 3-year plan for tackling domestic violence. In our country, it has become impossible to ignore domestic violence.

This is not to suggest that the predominant worldview in France or the USA is to doubt victims of domestic abuse. Many people in these countries, journalists, bloggers, and anonymous commenters alike spoke out in support of Heard.

What I am suggesting is that in Australia, it has become unacceptable to not take domestic violence seriously. In Australia, the dialogue surrounding this issue has shifted to the point where negative commentators are almost completely outlawed.

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.

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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 CNN.com 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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

References

Wayne, T, 2013, Justin Bieber and Youth’s New Wilderness, The New York Times, accessed 29 November 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/fashion/justin-bieber-and-todays-youth.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Kang, S, 2014, Justin Bieber’s Influence On Your Kids, Psychology Today, accessed 28 November 2016, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-dolphin-way/201407/justin-biebers-influence-your-kids

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, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2631726/Justin-Biebers-bad-behaviour-actually-influence-children-GOOD-claims-new-study.html

Krause, C, 2014, Justin Bieber: A Warning To All Teens, NDA For Teens, accessed 30 November 2016, https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/justin-bieber-warning-all-teens

Obeidallah, D, 2013, Justin Bieber, Time to Shut Up, CNN, accessed 27 November 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/16/opinion/obeidallah-bieber-shut-up/

Dunlop, R, 2015, Is Justin Bieber The Worst Role Model For Your Kids?, The Blot Magazine, accessed 31 November 2016, https://www.theblot.com/justin-bieber-worst-role-model-kids-7714367

Anonymous, n.d., Celebrities and Their Influence, Teen Ink, accessed 31 November 2016, http://www.teenink.com/opinion/entertainment_celebrities/article/82342/Celebrities-and-Their-Influence/

 

 

 

 

All’s Fair in Love and Plebiscite


All’s fair in Love and Plebiscite

Samantha Aishia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent announcement concerning the introduction of legislation that will enable a same-sex marriage plebiscite in Australia has sparked conversation about the implications this could have on the LGBTI community. The plebiscite, believed to be doomed to fail by the Labour Party, will take place on February 11, 2017.

Gavin Fernando’s ‘How the Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite Discriminates Against Intersex Australians’ (HYPERLINK: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/how-the-samesex-marriage-plebiscite-discriminates-against-intersex-australians/news-story/3225a3c686b267180c0ca7708fd7de71) and Karen Brook’s ‘All is Not Fair in The Same-Sex Marriage Debate’ (HYPERLINK:http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/all-is-not-fair-in-the-samesex-marriage-debate/news-story/e5855c18d286bf92042ee85f88c93460) are two views journalism pieces that were written in response to The Turnbull Government’s decision to enact a plebiscite. Both articles essentially have similar perspectives about the plebiscite, however they provide different justifications for opposing it.

The plebiscite, which has been accused of denigrating LGBTI relationships, was deemed to be the “best way to decide a matter on which Australians had such deeply-held personal convictions” by Prime Minister Turnbull. The whopping $170 million of taxpayer funding for the national poll  (excluding the additional $20 million in government advertisement funding) is said to solve a ‘very big moral issue’ while ‘respecting all views on the debate’.

Gavin Fernando, in his article How the Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite Discriminates Against Intersex Australians’, published on News.com.au, argues that not all views on the debate are being respected, as intersex Australians are being excluded from the legislation enabling the alteration of the Marriage Act. The vote taking place in early 2017 will ask Australian’s the question ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’. Fernando points out that this particular wording fails to include Australians that do not identify with standard gender binaries, thus excluding them from exercising their right to marry.

Fernando uses an appeal to facts, justified by an appeal to authority, to give strength to his positioning of the reader to support his argument. The use of authoritative voices throughout the article help to move his argument from that of an opinion driven article, to an argumentative or evaluative one. Thus the reader is provided with the information that suggests that the LGBTI community, particularly intersex Australians, are being put at stake by the lack of acknowledgement they are receiving in the plebiscite.  

“The wording of the plebiscite is problematic, but it’s important to be clear that intersex people are diverse in our understandings of our bodies, sexes and genders,” here Fernando quotes a spokesperson from The Organisation Intersex International Australia (OII). Fernando then goes on to explain that some intersex people are already married with statistics to support this claim. Despite this, the point was made that while some intersex couples were married, some were not legally recognised within Australia. Here Fernando questions the plebiscite in suggesting that all marriages should be equally accepted, not just heterosexual or same-sex marriages.

Fernando thus attempts to instill a sense of community in stating that, according to a fact sheet released by the United Nations, ‘1.7 per cent of the population is born with “intersex traits”’. Of the 408,000 Australians that maintain an intersex variation, some will be able to legally wed and others will not. The plebiscite that excludes some members of the LGBTI community will thus fail to achieve its goal of marriage equality in Australia.

In an attempt to further advance his viewpoint, Fernando informs the reader of Norrie May-Welby’s story. As the first individual in Australia to be registered as having a ‘nonspecific sex’. By describing May-Welby’s story, Fernando highlights the bigger issue that stands in the wording of the plebiscite.

“I applied to marry, and was formally told that as a person of nonspecific sex, I could not marry.”

In using this specific quote, May-Welby directly points out the paradox in holding a plebiscite that allows same-sex marriages to marry in an attempt to gain marriage equality, yet excluding those that do not identify as either a man or a woman.

“The ban also affects marriages where one partner changes sex. Instead of addressing these issues, the government has doubled down on this wasteful plebiscite exercise in futility, unlikely to even be approved by both houses of parliament, and foolishly worded to leave gaps even if it was miraculously put in a plebiscite and passed.” – Norrie May Wellby (Fernando, 2016).

While Fernando’s central claim was obvious throughout the piece due to the factual arguments given, this quote by May Welby blatantly points it out. They speak of the ban on marriages that do not share two heterosexual partners and the hypocrisy that the government has in enacting a plebiscite that does not directly address all the issues within the Marriage Act.

Fernando’s article is essentially an argumentative critique on the Turnbull Government’s plebiscite, while the same-sex marriage plebiscite attempts to make a step towards marriage equality, it leaves ‘nonspecific people hanging’. Fernando also makes reference to the fact that the same-sex marriage plebiscite itself is not legally binding, which makes it difficult to predict what the next step for intersex Australians would be.

Fernando uses authoritative voices as well as people that are directly influenced by the legislative restrictions on marriage within his article to provide factual evidence that supports his argument. He attempts to position the reader so that they sympathise with the plight of intersex Australians, as well as see his own argument as justifiable in critiquing the government’s decision. In this way, his article is persuasive to an extent as he provides the audience with factual evidence to support his claim. He avoids using a great deal of opinion due to the sensitivity of the topic, but rather attempts to show the implications that the plebiscite may have on intersex Australians.

The article also makes use of images that are quite positive and are all obviously in support of same-sex marriage, help to portray the LGBTI community in a positive light so as to allow the reader to sympathise with them and understand Fernando’s viewpoint. Images that show the rainbow flags that have been associated with the LGBTI community, as well as an image of two men in the form of cake toppers are used an an accessory to the article. *image shown below* These images make the topic of the article blatantly obvious, particularly to audience members that are not particularly informed about the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

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Karen Brook’s article titled ‘All is Not Fair in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate’, published to The Daily Telegraph also makes use of images to convince the readers of the familiarity of the argument. Much like Fernando, Brook’s also uses an image of two men in the form of cake toppers. As well as this, the use of an image of two gay men from a popular TV show, Modern Family, of whom Brook’s assumed many audience members are familiar of; reminds audience members that they have witnessed same-sex marriages in society (even if they were on a scripted show). The image itself shows the two men looking away from the camera in a shocked or startled way, this may have been used as a ploy to set the tone of the article as Brook’s shares her own shock at the fact that the government is considering funding to both parties opposing and in support of the plebiscite. *image shown below*

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It has been no secret that the Labour Government have stated that they will not support the same-sex marriage plebiscite, with this revelation noted, a petition has emerged urging the government not to fund the Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) anti-same-sex marriage campaign.

Brook’s central claim is stated in the beginning of her article as she says:

“The reason for this stance is mainly twofold. Firstly, how much more discussion do we need about an issue that the majority of Australians feel so strongly about (whether they’re for or against), they’ve already made up their minds? Secondly, do we really need to have a taxpayer-funded campaign that will foreground the case against same sex marriage by deliberately and negatively targeting the LGBTI community?”

Essentially, Brook’s, alike Fernando, believes that the plebiscite will harm the LGBTI community rather than celebrate it. Brook’s makes it clear that she does not see the logic or potential for good that may come from campaigning for or against the plebiscite when it has been a topic that has been divided by strong opinions for quite some time. Given this, it would seem waste taxpayer and government funding on campaigns for audiences that have, for the most part, already made up their minds on the issue.

Brook’s’ primary point of discussion is the unfair claims that the ACL has made about families and individuals that are in same-sex marriages. She asserts that the ACL, of whom have taken on the role of ‘moral guardians at the expense of the LGBTI community’, continue to circulate misleading information about same-sex marriages and the consequences that society will face if it is made legal within Australia. The ACL, according to Brook’s, claims that the pro lobby are ‘silencing them’ by disagreeing with their argument and have thus called on the government to override anti-discrimination laws during campaigns.

Brook’s supports her argument by making an appeal to ethics and social norms by addressing the statement that ACL managing director, Lyle Shelton, made about same-sex marriages. Shelton argued that redefining marriage laws would redefine parenting, making mothers and fathers dispensable in society. Brooks argues back on this in saying that Shelton’s claims are not supported by any evidence, and that the ACL deliberately neglects the statistics that show the success of same-sex marriages.

The statement made that claimed that ‘all children in a same-sex family structure has been taken from their biological mother and father’, as well as the comparison Shelton made between Nazi Germany and same-sex discussion as ‘unthinkable things’, all work to paint the LGBTI community in a particular way. Shelton’s statement, as pointed out in the article, insinuates that all children that have parents of the same gender, have been stolen from their ‘true’ families and being forced to remain in a family that they do not belong in.

The statements, while very bold, fail to provide evidence to support them which hinders on their persuasiveness. Brook’s continues to discuss these statements for this very reason. These statements also give readers a certain perception of the ACL and helps her own argument seem like the better, or more logical one to support.

The article is thus taken over from Brook’s initial argument against the funding of anti-same-sex marriage and pro lobby campaigns, to that of an argumentative appeal to ethics and authority as she attacks the statements made by the ACL. She discredits their supposed role as the ‘moral guardians’ as she states that they describe same-sex marriages as a ‘social experiment’ that strips children of their basic rights, which signifies their misguided judgement on the issue.

Brook’s and Fernando share the same ideologies based on same-sex marriage rights, this is made evident in both of their articles. In light of the same-sex marriage plebiscite, Brook’s criticises the ACL’s statements made against the same-sex marriage debate and the government’s funding of campaigns for and against it, while Fernando discusses the lack of acknowledgement from the plebiscite about intersex Australians. These argumentative pieces are both persuasive in their own ways given they discusses different implications that have been highlighted with the government’s intention to hold a same-sex marriage plebiscite.

The appeal to ethics and social norms, as well as an appeal to authority that is prevalent in Brook’s’ article is supported by her description of the ACL in terms of claims that they have made. In doing this, she paints them in a way that that audience members would not feel inclined to support unless they felt strongly opposed to same-sex marriage and all LGBTI rights. Brook’s also criticises the government in allowing funding for campaigns on the plebiscite (both opposing and for it), in addition to taxpayer funding of the plebiscite itself. She asserts that the funding of campaigns based on same-sex marriage is not needed and thus a waste of time and money.

Fernando’s article functions under an appeal to facts and authority, he challenges the government’s statement in the plebiscite in arguing that the wording does not include intersex Australians, therefore cannot be deemed to promote marriage equality as a whole. Fernando provides his audience with facts and statistics on the issue he is discussing in an attempt to support his argument.

Nonetheless, both Fernando and Brook’s articles work to call attention to the mistreatment of the LGBTI community in terms of marriage equality rights. The members of society as well as the government in enacting this plebiscite, are presented as misguided and often illogical in their approaches and arguments against same-sex marriages. Thus both articles are effective in their own ways depending on the disposition of the reader.

 

References:

Brooks, K. (2016) All is not fair in the same-sex marriage debate. Available at: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/all-is-not-fair-in-the-samesex-marriage-debate/news-story/e5855c18d286bf92042ee85f88c93460 (Accessed: 1 November 2016).

Doran, political reporters M., Anderson, S. and Henderson, A. (2016) Explained: The same-sex marriage plebiscite. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-29/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-explainer/7794070 (Accessed: 1 November 2016).

Fernando, G. (2016) The group excluded by same-sex marriage plebiscite. Available at: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/how-the-samesex-marriage-plebiscite-discriminates-against-intersex-australians/news-story/3225a3c686b267180c0ca7708fd7de71 (Accessed: 30 October 2016).

Koziol, M. (2016) Turnbull takes plebiscite to parliament but plan still doomed. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-introduces-samesex-marriage-plebiscite-legislation-to-parliament-20160914-grfyjg.html (Accessed: 2 November 2016).

Eco-terrorism: Radical environmentalism or criminalising dissent?

By Clara Von Dinklage

The issue of eco-terrorism has been a source of mass debate amongst corporations, governments, political and environmental groups, and other civil actors. However it seems that a lot of conflict in discourse surrounding the interaction between environmentalism and terrorism has been because there are numerous inconsistencies about what actually constitutes eco-terrorism. Media coverage on the topic has reflected these discrepancies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines eco-terrorism as the infliction of violence against innocent people or the destruction of property by a group with an environmentally-oriented agenda, and this is the definition that has been regarded as the most ‘official’.

One of the major proponents of such actions is the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), an environmental group who were listed as one of the major domestic terror threats in the United States in 2001 by the FBI.

Not all journalists abide by the FBI’s definition of eco-terrorism, and some reject the term altogether. Because the pieces analysed in this article come from a wide range of media platforms, have varying contexts and talk about eco-terrorism in relation to different events, there are bound to be some irregularities between them. Nevertheless, an analysis of different types of media coverage will enable us to unpack the concept of eco-terrorism and those called eco-terrorists and the different ways in which the term and the individuals are characterised.

Let’s take a look at George Monbiot’s 2011 article ‘Eco-terrorism: the non-existent threat we spend millions policing’, published by The Guardian. Monbiot’s central argument that eco-terrorism does not exist in the UK and that the government should not be spending its resources policing it, posits intelligence agencies as misguided entities that are mindlessly chasing non-threatening groups and individuals.

Monbiot does this by using a personal anecdote, stating that he scoured as much literature as he could, yet “couldn’t find a single proven instance of a planned attempt in the UK to harm people in the cause of defending the environment”. He further describes “a shadowy body” that “spends most of its £5 million budget on countering a non-existent threat that officers call eco-terrorism.

Monbiot criticises the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the “shadowy body” previously mentioned, and its employment of Mark Kennedy, an undercover officer “who was embedded and bedded for seven years among peaceful green activists”. The depiction of environmentally motivated individuals as non-violent undermines NPOIU’s reasoning for monitoring such individuals, and is also contradictory to the FBI definition of eco-terrorists as those who cause destruction and inflict violence. The author also states “Kennedy claims that it has supervised 15 other undercover agents on the same mission. But what is the mission? Sorry, can’t tell you”. The journalist is here indicating that the NPOIU is secretive because it doesn’t have a legitimate agenda, and their plain of trying to blame innocent environmentalists for crimes they have not committed is futile.

On the whole project, Monbiot asserts that “It looks to me like a state-sanctioned private militia, fighting public protest on behalf of corporations”. He shifts blame from those he thinks are falsely labelled eco-terrorists to private corporations who are “using police budgets to try to change the political character of the nation”.

The author argues that the NPOIU’s classification of eco-terrorism is misconstrued, because “people who have attended a protest or a public meeting” are placed on a list of extremists to monitor.

There is no obvious connection between the kind of people in these files and criminality: they’re distinguished only by the fact that they have taken an interest in politics. You might expect that this would mark them out as good citizens. But this policing appears to have nothing to do with the public good.”

The people challenging corporate power are often defamed as destructive anarchists. Yte they are seeking to defend the fabric of our lives from the anarchic destruction of market fundamentalism.

Consider these two quotes. Eco-terrorists are often associated with the green anarchy movement, and are often painted as in extreme opposition to the forces of globalisation and modernity and will do anything to halt such growth, however the author is arguing that these environmentalists have a different mindset, yet because of their environmentally charged aims, they are being targeted nonetheless. Monbiot takes great issue with the idea that anyone who is politically motivated and may perhaps protest certain actions by the state and the private sector is immediately deemed as a threat to society. To take it to the extreme of labelling certain people ‘terrorists’ is against the role of the government, which is to act in the nation’s best interests.

In condemning the persecution of “peaceful citizens who are trying to protect the places and values they cherish from destructive companies”, Monbiot makes an emotive appeal with words like “peaceful”, “protect”, “values” and “cherish” for his audience to understand that environmentalists have society’s best interests in mind, and are not the destructive and reckless individuals that public agencies characterise them as.

In comparison, Judith Sloan criticises certain actions of environmentalists who fail to gain political traction in her 2014 article, ‘Stop giving the eco terrorists free range to bully’. Published in The Australian, the article criticises the “sorts of thinking once reserved for PR companies, advertising agencies, political lobbyists and terrorist groups” that environmental groups employ to achieve their goals. The article only really mentions the PR and advertising campaigns utilised by environmental groups, rendering it difficult for those in opposition to her views to understand how the green movement is employing terrorist tactics.

Sloan describes the the above Greenpeace advertisement against Nestlé’s use of palm oil as a “complete stunt”. She claims that the ad fails to mention that palm oil plantations “are not located in the habitat of the gorillas or that palm oil farming has lifted thousands of Malaysian farmers out of poverty… Misinformation and outright lies are just part of the toolkit used by these groups.” The fact that the advertisement is referring to orang-utans, not gorillas, that reside in Malaysian rainforests aside, Sloan cites outright lies as being conveyed to the public by environmental groups, however doesn’t explain what those lies are. Still, Greenpeace is characterised as untruthful, and not to be trusted.

Of course, the worst part of this example is that Nestlé caved into the extortion, leaving them wide open to even more campaigns by these environmental groups”. Nestlé is characterised as a corporation that has facilitated extortion by the hands of environmentalists because they are “fearful of consumer backlash.”

They will bully and cajole; they will blackmail and extort; they will collect excessive fees from contrived certification schemes; they will form faux alliances with farmers to prevent fracking and mining; and they will behave illegally but claim worthy aims”.

The repetition of “they” creates an us versus them mentality, creating the sense that these environmental groups are barely on the fringes of society, and everything they do goes against societal norms.

Governments must counteract the scheming of green groups by releasing accurate information, standing up for the rights of citizens and organisations to go about their legitimate activities and clamping down on the unscrupulous and illegal behaviour of environmental organisations”.

Again, casting environmental groups as “scheming” criminals further entrenches their ‘outsider’ status. From the article, however, we can gather that what the author considers eco-terrorism differs greatly from the other articles. The author assumes her audience has a negative opinion of the term ‘eco-terrorist’ and uses the term to create a sense of fear when discussing environmental campaigns that may not necessarily fit the FBI’s definition of eco-terrorism.

Michael Kavanagh’s 2005 article, ‘Conflating environmentalists and terrorists is all the rage’ published by Grist criticises the loose use of the term ‘eco-terrorist’, which Kavanagh explains causes society to define environmentalism by terrorism, and prohibits us from understanding the real nature of the separate terms.

Kavanagh is writing in response to a popular conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, who previously said “What liberals and their allies in the environmentalist wacko movement fail to understand is…”. Kavanagh states, “In his world… you can’t be an environmentalist and escape wacko-ism”. The author counters claims that all environmentally motivated individuals and groups are radical by nature, and spends the entirety of the article attempting to separate extremism and the green movement.

Kavanagh states that ELF and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), both groups known for their extremism, have been denounced by “every major environmental group”, however are still being positioned as representatives of all environmental groups.

Yes, some expensive and illegal acts are committed in the name of the environment; and yes, the framework of terrorism is an easy and useful one for the FBI and the DHS to use when handling those incidents. (By calling ecological sabotage “terrorism” as opposed to arson or vandalism, federal officials are given slightly greater powers in investigating and bringing perpetrators to justice.”

The author isn’t trying to prove that eco-terrorism doesn’t exist, he states that it is a real threat and the FBI have reasonable grounds for the usage of the term ‘terrorism’. In addressing this, he appeals to those with opposing views to his, by using factual argumentation to convince readers to not view eco-terrorism as a black and white issue. He wants them to understand the difference between eco-terrorists, and those who pursue environmental interests using peaceful and democratic means. Discourse surrounding the issue is just as important as the issue itself.

For example, he uses a 2003 case where Greenpeace activists boarded a ship from Brazil to the U.S. carrying illegal mahogany in an attempt to stop the trade deal, and uses a quote from Greenpeace’s executive director John Passacantando, who says “Even with Greenpeace, a group that’s been doing nonviolent action for 30 years, they tried to make us look like terrorists”.

In part, that’s because people like Rush Limbaugh and John Stokes have been effective at reducing the image of the environmental movement to a group of little green Hitler elves, running around blowing things up”.

Like Monbiot’s article, Kavanagh discredits the reckless characterisation of environmentalists by conservative commentators. In distinguishing between the small minority of reckless terrorists and the majority of peaceful environmental activists, the author urges readers to think carefully about what is called eco-terrorism, and whether it deserves the label.

Let’s consider Seton Motley’s 2016 article, ‘We Don’t Negotiate With (Eco-) Terrorists’, that was published on RedState.com, which, as the name indicates, is a conservative, Republican-leaning U.S. blog and news outlet.

Motley’s claim, explicitly stated in the article’s title, is that the government and society should not be accommodating to the wishes of eco-terrorists.

His first justification comes before his central argument, as he asserts that terrorist negotiations regarding traditional security threats have not worked in the past, therefore they will not work when it comes to eco-terrorism. Utilising facts, he outlines the failures of terrorist negotiations in the past, such as Obama sending “terrorist Iran” $400 million in exchange for the release of four American hostages, and the subsequent capture of more hostages by Iran after the deal, as well as the advancement of Iran’s nuclear arsenal. Motley implies that all of these are because the government has been too lenient on terrorists, and has been affording them whatever they want.

The author uses a contemporary case to further his claim: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which has been criticised because of the destruction of cultural artefacts and the possible crude oil contamination of the Missouri River.

Motley positions those who oppose the DAPL as “anti-capitalist environmentalist radicals”, assuming all those who protest the pipeline are extremists resorting to non-peaceful action, as well as assuming all those in attendance are anti-capitalist.

Enter the environmentalist radicals… as if environmentalist radicals wasn’t bad enough – EarthJustice consists largely of trial lawyer environmentalist radicals. Terrorists with Doctorates of Jurisprudence.”

The author undermines the legitimacy of EarthJustice, one of the main groups advocating for the halting of construction, but chooses to do so by attacking the individuals within the group, particularly taking aim at the lawyers whose education he states is worthless because their cause is worthless.

Going full circle in his article, Motley explains to his readers the reference to Iran negotiations in the latter half, stating that “EarthJustice and the Tribe are attempting to take the DAPL hostage… by physically blocking it”. His analogy between more traditional terrorist tactics and the non-physical hostage situation of protesters blocking roads to the DAPL elevates the severity the actions of environmental activists on the frontlines. He asserts that although there isn’t any violence occurring, the consequences of the pipeline protests make these groups deserving of the title ‘eco-terrorists’.

 

Motley doesn’t clearly define what he considers eco-terrorism, nor does he abide by conventional definitions of the term. Although he calls individuals on the DAPL frontlines terrorists, he doesn’t give clear reasoning as to why he thinks this is the case. His article does what Kavanagh’s article explicitly avoids – labelling all protesters as radicals.

Let’s consider a 2008 news journalism piece by Andrea Stone, titled ‘Eco-terror suspected in Seattle blazes’ and published by USA Today.

The article covers an investigation into a fire destroying three luxury show homes “that may have been torched by eco-terrorists who mocked developer claims that the houses were environmentally “built green””. The more violent language of “torched” depicts the arsonists as senseless criminals, whilst a mean demeanour is created by the verb “mocked”.

The article states that ELF activists, the suspects, “have targeted companies and organisations it considers unfriendly to the environment. They work in autonomous cells without central leadership, Gutt said.” By incorporating this quote into the article, the journalist is implying that the environmental group doesn’t have formal meetings, and thus its actions are unwarranted because they can be carried out at the whim of any individual claiming to be flying under their flag. The name ELF is therefore just a front for misguided people to further their environmental agenda by criminal means.

Gutt says a January 2006 arson of a new home on Camano Island, Wash., is still being investigated for links to the shadowy radicals”.

Shadowy” is a rather informal word to be used in a news piece, however it serves to create a sense of secrecy, and thus, illegality.

Stone also provides an extensive list of ELF’s past actions, therefore framing them as the probable suspects in this case. “Among ELF’s targets: SUVs, logging trucks, ranger stations and a ski resort in Vail, Colo., that burned in 1998, causing $12 million in damage”. Making readers understand the organisation’s long history of terrorist activity, they’re positioned to be against the group and its activities.

Although the news article doesn’t explicitly present a perspective on the event, the selection of quotes and information provided about ELF is indicative of their criminal activity.

“”I’m shocked and saddened,” said Lundber, who expects the loss to be covered by insurance. “There are builders out there whose livelihoods have been seriously damaged.”

The builders are portrayed as innocent victims in this article, contrary to other articles which cast environmental activists as victims, however in this case, there is significantly more justification to apply the word ‘eco-terrorist’ to the arsonists involved. The quote paints eco-terrorists as destructive, and oblivious to the full extent of the consequences of their actions.

The last piece, a 2011 broadcast by RT News presented by Alyona Minkovski, ‘Earth Day: ‘Eco-Terrorists’ Crackdown’, casts politicians, of whom the presenter states are mostly climate deniers, in a negative light. Minkovski states that these people are not doing their job as they are “easily bought off by oil and gas companies”.

The broadcast begins with the presenter stating that Earth Day is a day to realise that “hey, we should try a little bit harder not to screw it up for ourselves, for future generations, for all of humanity”. The sarcasm in her tone is balanced with the gravity of the latter part of the phrase, in which Minkovski implies that protecting the earth is a collective responsibility, and an issue which we have to hold ourselves accountable to.

The presenter has covered the topic of eco-terrorism numerous times, calling it in another broadcast “the new Boogeyman”, that is, a myth created by lawmakers to scare their constituents into good behaviour.

Most of the broadcast is an interview between Minkovski and Will Potter, an environmentalist and one of the most prominent critics of the concept of eco-terrorism.

Potter discredits the term, stating it was created by special interest groups who deliberately used the term in the press and in Congress, “making the threat more real and less of a PR campaign”. Potter addresses the rhetoric surrounding eco-terror discourse, further highlighting how indistinguishable “corporate rhetoric” and “official government policy” has become.

Potter recalls his time handing out leaflets against animal testing, before being arrested for disorderly conduct and being told by the FBI that unless he becomes an informant to investigate other activists, he would be placed on the domestic terror list. The anecdote serves as a real-life case displaying the absurd allegations against certain environmental activists.

These corporate interests view these groups as a threat, they’re effective, they’re growing, they’re part of a movement that’s demanding real change and that’s becoming more and more powerful and that’s why they’re demonised.” Alleviating the blame from environmentalists, whom he believes are targeted because of their opposition to many corporate projects, helps us as readers understand the complexity of the term ‘eco-terrorism’, and attempts to dissuade us from automatically assuming the worst of those branded eco-terrorists.

Eco-terrorism can be viewed in countless ways. From the texts presented, it can be said that all the articles assume readers have a negative disposition of the label ‘eco-terrorism’, however they have considerably different ideas as to what eco-terrorism actually is. Discourse surrounding the interrelation between environmentalism and terrorism is important because these varying definitions have hindered productive debate. All the authors agree that violence enacted in the name of environmentalism is wrong, yet there still seems to be tensions surrounding other acts carried out by the green movement. Whether or not you think environmentalism is turning a darker shade of green, is up to you.

 

References

Greenpeace UK. 2010, ‘Have a Break?’, Greenpeace UK, 17 March, accessed 22 October, available at:<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaJjPRwExO8>

Jarboe, J. 2002, ‘Before the House Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health’, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, 12 February, accessed 22 October 2016, available at:<https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/testimony/the-threat-of-eco-terrorism>

Kavanagh, M. 2005, ‘Conflating environmentalists and terrorists is all the rage’, Grist.org, accessed 22 October, available at: <http://grist.org/article/kavanagh/>

Monbiot, G. 2011, ‘Eco-terrorism: the non-existent threat we spend millions policing’, The Guardian, 18 January, accessed 23 October 2016, available at:<https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jan/17/eco-terrorism-policing-environmental-activists>

Motley, S. 2016, ‘We Don’t Negotiate With (Eco-) Terrorists’, RedState, 30 August, accessed 20 October, available at:<http://www.redstate.com/setonmotley/2016/08/30/don%E2%80%99t-negotiate-eco-terrorists/>

RT News. 2011, ‘Earth Day: ‘Eco-Terrorists’ Crackdown’, RT News, 22 April, accessed 19 October 2016, available at:<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upUTf5HMKLU>

Sloan, J. 2014, ‘Stop giving eco terrorists free range to bully’, The Australian, 1 April, accessed 21 October, available at:<http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/stop-giving-the-eco-terrorists-free-range-to-bully/story-fnbkvnk7-1226870157369>

Stone, A. 2008, ‘Eco-terror suspected in Seattle blazes’, USA Today, 3 March, accessed 19 October 2016, available at: <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-03-seattle-fires_N.htm>

Yan, A. 2016, ‘Dakota Access Pipeline: What’s at stake?’, CNN, 28 October, accessed 29 October 2016, available at:<http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/07/us/dakota-access-pipeline-visual-guide/>

 

FinalAss4-PeterThurs10.30

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Football and the Media – Australia’s hate-hate relationship with the ‘World Game’

Giuseppe Giuffre – z5062364 – ThursPeterWhite

The following is a PDF link to my article. I was unable to submit it as a post without a link as the format of the document jumbled around and misplaced / removed photos, headings etc.

From Domestic Violence to Violence in Custody: Exploring the Media Representation of Australian Aboriginal Women in the Mainstream Media

From Domestic Violence to Violence in Custody: Exploring the Media Representation of Australian Aboriginal Women in the Mainstream Media

Bingchen Li

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Over the past decades, it has been determined that media representation of Australian Aboriginal has not changed significantly. In the 1990s, the voices of the Australian Aboriginal could rarely be heard in the news as only one-quarter of Aboriginal-related articles were retrieved (Korff 2016). This was further aggravated when a 2015 survey revealed that only nine per cent of the Aboriginal people believed the media had represented Aboriginals with a balanced perspective while 75 per cent of the news articles were found to be negative (Korff 2016). This previous data established a conclusion that media representation of Australian Aboriginal is skewed which Korff (2016) attributed to the lack of Aboriginal representation in the media industry. Such flow of information concerning Australian Aboriginal appeared to be unchanged with only minimal transformation particularly in the analysis of media representation of the Australian Aboriginal women. In the past, social evolution theory introduced women of non-western modern society as oppressed helpmate to their husbands (Hyndman 2000). They were highly sexualised through the continued publication of nude images while the media failed to associate them with motherhood. The photograph “marriages of democracy” that featured the image of a husband with his 11 wives and 52 children did not successfully advance the issue of cultural differences and motherhood but rather commodified and promoted the culture of polygyny (Hyndman 2000).

Such patriarchal and masculine ideology purveyed by the media is still represented today which supported the “male world” of the Australian Aboriginal (Hyndman 2000). This masculinity, as it appears, established a culture of violence in which Australian Aboriginal women commonly become victims. In order to prove this, an analysis of several news articles as outlined below, will be explored.

“Australia could learn a lot if it actually listened to Indigenous women on domestic violence” – SMH

“Police refused Indigenous interpreter for witnesses to shooting, says legal service” – The Guardian

“Ms Dhu’s death in custody: the shocking footage that Australia needs to see” – SMH

“The abuse of Indigenous women and children is our greatest shame” – Herald Sun

“Two victims, no justice” – The Monthly

“If you think Aboriginal women are silent about domestic violence, you’re not listening” – The Guardian

“When will we say ‘no more’ to family violence?” – SMH

“Do police dismiss Aboriginal women experiencing domestic violence?” – ABC News

Through this, it can be viewed that media representation of Australian Aboriginal has two faces. First, Australian Aboriginal women are oppressed victims of domestic violence, and second, Australian Aboriginal women are oppressed victims of their society, authorities, and the legal system as they become victims of violence and death in custody. In both of these representations, it has been clear that the society, the authorities, and the government have been deaf about their plights. Evidence of which will be discussed below.

Headlines fulfil both pragmatic and semantic functions which provide the audience not only the summary of the main content but also aid in forming the reader’s understanding of the meaning of the texts (Bonyadi and Samuel 2013). This is evident in the aforementioned headlines. A quick analysis of those signifies the recurring pattern of oppression of the Australian Aboriginal women by their own families and the authorities. The referential texts which helped in readers’ meaning-making process were “Australia could learn a lot if it actually listened…”, “police refused”, “no justice”, “you’re not listening”, and “dismiss” – all these communicate to the reader the lack of response on the issue. Meanwhile, the understanding that oppression and abuse develops through the use of blatant texts such as “domestic violence”, “abuse”, and “death in custody.” Such ways of forming headlines can cause problems and put Aboriginal women in danger. By stereotypically casting them as common victims of domestic abuse, these women can easily become the target of criminals. According to Tucker (2016), when media depicts Aboriginal women as disposable, this may trigger criminals who prey on victims to commit crime against Aboriginal women since they are perceived as disposable citizens who are less valuable to the society.

In order to broadly analyse and evaluate this media representation, it is necessary to conduct a detailed examination of some of the news articles above. Australian Aboriginal women are often rendered invisible in the mainstream media as is shown in Barson’s (2016) article which details the horrifying case of death in custody of Ms. Dhu, a 22-year old Aboriginal women who was never held in custody before but died in the hands of authorities after being locked up for days for failure to pay her fines. Barson uses mostly emotive languages, statistical statements, and appeals to the government, authorities, and the public to represent Aboriginal women as people who need saving by legal justice system. The article clearly describes the horrific situation that the victim had experienced using words such as “dying a cruel, unnecessary death…”, “harrowing footage”, “poor”, and also “a victim of domestic violence”, these descriptive languages appeal to the readers by positioning Aboriginal women as hapless individuals who are neglected by the authorities. These same languages also reinforced what Tucker (2016) initially called as a reproduction of racism and sexism that portrays Aboriginal women as low-level citizens, thereby making them vulnerable to the preying criminals. On the other hand, Barson (2016) validated Aboriginal women’s invisibility and discrimination in the treatment of Aboriginal women, and the failing criminal justice system when he stresses “we should not be shocked by the brutality of Ms Dhu’s death when for so long we, and our elected representatives, have ignored the evidence.” The use of the pronoun “we’ highlights the gap between white Australians and the Aboriginal people in which it implies that Aboriginal’s existence is largely dependent on how white Australians desire to acknowledge them. In the case of Ms. Dhu, Aboriginal women, so it shows, do not exist in the eyes of the police who brutalised her.

Similar to Barson, Cunningham (2016) has represented Aboriginal women as invisible, helpless women who died at the hands of their abusive partners while the government and its politicians look away.  Utilising statistical evidence, strong statements of protests, media tirades, and graphic languages, his representation of oppressed Aboriginal women through his description of Wendy Murphy’s death employs languages such as “fractured ribs”, “bruised lungs”, “numerously punched, kicked, and stomped on”, and “numerous internal haemorrhages” positioned readers to perceive Aboriginal women as desperate struggling victims of violence whose cry for physical survival is ignored.  This problem of violence committed against Aboriginal women constitutes several factors such as gender, race, and post-colonialism effects in which minority status afforded to the Aboriginal community may have trigged men, either Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal to commit crimes to the individuals – the women – who fare the worst in terms of disadvantaged positions (Andrews 1997). Andrews (1997) analysed that the issue of domestic abuse in the Aboriginal community may have been driven by the idea that white feminists have been reluctant to raise the issue for fear of creating division in the community while the victims themselves also remain reluctant to expose their plights for fear of not only disintegrating their group but also for fear of causing denigration to the already besieged community. This was supported by a panel of commentators in one of the ABC News (2016) clips in which they responded that it is impossible for the police to dismiss cases of domestic violence in the Aboriginal community. The panellists also added that despite the tremendous reports aiming to raise awareness on domestic violence, the case still continues because victims themselves are finding it hard to save themselves from the abuse. This justification was reached when one of the commentators in the clip stated that Aboriginal women “are not only dealing with the perpetrator, they deal with their family and the entire community of the Aboriginal given that they have close family ties.” Such clip positioned Aboriginal women who were victims of domestic abuse in a negative perspective. In a way, it appears similar to victim-blaming which might influence the readers’ understanding that domestic abuse occurs because Aboriginal women tolerate it, when in fact, Aboriginal women have not remained silent contrary to the claims of the commentators and Andrews. In fact, it could be that the media and the politicians have not truthfully paid attention to their cries. This could be reflected in the words of Cunningham when he said, “…these words alone should have been enough to prompt outrage, if not action. But it couldn’t distract our federal politicians from their playfight over same-sex marriage or the southern media from the latest Brangelina development.” Cunningham also incorporated statements of protests which magnifies the understanding that authorities, politicians, and Australia might be committing structural violence against women by keeping silent about the issue despite their attempt to go public. These statements were strong in the article as Cunningham states, “there were no outraged politicians calling for enquiries or smarmy southern journalists tweeting their disgust…”, ‘Australians have become gold medallists at campaigning against domestic violence…yet when the victim is black…we want to turn the other way…” Such silence contributes to the marginalisation of Aboriginal women. It makes them feel more inferior, stupid, or less valued when trying to raise awareness about their true condition (Kurtz et al 2008). In return, this silence dangerous both to the readers and the victims themselves because it could lead to readers’ apathy and Aboriginals usually depend their self-esteem to how they think the dominant culture perceived them (Sweet 2009).

McQuire’s (2016) article supports the analysis of Cunningham in a sense that the latter recognised the voice of the Aboriginal women, and argued against the points raised by Tucker and the commentators in one of the ABC News clips presented in this analysis. She portrays Aboriginal women as brave and strong defenders of the Aboriginal community, people who pursue justice despite Australia’s apathy and the government’s lack of solution, women who will fight on to destabilise the continuous colonial project of the white Australian. This characterisation is evidence in her following statements, “Aboriginal family violence is very different from domestic violence within non-Indigenous communities. It comes from a different place, from a different history, and therefore, will require different solutions.” This proposition challenges readers’ true understanding of the issue as it invites them to revisit the tormenting history of the Aboriginals. For example, McQuire (2016) presents strong statistical evidence that shows 40 per cent of men who have died in custody were also among those children during the times of Stolen Generations. She also cites that during her interview with 58 men from the Aboriginal community, it has been revealed that majority of these incarcerated men displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorders which were rooted from the historically traumatic experience they had following Stolen Generations and other abuse against Aboriginals in the early history. Such stressors are being passed on from one generation to another. In this context of evidence, McQuire has tapped into the potentiality of evoking a different kind of interest among her readers, a kind of interest that will influence them to understand that the issue of Australian Aboriginal domestic violence is more than the domestic violence that non-Aboriginal women are experiencing, hence, it requires solutions that are fit for the Aboriginal community. To come up to this, McQuire challenges her readers to dig deeper through the connection between how the media and the society have demonised Aboriginal men and its effects on the Aboriginal women. Meadows (2001) had initially recognised this argument when he stated that Aboriginal’s behaviour could be the effects of the dispossession of land, alienation, and abuse they suffered from their long battle for Australia and for recognition – a battle that had caused deep wounds etched in their consciousness.

Subsequently, McQuire (2016) also raises her positive representation of Aboriginal women by condemning the concept of victim-blaming that some media and politicians are trying to instil the public. She uses the stern-looking photograph of Warren Mundine, head of the prime minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, who was quick to blame the supposed silence of the Aboriginal communities for the proliferation of domestic abuse in the community. McQuire (2016) later on warns her readers about the media’s failure to do their jobs. As she says, “…the media construct false narratives around silence in order to ironically, silence others.” This strong call out against media’s misrepresentation of the Aboriginal issue posited Aboriginal on a positive note as McQuire redeems their credibility from the initial representation that Aboriginal women are helpless being who refused to be saved because of their loyalty to their community. McQuire’s different take on Aboriginal issue is understandable as she is an Indigenous herself and therefore, she has wider knowledge of representing Aboriginal women compared to the non-Indigenous journalists previously mentioned in this analysis. This remains true despite some journalists like Barson who attempted to incorporate the side of the relatives of the victims. Barson’s attempt appears rather descriptive and done only for the purpose of adding emotive and / or dramatic appeal, but less to seek or add value to the true issue of Aboriginal women. While McQuire uses statistical facts, Barson (2016), in an attempt to represent the voice of Aboriginal, uses descriptive language such as “they held their breath, watching their beloved daughter, sister, cousin and granddaughter crying out in pain, being dismissed and ignored by those who owed her a duty of care.”

Analysis and comparison of the articles concerning the domestic violence in the Aboriginal community reveals that media representation of Aboriginal women varies depending on the journalists. Non-Indigenous journalists tend to represent Aboriginal women as oppressed victims, helpless, and struggling for physical survival, while Indigenous journalist like McQuire represents Aboriginal in a more positive tone. In her words, Aboriginal women are fighters and defenders of their community who continue to struggle against equality. She challenges her readers to the historical roots of all these violence, thereby linking, the abuse of Aboriginal men inflicted by the society and the media, to the abuse that Aboriginal women is experiencing. Despite the differences, the articles presented in this analysis established the culture of silence and ignorance on the side of the media, the authorities, the politicians, and the government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

ABC News 2016, ‘Do police dismiss Aboriginal women experiencing domestic violence?’, 13 June, viewed 21 October 2016, < http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-13/do-police-dismiss-aboriginal-women-experiencing/7627006>.

Andrews, P. 1997, ‘Violence against Aboriginal women in Australia: redress from the International Human Rights framework’, CUNY Academic Works, viewed 16 October 2016, < http://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1286&context=cl_pubs>.

Barson, R. 2016, ‘Ms Dhu’s death in custody: the shocking footage that Australia needs to see’, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September, viewed 16 October 2016, < http://www.smh.com.au/comment/ms-dhus-death-in-custody-the-shocking-footage-that-australia-needs-to-see-20160925-groblx.html>.

Bonyadi, A. and Samuel, M. 2013, ‘Headlines in newspaper editorials: a contrastive study’, Sage Open, viewed 15 October 2016, < http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/spsgo/3/2/2158244013494863.full.pdf>.

Cunningham, M. 2016, ‘Matt Cunningham: domestic violence is a contagion’, NT News, 4 October, viewed 21 October 2016, < http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/opinion/matt-cunningham-domestic-violence-is-a-contagion/news-story/6e549a0baf3c1a528e4c952b76606080>.

Hyndman, D. 2000, ‘Postcolonial representation of Aboriginal Australian culture: Location past to location present in National Geographic’, MC Journal of Media and Culture, vol. 3, no. 2, viewed 16 October 2016, <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0005/geo.php>.

Korff, J. 2016, ‘Mainstream media coverage of Aboriginal issues’, viewed 14 October 2016, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/media-coverage-of-aboriginal-issues>.

Kurtz, D., Nyberg, J., Van Den Tillaart, S. and Mills, B. 2008, ‘Silencing of voice: an act of structural violence’, Journal of Aboriginal Health, viewed 22 October 2016, < http://naho.ca/documents/journal/jah04_01/08SilencingVoice_53-63.pdf>.

McQuerie, A. 2016, ‘If you think Aboriginal women are silent about domestic violence, you’re not listening’, The Guardian, 5 October 2015, viewed 21 October 2016, < https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/05/if-you-think-aboriginal-women-are-silent-about-domestic-violence-youre-not-listening>.

Meadows, M. 2001, Voices in the wilderness, Greenwood Publishing Group, California, U.S.A.

Sweet, M. 2009, ‘Cause or effect? How media affects indigenous people’, viewed 21 October 2016, < http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=3149>.

Tucker, A. 2016, ‘Media and the perpetuation of western bias: deviations of ideality’, Institute for Community Prosperity, viewed 16 October 2016, < https://mtroyal.ca/cs/groups/public/documents/pdf/icp_angie_studentreport.pdf>.