Media Analysis Article 1 – Caster Semenya – Alex Jones


Media Analysis Article 1 Outline

For my media analysis article outline I will be analysing two online articles that cover the topic of sports journalism in regards to gender politics. I will focus on the topic of gender politics with the controversy that surrounds Caster Semenya, an Olympic athlete with Hyperandrogenism.

The two articles I will be analysing will be:

‘Rio Olympics: Caster Semenya caught in middle of gender politics’ by Nicole Jeffery, which was published in The Australian in August 2016. The second article, ‘Understanding the Controversey Over Caster Semenya’ was written by Jere Longman and was published on NY Times in August 2016.

Both articles have central arguments with supporting claims that the treatment on Caster Semenya has been unfair and they have underlying opinions that she should be able to compete in the Olympics as a female athlete. These arguments are portrayed and expressed differently in both articles, as Jeffery’s central arguments is explicitly stated in the first line, however, Logman’s central argument is made throughout the article with supporting claims and is not explicit. There are no explicit or obvious assumptions that the authors have made about the audience, instead they are directing their articles to a neutral audience that do not have an opinion as of yet. Both articles can be considered persuasive in the argument that they are supporting Semenya and her participation in Olympic female running events, and are persuading their audience to convince them that it is not her fault she was born this way. Both articles contain elements of opinion but are written around a central argument with supporting claims through facts, authority and ethics.





Media Analysis Article 1

Alexandia Jones

Word Count: 1, 571

The controversy surrounding Olympic athlete Caster Semenya and her gender has been around since she first competed in the Olympics in 2008. A lot of debate over gender politics in sport journalism has been focused on Semenya in the past few years, with people questioning whether or not it is far to let her run in female events. Semenya has a condition called Hyperandrogenism where she naturally has a higher level of the hormone Testosterone in her body. There have been conflicting opinions on the debate, with one argument being that it is unfair for her to run in female events when she is ‘not 100% female’. The other argument is that she has been treated unfairly with invasions of privacy of testing and should be allowed to run as a female, because that is how she was brought up and that is how she lives. Two articles with similar viewpoints about this topic have been chosen to analyse. The first article, ‘Rio Olympics: Caster Semenya caught in middle of gender politics’ by Nicole Jeffery was published in The Australian in August 2016. The second article, ‘Understanding the Controversey Over Caster Semenya’ by Jere Longman was published on NY Times in August 2016. Both articles were posted recently and in the same period, and they also share a similar view on Semenya. Both articles agree that the treatment on Semenya has been unfair, however, these are both conveyed in different ways and through different techniques. Both articles are evaluative arguments that give a central argument of their own opinions and beliefs – which is that Semenya should be allowed to compete as a woman and should not be treated unfairly or scrutinized and punished for how she was born. There are no explicit or obvious assumptions that the authors have made about the audience, instead they are directing their articles to a neutral audience that do not have an opinion as of yet. Both articles can be considered persuasive in the argument that they are supporting Semenya and her participation in Olympic female running events, and are persuading their audience to convince them that it is not her fault she was born this way.



Jeffery’s central argument is incredibly explicit and is stated in the opening line of the article: “Caster Semenya has done nothing wrong”.


Longman’s central argument, however, is not explicitly stated but it is reiterated by supporting claims throughout the article. The central argument is that: Semenya is being treated unfairly and she should not be punished for being born the way she is. The supporting claims emphasize how she has been treated unfairly and justify why she shouldn’t be treated like this.


Firstly, I will analyze some key claims made in Longman’s article that support the central argument.


“Female athletes above the testosterone threshold of 10 nanomoles per liter – considered at the lower end of the male range – faced the prospect of invasive, humiliating and potentially risky measures if they wanted to continue competing. These included hormone-suppressing drugs and surgery to remove internal testes, which can produce testosterone.”


This claim appeals to a combination of ethics and facts, with the facts explaining testosterone levels to the reader. The rest of the claim appeals to ethics, with the description and use of language of “invasive”, “humiliating” and “potentially risky”. This claim also appeals to popular opinion, as Longman assumes the reader will agree that these measures are unethical and unfair.


Another key claim that supports the key argument is:

“At this point, it does not matter… The court said it had been “unable to conclude that hyperandrogenic female athletes may benefit from such a significant performance advantage that it is necessary to exclude them from competing in the female category.”


The claim: “At this point, it does not matter” is justified by the warrant that is stated directly after the claim, which is that it does not matter because it could not be proven that testosterone affects performance. “At this point, it does not matter” is a short and pithy statement that is effective in emphasizing how the debate does not matter because nothing could be tested. This highlights the persuasiveness of the text, as this bold statement is very strong and will capture the reader’s attention.


“The court ruling was the correct one. As the arbitration panel noted, science has not conclusively shown that elevated testosterone provides women with more of a significant competitive edge than factors like nutrition, access to coaching and training facilities, and other genetic and biological variations.”


This, much like the previous claim analyzed, contains a claim “The court ruling was a correct one”, which is then followed by its explicitly stated warrant which appeals to facts and authority. It appeals to a combination of these because it refers to the research from science, and it also appeals to authority from the use of reference to the arbitration panel. This claim supports the central argument from demonstrating that Longman agrees with the court ruling and he justifies that Semenya shouldn’t be treated unfairly with the appeal to authority and facts.


“All Olympians have some exceptional traits. That is why they are elite athletes.”


This claim has no justification but uses inductive reasoning to come to the conclusion that “all Olympians have some exceptional traits”. Longman writes under the assumption that all of his readers share the same opinions and beliefs that Olympic athletes have exception traits and this is why they are elite athletes. At the same time, this statement has underlying connotations of the belief that all Olympic athletes have exceptional traits, and therefore it is acceptable that Semenya has a naturally increased level of Testosterone in her body because all athletes are special in a way and they all have ‘exceptional traits’.


Longman then explores the counter argument of if in fact Semenya competing is unfair. He begins by doing this by defending his counter claims:


“Experts do not suggest that Semenya has taken banned substances. No one serious is calling her a man. No prominent voices suggest that separate categories should not exist for women’s and men’s sports. But many remain concerned that women’s sports will be threatened if some athletes are allowed to compete with a testosterone advantage…”


He then goes on to write:


“In a sport once dominated by white Europeans, said Madeleine Pape of Australia, who competed against Semenya in the 2009 world championships, women who have fought so hard for the right to compete and for sustainable financial support can feel threatened by the rising success of a faster competitor. Especially, Pape said, if that athlete is non-gender-conforming and is married to another woman, as Semenya is.”


The use of this quote makes Longman’s article and argument more objective, as he explores counter arguments counter claims that suggest it might be unfair for Semenya to compete. The fact that he explores the counter side of the argument gives his piece more objectivity and considers another audience for his piece, however, overall his underlying tone and message is persuading the audience that Semenya should be allowed to comepete as a woman.


“Meanwhile, Semenya’s best performance at 800 metres of 1 minute 55.33 seconds, which is not the word record, is about 12 percent slower than the men’s record of 1:40.91.”


This is a factual claim made by Longman which supports the central argument – that Semenya should be allowed to compete as a woman and should not be treated unfairly. This claim can also be an example of persuasion used throughout the article, as Longman uses factual evidence to demonstrate to the reader that if her performance is not the same as the men’s times, then she is not a man, and is in fact a woman and should be allowed to compete fairly in women’s events without criticism.


“The Journal of the American Medical Association said it was appropriate for athletes who were born with a disorder of sex development and were raised as females to be allowed to compete as women. That sounds like the right call. Let athletes compete as who they are.”


This quote expresses more of the author’s opinion with the use of “That sounds like the right call. Let athletes compete as who they are”. This use of opinion makes the central argument of the piece more obvious.


“It would seem unfair to tell her, Sorry, you can’t run in the Olympics because of the way you were born.”


This is the concluding statement and it is where the central argument for Longman’s piece is most explicit and obvious. This is the opinion that the writer concludes with, emphasizing how unfair he thinks Semenya has been treated and how he thinks it is unfair that critics are trying to stop Semenya from competing as a woman.


Jeffery’s article argues the same main points and their central arguments are both very similar. However, there are more opinion statements present in Longman’s article and Jeffery’s article is more objective. Another key difference between the two articles is that Jeffery’s central argument is explicitly stated at the very beginning.


“Caster Semenya has done nothing wrong. That is the one thing that appears to be agreed in an increasingly fractious debate over her eligibility or suitability to compete in women’s competition. Through no fault of her own, the South African 800m champion has been thrust into the centre of a storm over the criteria to determine who is eligible to compete as a woman and how a woman is defined for the purpose of elite sport.”


Jeffery’s central arguent and underlying opinions and beliefs on the topic of gender politics surrounding Semenya is made clear from the first line and the first paragraph.


“Rival female athletes demanded she be subjected to sex testing and the international athletics federation conducted an inquiry after which Semenya was cleared to continue competing.”


Jeffery then claims that Semenya’s ‘rivals’ demanded she be sex tested, however, her results were cleared. The use of the word ‘rivals’ persuades the reader that Semenya is being treated unfairly and people are against her. This claim supports the central argument when it appeals to facts, stating that the results were clean. There is no warrant for this claim.


“Semenya had been found to have an intersex condition (both male and female sexual characteristics) and had been put on medication to limit her testosterone production to “normal” female range… For the next five years, Semenya ran well but spectacularly. She finished second at the 2011 Olympics world titles and won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, but never approached her blistering 2009 pace (1:55.45).”


This counter claim appeals to facts, based on Semenya’s past results. It explores how when Semenya was given testosterone lowering drugs, it enhanced her performance and did not run as fast. This is a counter claim for the central argument and suggests that the increased testosterone levels in Semenya’s body affect her performance. Using this counter claim, Jeffery’s article gains objectivity and may be considered more factual, less bias and neutral from the reader.


“The IAAF could not produce actual evidence that high natural testosterone production gave women an unfair advantage. The CAS suspended the IAAF rule but said it would review its decision if the IAAF came back with evidence within two years.”


This claim appeals to facts and authority by referencing facts from the IAAF. It supports the central claim and the persuading argument that Semenya has done nothing wrong, and naturally increased levels of testosterone may not even affect performance because there is no proof.


“Complicating matters is that scientists agree that there is no hard and fast line between the male and female genders. It is a spectrum, so any division would be arbitrary.”


Jeffery uses another claim here to support the central argument and appeals to authority to give the argument more reliability and validity.


“Advocates for intersex athletes to be allowed to run without testosterone limits (and therefore medical intervention) argue that her case is proof that they do not have an unfair advantage over other women.”


This claim uses an appeal to popular opinion to support the central argument, that Semenya has done nothing wrong and it is not her fault that she was born this way. This claim appeals to popular opinion because it cannot be considered a fact and advocators are not an authority they represent regular people such as the audience that have an opinion or a belief. This claim is also used to persuade the audience of the central argument.


“Daryl Adair, associate professor of sports management at the University of Technology in Sydney, has followed this issue closely and believes Semenya is being unfairly targeted.”


Jeffery uses an appeal to authority and a quote from someone that they assume the audience will trust. So firstly, there is assumption that the audience will trust this source and believe it is legitimate. Secondly, Jeffery uses the placement of this quote to use authority to persuade the audience that the treatment on Semenya has been wrong.


“It has less than a year to do so before its hyperandrogenism rule is thrown out permanently, which would plunge the future of female sport into ever more uncertain waters.”


The concluding sentence ends quite a neutral note, with the acknowledgement that if this situation is not fixed and a decision is not met then there will be even more controversy within the sport. This claim appeals to consequence and precedence. It appeals to consequence because Jeffery is stating that gender politics will worsen if a decision is not come to and precedence, because it has happened in the past with other athletes.





Articles Used:

‘Rio Olympics: Caster Semenya caught in middle of gender politics’ by Nicole Jeffery.

Published in the The Australian, 17th August 2016.



‘Understanding the Controversey Over Caster Semenya’ by Jere Longman.

Published on NY Times, 18th August 2016.

Saving or Endangering Refugees: The ‘Stop the Boats’ Debate

By Brianna Kerr (5015548)

Operation Sovereign Borders or the ‘Stop the Boats’ policy is a contentious government strategy aimed at stopping the maritime arrivals of asylum seekers on Australian shores. It is an operation that has divided both the Australian public and several political parties. One side of the argument is in support of accepting asylum seekers to ensure their safety, provide opportunity and abide by international human rights expectations. The opposing argument is against receiving refugees who travel via boat because it breaches sovereignty and security as well as impacts on the local economy.  To exemplify how this divisive nationwide perspective transcends into the media, this paper will scrutinise and compare two opinion pieces about the issue and explore the argumentative tools they respectively utilise to capture their intended audiences.

The two articles that will be analysed are:

“Stopping boats doesn’t save lives – it puts them in danger” Anna Shea

“Policy to stop the boats is working to save lives” The Australian

Both articles provide well-founded perspectives about the asylum seeker debate and as their titles elude, they emit oppositional stances. It is initially interesting to note who composed the articles to make the reader aware of some potential bias. The first article is by-lined as an opinions piece by Anna Shea who is a refugee researcher at Amnesty International. The second has not been authored by one journalist but rather, has been by-lined as an opinions piece by The Australian, suggesting its content is representative of the publication itself. Shea’s vested interest in refugee rights and The Australian’s classically conservative perspective have inarguably coloured the two articles and this was clear upon further analysis.  To introduce the core of the articles, let’s first identify their primary claims:

Anna Shea

Primary Claim:

The government’s decision to stop asylum seeker vessels from reaching Australian shores is wrong.

The Australian

Primary Claim:

Tony Abbot’s decision to stop the boats was a positive choice.

Shea’s claim is adverse to the government and believes the policy is, in its entirety, negative. Whereas The Australian supports the prime minister and overwhelmingly sees the policy’s merit. However, irrespective of their difference, they are similar in their style. Both claims subjectively assess the policy, the actors involved in its creation and the people that are affected by it. Obviously, however their stances are justified through different stances.

Shea has arranged her argument to introduce the claim instantly, causing an immediate resonance with the reader.  She continues this argumentative sequence throughout, constantly reiterating her claim to ensure a compelling case. It can be argued that Shea’s article is inclusive of evaluative, recommendatory and causal elements.

It is evaluative because it passes judgement about the asylum seeker situation and is both coloured by personal perspectives and experience.

“Rich nations are simply not doing enough to share the responsibility for hosting the world’s refugees, with poor countries doing most of the heavy lifting.”

The claim can also be classified as recommendatory because it attempts to evoke a change of behaviour from the audience and the government in how they approach refugees and the way politicians interact with the nation about the issue.

“This is why Amnesty International is calling on the Australian government to launch a Royal Commission – an independent public inquiry with the power to compel witnesses – to investigate and report on allegations of criminal and unlawful acts committed by Australian officials, including allegations of payments made to crew and ill-treatment at sea.”

The recommendatory tone of this extract, with active verbs like ‘calling on’, ‘to investigate and report’, is intended to conjure a response from those who are being targeted.

And finally, the claim is partially causal because Shea threatens that if the Australian government does not change their attitude, worse outcomes will follow.

“Mr Abbott is urging Europe to become more like Australia. The type of world this would lead to is frightening to contemplate.”

The use of emotive language, ‘urging’ and ‘frightening’ is intended to evoke an empathetic reaction and reiterate the causal possibilities of the policy.

The combination of evaluation, recommendation, and causal elements in the type of argument that Shea presents contributes to its success.

Alternately, the argument The Australian presents is more factual and evaluative. The Australian’s factual argument is justified by appeals to authority through incorporation of sources that are accepted as widely credible.

As Immigration Minister Scott Morrison noted yesterday, 419 asylum-seekers had arrived in the same period last year. The government should continue to take a strong approach to vessels from Indonesia.

The use of authoritative sources like Scott Morrison acts to supply validity to the argument and, when combined with numeric statistics, it increases the level of validity. The issue that arises from relying on facts, especially evidence from a political source that has defined predispositions, is that it can alternately lessen the legitimacy of one’s argument. A liberal supporter reading the above quote would agree but perhaps not someone that is in favour of the Labor party. Using factual argument that comes from a contentious source means that it relies heavily on the evaluative presumption of the reader as to whether or not they will be convinced.

As such, elements of evaluation are also present, with content that passes judgement on counter-arguments as well as evaluation of the issue from a pro-stance. The way The Australian has arranged their case is central to its argumentative poignancy. By providing counter-arguments initially, it makes opportune the ability to build up on the argument rather than exercising the most important point first. In the opening paragraph of the article, The Australian presents a number of counter positions:

“Labor denounced these policies as unworkable, but ended up adopting offshore processing as its signature policy. The Greens were emphatic that turning back boats would never work. And their barrackers at the ABC and Fairfax often chimed in, arguing that offshore processing and turning back boats was a policy destined to fail.”

The article then precedes to dismantle these counter arguments with strong justification, concreting their evaluative claim.

“But, as this newspaper reported yesterday, up to five asylum-seeker vessels have been successfully turned or towed back to Indonesia by Australian officials in the past month with the knowledge of Indonesian authorities.”

The transition from explaining counter-points to debating their accuracy was an effective way to cement their stance. The combination of fact and evaluation incites a well-balanced argument that appeals to two types of audiences; those that respond to fact and those that respond to emotion.

Both The Australian and Shea provide arguments that are explicitly subjective, with each one conveying their own arguments convincingly. However, the conclusive nature of their arguments is dependent on the article’s claims being substantiated through varying justifications.

Claims and justifications accordingly rely on an underlying warrant or widely accepted worldview to ensure their argumentative success. Sometimes however, the combination of a claim, supported by justification and a strong warrant can be refuted if an informal fallacy is present. Thus below, justifications, warrants and informal fallacies are explored in regards to the two articles.

When analysing the justifications in both Shea and The Australian’s article, it is interesting to note the trend of oppositional claims causing contradictory justifications. This is exemplified in the table below:



Anna Shea: The government’s decision to stop asylum seeker vessels from reaching Australian shores is wrong because… It puts refugees in inherent danger It is causing illegal activity It characterises us as less ethically and socially capable than other countries
The Australian: Tony Abbott’s decision to stop the boats was a positive choice because… It is saving people’s lives


It is stopping illegal activity It exemplifies our strong stance on national security and sovereignty

The above will now be explained in greater detail:


The government’s decision to stop asylum seeker vessels from reaching Australian shores is wrong because it puts refugees in inherent danger.

In one incident, asylum seekers and the crew from a boat turned back in late May 2015 told me that Australian officials transferred them from their large, well-provisioned vessel into two inferior and overcrowded boats, containing insufficient fuel, and told the crew to take them to Indonesia. When one of the boats ran out of fuel, half the passengers and crew then had to do a risky transfer to the other vessel while at sea.

The above extract also appeals to ethical norms of human safety, protective rights, as well as the right to seek asylum. It also appeals to emotions through analogies and adjectival language like ‘inferior’, ‘overcrowded’, and ‘risky’. This justification relies on the warrant that putting refugees in a compromising situation is inhumane. Yet, the issue that arises here is the presentation of an almost post hoc argument because, to assume that the action of turning the boats away directly correlates with or causes immediate danger, is not entirely verifiable.

JUSTIFICATION 1 – The Australian

Tony Abbott’s decision to stop the boats was a positive choice because it is saving people’s lives.

“Up to five asylum-seeker vessels have been turned or towed back to Indonesia by Australian officials in the past month…”

“No boats have arrived in Australia in the past three weeks because the policy of boat turn-backs, or tow backs, is working.”

This appeals to the ethical norm that the preservation of life is of the utmost importance, a value that is assumed to be widely held. The claim and justification rely on the warrant that any policy that focuses on saving lives is inherently positive. However, it could be argued that the informal fallacy present here is a non sequitur claim because it is illogical to say that it is better to stop people from coming here to save lives because refugees are commonly fleeing to escape dire circumstances.


The government’s decision to stop asylum seeker vessels from reaching Australian shores is wrong because it breaks international law and human rights clauses.

“In our report By Hook Or By Crook: Australia’s Abuse Of Asylum Seekers At Sea, we provide compelling evidence that boat “turn backs” (or “push backs”) not only violate international law, but put people in danger, are accompanied by human rights abuses such as unlawful detention and denial of medical care, and – in at least one apparent case – involve the payment of money to boat crews, which would qualify as a crime under Australian and international law.”

Unlike The Australian who framed illegal activity as pertaining to the action of the refugees, Shea targets the misconduct of international authorities in upholding the law. Whilst utilising the same justification as The Australian – an appeal to authority – Shea manipulates it to align with her argument. As quoted above, the utilisation of inductive reasoning, based on a report by Amnesty International, is effective in appealing authoritative means. The warrant that this relies on is that human rights laws are paramount to any other laws. The fallacy present with this entire argument however, is regarding facts and reliability. Shea’s argument is based around the aforementioned Amnesty International report and, as noted at the end of the article, she is employed by the organisation. This could be interpreted as a vested interest and thus puts into question her stance and the validity of her argument.

JUSTIFICATION 2 – The Australian:

Tony Abbott’s decision to stop the boats was a positive choice because it is stopping illegal activity.

“This is an evil trade facilitated by criminals. If Australians were engaged in this illegal activity, Indonesia would not tolerate it.”

This argument appeals to the counter of negative consequences and also employs an appeal to comparison by situating the Australian attitude alongside the Indonesian perspective. The justification relies on the warrant that illegal activity is inherently bad and should be stopped at all costs. The issue with this is the potential for it to be a slippery slope or hasty over generalisation of the complex issue of asylum seekers. It is a slippery slope because labelling people fleeing from warzones or adverse situations as ‘criminals’ is stipulative. It can be classified as a stipulative definition because there is debate and confusion about the status of refugees in terms of the law. This justification also relies on the evaluative presumption that it is more important to stop illegal activity than it is to be humanitarian.


The government’s decision to stop asylum seeker vessels from reaching Australian shores is wrong because it characterises us as less ethically and socially capable than other countries.

“What Mr Abbott has unwittingly demonstrated to the world is just how far out of line Australia’s approach to refugees has become.”

“Part of the reason that Australia’s approach to refugees has drifted so far from the rest of the international community’s is the government’s success at shielding border control matters from public scrutiny.”

“Mr Abbott is urging Europe to become more like Australia. The type of world this would lead to is frightening to contemplate.”

The comparison of Australia’s policies to other countries that are presented as doing the correct thing, appeals to a sense of customary practice and precedent of behaviour exemplified in developed nations. It relies on the warrant that Australia is not as ethical or accepting as other countries of similar standing. In relation to the above quote, Shea offers an Ad hominem argument by adding an irrelevant judgement of Abbott when attempting to evaluate the asylum seeker issue. By implicating a person without reason, it detracts from her point. Value laden language like unwittingly detracts from the overall message of the Australian government failing holistically and also adds an element of a straw person argument that attempts to attack the oppositional perspective through badgering or slandering.

JUSTIFICATION 3 – The Australian: Tony Abbott’s decision to stop the boats was a positive choice because it exemplifies Australia’s strong stance on national security and sovereignty.

“Tony Abbott’s promise to ‘stop the boats’ was iron-clad; it did not come with any wriggle room.”

“Mr Natalegawa [Indonesian Foreign Minister] says he will not allow Indonesia’s sovereignty to be violated. But nor should Australia allow its sovereignty to be compromised by boats coming from Indonesia.”

This appeals to governmental authority and also to positive consequences. This relies on the warrant that refusing refugees and sending them to their home country is positive for economic growth. This is an evaluative presumption that economic growth is more important than the refugee crisis.

Above are six explanations of the justifications, warrants and informal fallacies present in the articles. Three represent an affirmative stance and three depict an anti-attitude. However, with all of the contradiction, conjecture and disagreement, the two articles do agree on one point. Both Shea and The Australian agree that the government needs to enhance communication with its voters about the issue to ensure they make informed decisions.

Shea claims:

“Australians have very little idea of what happens when government boats intercept asylum seeker vessels, and government officials continuously invoke the phrase “on water matters” to avoid providing any information about what happens during these turn back operations.”

“The Australian public has no real way to verify whether Australian officials are actually saving people’s lives at sea, or putting them at risk.”

The Australian argues:

“Mr Morrison, however, can do much better to keep the public informed of progress in stemming the flow of boats.”

“The government must do better to communicate with voters.”

Both arguments appeal to popular opinion that the government is not transparent enough with their policies and both rely on the warrant that democratic governments should be brazen with their strategies and citizens should be made aware of all facets. It is thought-provoking that two arguments that are so contradictory agree on one of their most fundamental points.

Throughout the analysis of the two articles it is clear that they present a dichotomy of perspectives but one of the most interesting things about analysing argumentation is the way even the most cohesive arguments sometimes fail to change ones perspective. When comparing the two articles and their argumentative techniques, it is clear to me that The Australian presents a more substantiated and well-balanced claim; it is both factual and evaluative whilst maintaining low levels of informal fallacy. However, it did not convince me that turning away refugees is a positive thing, irrespective of its argumentative perfection. My difficulty to agree comes from a moral differentiation with what The Australian presents and thus I think it is important to note that what we identify with about a topic relies on our preconceptions as much as the quality of the argument.



Media Analysis Article 1- Climate Change, Zach Martorana z5017581

The two articles analysed focus on the climate change debate. Maurice Newman’s opinion article argues that climate change is a hoax that is used by the United Nations (UN) to stir up controversy and thus gain more support and influence on the international political sphere. Alternatively Jeff Sparrow believes that climate change is a real concern. His opinion article is a direct criticism of Newman’s and seeks to sarcastically shut down Newman’s logic, whilst simultaneously promoting the urgency for global action on climate change. When analysing any two media texts, it is crucial to consider the various influences on the author’s and their motivation for publication. Ultimately, these two articles provide for an interesting analysis as both articles although having opposing opinions on the matter, together reinforce the implications of climate change policy on the world.

Firstly, it is important to briefly define what climate change entails. Climate change is a negative change in global and regional climates that is caused by increased levels of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This is believed to be the direct result of increased levels of human industrialisation, technological progression and the excessive burning of fossil fuels.

Maurice Newman’s article ‘The UN is using climate change as a tool not an issue’, is an opinion piece that argues that climate change is fake. Not only is climate change fake however, it is also a scheme that the UN are pressing on an international level to seek power. Immediately, it is obvious that Newman rejects all claims that climate change may be a real issue. He begins his article in a particular way that resembles climate change as a barbaric conspiracy.


“It’s a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models we are told prove the link between human CO2 emissions and catastrophic global warming have been found, after nearly two decades of temperature stasis, to be in error. It’s not surprising.”


Instantly the reader is exposed to a statistic, one that denies the validity of much of the study surrounding climate change. This primarily reveals Newman’s anti-global warming perspective. Emphasis on language is particularly articulated in phrases such as “It’s not surprising,” which implies that these facts should be obvious to readers, and that climate change advocates are intentionally fooling society. His claim that climate change is not a real issue is strongly presented from the beginning with the underlying warrant that previous statistics that support climate change, have only been exaggerations by clueless radicals. Evidently however, this claim by Newman has not been supported by any apparent appeal to authority. Rather Newman justifies this claim by distracting his readers by stating that this “extravagance” has been happening for the past “50 years.” This justification heightens the tone of conspiracy, in which climate change “catastrophists” have been manipulating society into supporting something they know nothing about.


According to Newman if climate change is not an issue why should society support the UN?


“Why then, with such little evidence, does the UN insist the world spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on futile climate change policies?”


By leaving a question for the audience just after outlining the secret manipulation from climate change “catastrophists,” Newman influences the audience to subconsciously reconsider their perspective on the issue. At the same time it is evident that Newman assumes his readership supports his perspective. As he is writing for The Australian, much of the readership tends to lean towards his right-wing perspective. Newman uses exaggeration, “hundreds of billions,” to heighten the significance of his claim to gain support, and thus further convince readers that they are already right. By assuming this support from the reader, Newman immediately answers his own question.


“The real agenda is concentrated political authority. Global warming is the hook.”


Here readers are exposed to the primary claim of Newman’s article. The UN according to Newman is using global warming to increase their influence on the international political stage. However, he even extends upon this by inexplicitly representing the UN as initiators of a new world, one in which they are the tyrannical dictator and society acts as the submissive and ignorant subjects.


“Calls to respond to climate change are about a new world order under the control of the UN.”


This is not supported by any evidence but is rather supported by his strong opinion. By representing the UN in this way, Newman justifies his overall warrant that climate change is a hoax, that has been used for years to persuade people to support a cause that is not a real issue. Moreover, it is evident that Newman has brought an already anti-UN perspective into his writing, regardless of the topic of climate change.


“UN support will be assured through promised wealth redistribution from the West, even though its anti-growth policy prescriptions will needlessly prolong poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy for the world’s poorest.”


Here, Newman’s anti-UN sentiment is blatant, and is not supported with any justification or evidence. It seems here, that he has thrown in this sentence in a manner to quickly fuel an emotional response from the reader. He has deliberately painted a particular image for his audience in which the UN are manipulative, tyrannical and ultimately detrimental to global society. Furthermore, again it is evident that Newman assumes readership support, with no fundamental support to this claim that the UN actually serves to “prolong poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy for the world’s poorest.”


Towards the conclusion of the article, Newman emphasises the significant pressure the UN will place on nations to support their cause and draws his readers in on a cultural level, by directly appealing to Australians.


“Australia will be pressed to sign even more futile job-destroying climate change treaties.”


This appeal to consequences that directly impacts Australians, heightens the negative perspective towards climate change. Not only according to Newman is climate change a waste of time and money, it will result in more Australians being unemployed. This is a significant claim to make to a readership that is already assumed to be on his side of the climate change debate and heightens his own support.


“Enough is enough,” emotively ends the article, stressing his attitude that Australians and the world have had enough of hearing about a topic that is not important to them.


The tone of the entire article is that it is ‘obvious’ that climate change promoters are radicals who are embellishing the truth, with no appropriate scientific evidence to support them. Newman perceives that the UN are encouraging global support to an issue that will only serve their own interests, and thus further raise inequality on a global scale. Finally, the article is a recommendatory opinion piece. Although it doesn’t explicitly invite people to agree with his perspective, the warrant that people should ‘wake up’ to the reality that climate change is primarily built on manipulation, is strongly present.


Jeff Sparrow criticises Newman’s article in his opinion piece, ‘Maurice Newman v the UN: logic behind the crazy.’ Published by the primarily left-wing ABC, Sparrow fundamentally denies Newman’s claim that climate change is fake, by sarcastically representing Newman as idiotic and without logic.


Sparrow’s criticism of Newman is immediately represented after he quotes Newman, “Calls to respond to climate change are) about a new world order under the control of the UN,” he is quick to put down his argument.


“The “New World Order” is a key phrase in the lexicon of American paranoiacs, a term ubiquitous on the websites of gun nuts, religious fanatics and survivalists.”


This highlights Sparrow’s claim that climate change is a real global issue and the UN are not fabricating conspiracies for political gain. By referring to Newman’s claim of a “New World Order,” as a term used by “gun nuts, religious fanatics and survivalists,” it puts Newman in the same category as these extremists. Moreover, it justifies his claim by reinforcing that climate change must be a real issue as only the illogical and ‘crazy’ people refuse to believe its happening. Sparrow quickly denounces Newman’s article as irrational. He moves on to argue that Newman specifically criticises the UN as they are an easy target, an “emotionally satisfying enemy.”

“With a name that sounds like the moniker of some cartoon super-villains. It’s big and it’s powerful and a bit mysterious.”


Sparrow attempts to understand Newman’s logic by sarcastically comparing it to the logic of a child. Evidently Sparrow is attempting to describe the UN in a way that suits Newman’s conspiracy generating UN. The underlying sarcasm serves to ridicule Newman and promote the worldview of Sparrow, a worldview that he fundamentally shares with his targeted audience and publisher. This serves to further undermine Newman’s argument.


However, throughout the article, it seems Sparrow becomes more and more explicit in his criticism of Newman.


“Why does Newman flirt with the rhetoric of bonkderom?”


The immediate tone of Sparrow here is highly critical to further negatively portray Newman as a radical. Up to this point in the article, Sparrow has primarily built a strong criticism against Newman, and against all anti-climate change thinkers. According to Sparrow, his readers generally support his view, and so he leaves this question here to further stir up disagreement against Newman’s perspective. The language embedded in “flirt” serves to heighten the significance of Newman’s negative representation. Moreover, the use of the word “bonkderom” greatly exaggerates this depiction of stupidity that according to Sparrow, Newman embodies.


“Climate change isn’t happening; it’s happening but it’s not caused by humans; it’s happening and it’s caused by humans but we should just adapt to it.”


Sparrow imitates what he perceives to be the thought process of someone who is against supporting any action for climate change. This use of imitation accentuates the concept of radicalism, stupidity and the illogic of these people who do not agree with him. Again this is an example of sarcasm that inexplicitly negatively represents people against climate change policy and thus further leads readers to support Sparrow. Furthermore, by exposing the ‘truth’, Sparrow in this context seems logical and intelligent.


Although Sparrow’s opinion article is fronted by specific emotionally charged criticism, he does refer to an important statistic that essentially reveals a certain degree of research to reinforce his opinion.


“Analysis of 2258 peer-reviewed articles published between November 2012 and December 2013 found that only one of the 9136 authors rejected anthropogenic global warming.”


This appeal to authority serves to bring readers onto Sparrow’s side of the climate change debate (in case there were any who were doubting him). Here he fundamentally claims that 99 per cent of articles published on global warming support a call for action, action to better sustain the global climate. By appealing to authority Sparrow strengthens the validity of his claims and argumentation. It is perhaps his strongest justification in his entire article.


Primarily both opinion articles assume that their publisher and intended targeted audience both share the same worldviews. Through the use of emotive language, as well as a combination of subtle and blatant criticism, they collectively outline the implications of climate change policy and its impact on the globe, regardless of whether they believe it is a global concern or not.





Articles Used







By Matthew Shean z3332248

Greyhound racing in Australia was rocked to its core last year when investigative program Four Corners exposed rampant cases of animal cruelty and illegal acts of live baiting within the industry. The damning expose, entitled ‘Making a Killing,’ seriously called into question the validity and morality of the sport sparking widespread public opinion and media coverage. The issue became even further maligned when NSW Premier Mike Baird moved to ban the ‘dishies’ in their entirety, just last month passing a bill through the lower house of NSW parliament which will see greyhound tracks across the state lock their gates as of July 1, 2017. Media commentaries intensely debated whether or not the decision by the NSW Government, or, perhaps more superficially, the decision made by Mike Baird was the right one. As one of the most polarizing political figures in recent memory, the Premier again faced an eclectic composition of criticism and praise.

Two opinion pieces, “Admit it. Mike Baird has finally done something right with his greyhound ban” written by Ruby Hamad of, and “Mike Baird’s pandering to a noisy crowd with a greyhound ban is lazy politics” written by Patrick Carlyon of the Herald Sun, are two particular opposing views journalism pieces that paint an interesting picture of the media reaction to the ban. Analysing and comparing the two texts, it is interesting to note that both have chosen to approach this issue from a similar political perspective, that is, with a preconceived assumption that the ‘average’ reader will have a disliking for NSW Premier Mike Baird. In the case of Hamad’s article, this is a particularly peculiar stance giving she is very much in favour of the ban. Although it would be foolish to assume that this basic assumption made by both authors is representative of the wider public opinion of politics in NSW, it is nevertheless an interesting insight into both author’s assumed readerships.

For two articles that are contrasting in their views, it also interesting to note the way in which both article is pieced together. Ruby Hamad’s article is very much more of an argumentative piece than Carlyon’s, whose is arguably pure opinion. Hamad believes that her readership may not be totally aligned with her view and as such, she appeals to the facts much more regularly to try and sway her reader. Carlyon, assuming that his readers are already firmly in his corner, writes confidently and assertively, in a manner that dismisses all other views other than that of his own. Certainly, the two texts are made for an interesting comparison.

Firstly, let us delve into Hamad’s article published on, a lifestyle based website that exists as an online section of the Sydney Morning Herald. From the outset of Hamad’s article, it quickly becomes obvious that she is in favour of the decision to ban greyhound racing in NSW. She articulates this central claim explicitly in her headline, “Admit it. Mike Baird has finally done something right with his greyhound racing ban.” This headline is interesting twofold. First, Hamad calls it “his greyhound racing ban,” positioning the reader in a way that they are to assume the ban is entirely that of Premier Baird’s. In addition to this, Hamad’s calls for readers to “Admit it. Mike Baird has finally done something right,” is an evaluative presumption that readers, and perhaps Hamad herself, have disagreed with Baird in the past. In Hamad’s case, we are able to confirm this Labor alignment later on in the piece when she describes herself as an “inner city leftie.” Hamad’s urgings to “admit it” is in a way an admission that readers, or perhaps labor voters, may find it hard to be associated with Baird’s policies, but in this case, they should be. Hamad reiterates this point in the opening few paragraphs of the article:

Anyone else feel like they’ve woken up in Opposite Land this week? First, the NSW Liberal Government – not known for its compassion – dropped a bombshell: greyhound racing will be banned from July next year on account of systematic and widespread animal cruelty.

Given that this is the same government that foisted upon us wildly unpopular lockout and liquor licensing laws, as well as rampant over-development, suspicions that the government had plans for Glebe’s Wentworth Park were quickly aroused.”

In this way, Hamad is explicitly enacting the use of the Ad Populum argument. Used effectively, Hamad purposefully employs this claim in a bid to distance Baird’s previously ‘unpopular’ reforms from that of the greyhound ban. Thus, we can conclude that Hamad’s intended readership may harbour this dislike for Mike Baird due to the article targeting those of Labor, or ‘left-wing’ alignment.

With Hamad’s central claim explicitly stated and reiterated, she then starts about justifying her stance. One argument that is illustrative of Hamad’s extreme distain for the culture of greyhound racing is her opinion of the relationship between dogs and their trainers. She states:

“As for the greyhound trainers themselves, after getting busted killing underperforming dogs in their tens of thousands, as well as using other live animals as bait, they’ve suddenly located their own compassion, spilling tears at the prospect of having to put down their beloved dogs that are ‘part of the family.’ Well sure, if an animal you commodify, extract value from, and then kill when it is no longer financially useful, can ever truly be a part of your ‘family.’”

This is both an appeal to facts and an appeal to emotion from Hamad. The facts about the number of dogs killed, which Hamad later touches on again in the piece stating the “McHugh report (the special commission into animal cruelty in greyhound racing) is clear,” comes across as gruesome and unthinkable for a reader. The persuasive language adopted here by Hamad is also delicately crafted, words such as “busted” make the trainers out to be crooks that have been caught pulling the wool over our eyes. The use of the statement “spilling tears at the prospect of having to put down their beloved dogs that are ‘part of the family,’ is, of course, meant to be read as sarcastic, as essentially meaning the complete opposite; that greyhounds were and never will be ‘part of the family,’ when all they were ever useful for was financial gain. Assumedly, Hamad expects that readers will be of such a mind that they will be able to instantly detect such sarcasm, knowing at once that she can’t be serious with this assertion. This in effect, further serves to smear the legitimacy of the relationship between greyhound trainers and their dogs. For this argument to be adaptable, a reader must share a similar view to the one Hamad paints of a greyhound trainer. A view that trainers have absolutely no emotional connection to the dogs that they train, who simply discard the dogs with little to no sentiment once they are no longer financially viable. This of course, can be viewed as a Hasty Generalization. It would be safe to assume that not all dog owners and trainers share this impersonal and unimpassioned relationship with their dogs, yet Hamad attempts to create this image solely in strengthening her own argument.

Furthermore, Hamad goes on to dismiss the argument that greyhound racing shouldn’t be banned in fear of its affect to working class communities whom are “apparently” synonymous with greyhound racing. Hamad states that defending greyhound racing because of its ‘so-called’ link to the working class is “as patronizing as it comes.” Hamad uses the example of Wentworth Park, a greyhound racetrack in Sydney to challenge the thought that greyhound racing will only affect those families of lower incomes. She argues that the postcodes of Glebe (where Wentworth Park is located), Marrickville and Tempe are all now “coveted addresses,” infiltrated by higher income earners who have subsequently “pushed out the previously low-income, ethnic communities.” As Hamad relays, “to now watch these newer residents get huffy about banning dog racing because it may mean having to share ‘their’ inner city with high-rise apartment dwellers is rather something.”

Thus, having analyzed Hamad’s article, it is quite clear to see the assumptions under which she operates. Hamad writes for a reader who is politically aligned with the left, whom in the past has almost certainly disagreed with the current policies and reforms introduced by the current Liberal Premier, Mike Baird. However, through her works, Hamad aims to alter and convince her readership that this policy is in fact the right one. By appealing to the facts of the situation, as well as too the subtle undertones of emotion, Hamad has attempted to persuade her readers to a view that they may not have held from the start, urging them to essentially – “admit it. Mike Baird has finally done something right with his greyhound racing ban.”


Patrick Carlyon’s article, “Mike Baird’s pandering to a noisy crowd with a greyhound racing ban is lazy politics,” published by the Sunday Herald Sun offers a discerning contrast to that of Ruby Hamad’s. Unlike Hamad, Carlyon is strong in his conviction that the banning of the greyhound racing industry is a mistake. As such, Carlyon’s intended reader is expected to be one largely in line with his own views.

Like Hamad, Carlyon’s primary claim, that Mike Baird is wrong in banning the greyhound racing industry, is exhibited in both his headline and the early stages of his article:

“NSW Premier Mike Baird killed an industry earlier this month, then hung around just long enough for the easy plaudits. By the time talk turned to suicides, Baird was off on holiday, presumably to bask in the warmth of Twitterland.”

 Carlyon immediately conveys to a reader his opinion that the greyhound ban was an easy move by Baird, attracting “easy plaudits.” By stating Baird was on holiday not long after announcing the ban, (a matter of fact, Baird was on vacation with his family in QLD), Carlyon portrays Baird as dodging the real tough questions of the issue, instead insisting he took the easy route.

Interestingly, Carlyon’s article, like Hamad’s, makes light of the primary reason for the ban was in response to the “ghastly footage” exposed by the Four Corners investigation. Carlyon relays:

“The sport’s already spotted image dissolved in those scenes, as much for the routine manner of the cruelty of the exercise itself. Its revulsion was normal enough. Everyone shared it.”

 By acknowledging these shameful acts carried out by a small proportion of the industry, Carlyon assumes that his readership will be like-minded in too having seen and been disgusted by the uncovering’s. Instead of shying away from it, Carlyon admits that it needed to stop, just not by way of a complete ban.

Carlyon’s principal argument in supporting his claim is that the Special Commission of Inquiry report into the Greyhound racing industry was inconclusive and unable to “draw an inevitable conclusion.” Carlyon notes that the same inquiry was used in investigating greyhound racing in both Victoria and QLD, and “both states chose not to invoke bans.” This is a clear appeal to authority and comparison that showcases the NSW reaction, and that of Mike Baird to be one of “over-reaction.” “Anything other than a shock ban would not have cast Baird as the pained savior.” This exert from the text positions a reader to believe that Baird made the decision based on inconclusive and unsubstantiated findings. Instead, he did so in order to make himself appear more favorable in the public eye. “It just so happened that this pleased the crowd that shouts the loudest.” Again, this paints Baird in an extremely negative light, attempting to highlight to a reader that Baird is shaped by popular opinion, caring less about the important issue and whom it will affect, and more about his public image. Of course, as was the case with Hamad’s article, we can argue that this argument is an Evaluative Presumption by Carlyon. Nowhere in the text does he say why the inquiry was inconclusive; he just unjustifiably states that it was.

Continuing to analyse Carlyon’s article, the next justification he uses to persuade his reader in opposing the ban is through the immense impact it will have on the livelihoods of those directly involved in greyhound racing. As Carlyon states, “he (Baird) is seeking to end an industry said to be worth 10,000 jobs and $335 million a year.” This is without doubt an appeal to emotion, as Carlyon assumes his readership will feel sympathy for the thousands of people out of work, whom, presumably, will pay for the actions of a minority. “If you start banning things, you start hurting people you don’t expect to hurt,” writes Carlyon. This doubles as an appeal to consequences, as as of July 1, 2017, the futures of those working in the industry will be foreseeably cloudy.

Supporters of the ban, namely animal activist groups, are further dismissed by Carlyon as a means to bolster Baird and the ban. Carlyon states that these groups “tirelessly campaign against all forms of animal use in sport…some of them even oppose the perceived notion of a horse’s submission to humanity’s fatuous pursuits.” Here, Carlyon is attempting to subvert the opinion of animal activists by portraying them as “a small minority.” As Carlyon writes, “they campaign against all forms of animal use,” shows that the activists don’t have a specific vendetta against greyhound racing; they share this opinion amongst all sports involving animals. As such, Carlyon argues why greyhound racing has to be banned when others are not? He uses the example of activists opposing such a common leisure activity in horse riding to strengthen his argument. In this way, he positions the reader to view activists as fastidious beings, so caught up in their ways that they are disconnected to the rest of society, as how could any ‘normal person’ oppose horse riding. Without question, this argument harbors flavours of a Non-Sequiter fallacy, as Carlyon offers no real support to his claim.

Hence, with a similar analyse conducted on the article of Patrick Carlyon, we can see similarities and vast differences in the way he has positioned his readers to share in his view. Unlike Hamad’s article, Carlyon writes for a readership he assumes already shares in his opinion, and thus, is purely evaluative. It would be safe to assume that Carlyon is targeting a reader who has some form of disassociation or frustration towards Premier Mike Baird, and would therefore be critical of his latest decision to ban greyhound racing.

By largely appealing to consequences and emotion, Carlyon writes in a manner that displays an ‘us versus them’ mentality. In this way, Carlyon positions the reader to be angry and frustrated with Baird, and the “deep impact” this decision is said to have. In comparison, a reader is meant to feel “strong empathy for those that have done nothing wrong.”


In concluding, both of these texts have served as interesting case studies when examining the recent decision by the NSW government and Mike Baird to ban greyhound racing in NSW. Arguably, both articles are suggestive of a readership that is hostile towards the Premier, even despite the articles operating in opposition to one another. Although we can hardly argue this conclusively, based on the scope of the investigation, both articles are nonetheless suggestive of the current popularity, or, perhaps more accurately, unpopularity of NSW Premier Mike Baird in the eyes of his voters.



– Ruby Hamad – “Admit it. Mike Baird has finally done something right with his greyhound racing ban.”– July 14, 2016


– Patrick Carlyon – “Mike Baird’s pandering to a noisy crowd with a greyhound ban is lazy politics.” – July 17, 2016


2016 Mong Kok Unrest – Is it just an unreasonable riot or government responsibility?

2016 Mong Kok Unrest
by Hoi Tung Wong z5025558


Since the Umbrella Revolution(Occupy Movement) in 2014, the relationship between the public and the Hong Kong Police forced has become more and more strained due to many different controversies. In 8 February 2016, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) cracked down on unlicensed street hawkers during the Chinese New Year holidays. The Hong Kong Indigenous, a radical localist activist group formed after Occupy Movement, called for action online to shield the hawkers. Violent clashes broke out eventually between police and protesters. This incident is widely covered by media with different angles. The Hong Kong government has classified the incident as a “riot” and some media outlets. Since different media platform have different presumption of their readership, they report this incident with different names such as “Fishball Revolution”, “Mong Kong unrest” and “Mong Kong clash”. This article will focus on how different political journalisms evaluate the same social event differently and how they persuade their readers to believe what they construe.


This article will focus on the analysis and comparison of two contrasting English editorial. The first article is “Mong Kok unrest another wake-up call for Leung” by Shing-cheong Chung in the EJ insight on 24 February 2016, which its readerships are mostly the middle class people and intellectual. They assume that readers would have neutral stance toward the incident. The article is mainly a combination of evaluations and casual arguments. The second article from David Wong in China Daily on 22February 2016 is “Excuses for HK riot defy common sense” which involves more of evaluations and recommendations. China Daily’s readerships are mostly people from middle class and probably pro-China. They assume that the readers would mostly agree with the article’s stances of condemning the protesters in Mong Kok civil unrest.


The tittle, “Mong Kok unrest another wake-up call for Leung”, does not explicitly state the author’s stance. However, the using of ‘unrest’ to describe the incident reveals that the author does not hold a strong negative attitude to the incident. “Another wake-up call for Leung(The Chief Executive of Hong Kong)” reveals that the author thinks this incident could remind Leung of his deficiency. In the beginning of the article, Chung starts with a negative and disappointing tone using the word ‘despite’ and ‘insisted that there is no need’ to present his disappointment to Leung refusing call for an independent inquiry for such a serious social unrest. As the government has classified the incident as ‘riot’, it is also widely covered by many media platforms negatively. However, Chung’s article discusses the unrest with the angle focusing on the causes of this incident and how the incident reflects the complacency of the Hong Kong government and conflictual society.
Despite widespread calls for an independent inquiry into the underlying causes of the Mong Kok clashes, the Leung Chun-ying administration has insisted that there is no need for such a move.”



This article is a combination of casual claim and lots of evaluations. The second paragraph evaluates that the government’s actions after unrest. Chung uses some negative and emotive words such as ‘nosensical’ and ‘ridiculous’ to evaluate the government. However, the major claim of this paragraph is that the government’s complacency and total ignorance of the conflitual society are reflected but lack of justifications. The word ‘most alarming’ brings out the main idea of this article. Chungs tries to divert readers’ attentions from focusing on the violent actions as government presents. The word ‘mindset behind’ also leads readers to think more. He brings out that the unrest did not occur for no reason and those participants were not just simply ‘thugs’.


However, what is most alarming to me is not the nonsensical and ridiculous arguments that officials have presented, but the mindset behind it and what that tells us — the government’s complacency and total ignorance of the fact that public grievances and discontent in our society have already reached the tipping point and that an even more severe crisis could be in the making.”



Let’s see the primary claim of “Mong Kok unrest another wake-up call for Leung” first. It is a casual argument and it claims that the government refusing to open an inquiry for Mong Kog clashes shows that Leung’s government is complacent. Chung justifies that because the government has oversimplified the cause of the violence and it has categorically denied any connection between the clashes and the regime’s governance record.


“Such oversimplification of what happened that night and the simple-mindedness among our top officials could prove lethal in the end, for they fail to explain why basically the same bunch of young people who hadn’t thrown a single stone or set fire to anything during the Occupy Movement back in 2014 suddenly turned into violent and ruthless “rioters” this month.”



The other casual claim is that Mong Kok unrest is an alarm for Hong Kong. It is justified that because the same group of peaceful young protesters in Occupy Movement in 2014 have now become very radical and the government still oversimplifies the incident. The justification appeals to negative consequence. This argument shows to obvious warrant: there are lots of deep-rooted social problems making peaceful protesters become very angry and radical and simplifying the incident could bring serious consequence.


To make the argument more persuasive, the author also adds a paragraph as counter argument. It starts with blaming the protesters. He uses the words ‘violence’ and ‘was just another riot’ and describes the protesters as ‘some anti-social thugs’. He also mentions ‘there are no underlying social causes behind it’. However, at the end of this paragraph, he adds that it is just what the government thinks to tell readers that it is government’s views on the incident.


“The violence on the night of Feb. 8 was just another riot mounted by some anti-social thugs to pick a fight with the police and cause trouble, and there are no underlying social causes behind it whatsoever, the government thinks. All that needs to be done is to catch the criminals and put them behind bars, it feels.”



Chung also adds an evaluative rebuttal after the above counter argument. Referring to government’s views as what mentioned above, the government thinks the protests on the night of Feb 8 are ‘only’ ‘thugs’. Therefore, Chung evaluates that government’s views are ‘such a oversimplification’ and says that the simple-mindness of the Hong Kong top officials could cause a bad consequence. He has a rebuttal paragraph of the counter argument, however, lack of justification. He does not justify enough of why and how would the actions of Leung’s government causing bad consequences.


The article ends with evaluation statements with justification appeals to negative consequence. It claims that the chief executive’s action after the incident will only reinforce the worries and justifies that because the Leung’s government is completely ignoring the deep-rooted conflicts.


“The chief executive’s handling of the Mong Kok clashes will only reinforce the worries that his administration is completely ignoring the deep-rooted conflicts in our society.”



Wong starts the article with emotive language and a very negative tone. He uses the emotive words like “illusion”, “shattered” and “riot” which shows his strong stance of opposing the Mong Kong unrest and his denial attitude to peaceful image of Umbrella Revolution. This justification appeals to popular opinion.


“The illusion of a peaceful “Occupy” movement was shattered by the Mongkok riot recently. Many in Hong Kong were always strongly opposed to the “Occupy” movement for fears that it would not be peaceful.”



He justifies more about the reason he has this stance in the following paragraph. Wong uses many emotive and negative words to support this view believing “civil disobedience” is an excuse of protest in 2014 and Mong Kok riot is radical precedent that more radical protest would happen with using of the words like “pretext” and “pretense”. However, this operates evaluative presumption, a form of informal fallacy. The author assumes that the negative attitude toward the radical event with the pretext of “civil disobedience” will be necessarily applied without enough and logical justifications.


“Even if some of the occupiers genuinely intended to stage a peaceful protest, once a precedent is set for legitimatizing illegal and even criminal activities on the pretext of “civil disobedience” some people will further twist and distort this flawed logic. In the end, some of the participants will become radicalized and use the pretense of “civil disobedience” to mask the true violent nature of their actions.”



The primary claim of this article is the explanation of the support to the Mong Kok riot defies common sense. Wong justifies the reasons with three paragraphs. It shows his efforts in persuading the readers to believe the Mong Kong unrest is ridiculous. He says that the supporters keep trying to blame the police for riots is ridiculous.
“First, they tried to portray the incident where a police officer fired warning shots to protect his injured colleague lying on the ground from continued attacks by the mob as the only thing which happened that night. Ridiculous as this sounds; some people keep trying to blame the police for the riot.


Second, law enforcement actions against illegal hawkers have been turned into an excuse for the riot. There was even a cartoon depicting people wanting to eat fish balls but ending up having a police gun pointing at them.


Third, Western media started labeling the riot a “fish ball revolution” within hours. This was in an attempt to glorify it.”

Wong tries very to persuade readers opposing the riot. In one of this argument, he claims that everyone who loves Hong Kong should condemn the violence and work hard to help our community regain a sense of solidarity. He justifies that because residents in the special administrative region have been further polarized by the riot and the economy has suffered, which the justification appeals to negative consequences. The warrant of it is that the riot has adversely influenced Hong Kong. His using of the word “should” reveals that it is a type of recommendation argument.


“Residents in the special administrative region have been further polarized by the riot. And the economy, especially the tourism industry, has surely suffered another blow. Everyone who loves Hong Kong should condemn the violence and work hard to help our community regain a sense of solidarity.”

He ends the article with another evaluation. Wong claims that the thugs will operate riot again. He also justifies that because breaking the law often has few serious consequences and they could have a chance to become famous. This justification appeals to negative consequences and precedent. The warrant is that light penalty is not enough to deter people breaking law.


“The penalties handed out simply lacked any power to deter. From the point of view of these thugs, breaking the law often has few serious consequences. It provides them with an opportunity to become famous. So why not do so again?”



In Wong’s article, lots of negative and emotive terms are used to persuade people condemning the riot. Even the tittle shows his clear stances with the words such as “excuses”.


Compare the two article, Chung does not explicitly states his stance. However, blaming the government’s actions and downplays the violence reflects Chung’s stance of support the protesters. Wong does explicitly shows his stance by describing the incident with many negative and emotive words and use the term ‘riot’ to describe the incident. Both articles use many evaluative claims. Ching’s article focuses more on evaluating the consequence of the unrest and lack of the government’s action after the unrest. Wong’s article focuses more on evaluating the bad behaviour of the “rioters”. Chung’s article is relatively more objective with using less negative words. Wong’s article is relatively subjective with using many emotive words in the whole article but he is also more persuasive because his has more justifications in the article.





Same-sex marriage: what is a top priority to legislate marriage equality law

Same-sex marriage: what is a top priority to legislate marriage equality law

By Jiin Park

The same-sex marriage is one of the worldwide issues in recent years. The media constantly deals with the issues about the same- sex marriage and we can easily receive the media coverages which are about the same-sex marriage around us. While the media has been reporting a lot of articles which are related to the same-sex marriage issue everyday, each media coverage is written in clearly different perspectives because the issue is closely connected with many social issues such as religious issues and political issues and the public’s opinion is divided by pros and cons. The two opinion pieces about the same-sex marriage will be discussed. Both opinion pieces are basically about the same topic, however, the opinion pieces are written in different point of views and focusing on different social issues which are related to the same-sex marriage.

The first opinion piece is “The same-sex marriage debate and the right to religious belief” written by Paul Kelly of The Australian and the second opinion piece is “Major parties should cast aside internal party squabbles and work together for marriage equality” written by Alex Greenwich of The Daily Telegraph.

The first opinion piece is about the correlation between the marriage equality and the right of religious belief. The first opinion piece is written from social and religious perspective. The second opinion piece is approaching to the issue differently. It is focusing on the political angle toward the issue, dealing with the content how the government has treated the same-sex marriage issue. Although the two pieces are focusing on different social issues which are related to the same-marriage issue, the both authors of two opinion pieces have a same social perspective and agree with legalization of the same-sex marriage. Moreover, they both strongly express their suggestions about the issue. Two authors mutually suggest a few things – people, especially people who are in the political world, should seriously and carefully treat the same-sex marriage issue and try to figure out what the fundamental and ideological elements of the marriage equality.

The first opinion piece “The same-sex marriage debate and the right to religious belief” is obviously written in Kelly’s the positive outlook toward the same-sex marriage. The primary claim of the first opinion piece are the same-sex marriage issue is not seriously handled. Another primary claim is the harmony between religious right and human right, especially the freedom of the marriage is necessary to get the best answer for the debate about the same-sex marriage issue and the government does not consider the both positions to make a law for the same-sex marriage. Both primary claims are evaluative claim which appeals to social norm and consequences. As an opinion piece, in the piece, Kelly keeps appealing the two main claims which are his assertions.

Kelly’s first primary claim “the same-sex marriage issue is not seriously handled” is explicitly indicated. Kelly briefly mentions what the actual issues which are related to the same-sex marriage are, using the direct terms such as “the central issue” and “the real issue” in the first paragraph. The first claim is clearly indicated in the second last paragraph as well – “The politicians are not serious about this issue and neither is the media.” He defines the central issue is “invisible” which is negative term and means people’s ignorance about the issue. It makes the readers easily find what the main claim means. In addition, the detail explanation after the central issue helps the readers’ understanding about the primary claim. The following sentences from the first piece support the central claim.

“It seems to this point that none of the proposals for same-sex marriage or related policy prescriptions are satisfactory laws for passage by the Australian parliament.”

“As the years advance there has been –virtually no debate about the real issues surrounding same-sex ­marriage”

“Yet the majority media reaction to this situation — “let’s get on with the change” — is ignorant and irresponsible”

“Wilson advanced two propositions that shatter the haze of misinformation and emotion that surrounds this issue.”

Especially, quoting the interview of Tim Wilson who is Human Rights Commissioner explicitly support the first primary claim because Wilson has same perspective with Kelly and as Human Rights Commissioner, Wilson’s interview is strong and more effective.

Kelly directly reveals his negative view about the politicians’ actions, criticizing the politicians’ actions. He says “The politicians will protest but their protests are worthless,” and “The politicians are not serious about this issue and neither is the media.” He clearly represents his negative view for the first primary claim. The term “worthless” emphasises Kelly against the political treat which is not seriously concerning for the same-sex marriage.

On the other hand, Kelly does not explicitly reveal the second primary claim. The primary claim of the second opinion piece is the harmony between religious right and human right, especially the freedom of the marriage is necessary to get the best answer for the debate about the same-sex marriage issue and the government does not consider both positions to make a law for the same-sex marriage. which is evaluative argument. However, it is also classified as factual argument, having a few evidences to support the author’s central argument. He implies his second primary claim in the whole content of his opinion piece.

Kelly keep mentioning the position of religious organisations which is bitterly oppose to the same-sex marriage. The use of the term “tolerance” assumes people who support the same-sex marriage and religious organization should understand and respect each other’s right and position toward the issue.

The following sentence from the second piece represents the second primary claim “the government does not consider the both positions to make a law for the same-sex marriage.”

“where marriage equality is delivered by court decision, religious liberty is not protected.”

Kelly also phrases as a question such as “Must religious colleges provide married housing to same-sex couples?” to highlight his ideas which is related to religious perspective. The readers can assume what Kelly wants to tell them as interpreting the questions.

As a worldwide issue, Kelly uses the decision of US supreme court for the same-sex marriage issue as an example. Comparing US supreme court’s decision, he criticize the government’s action and finds what the actual problems are.

The second opinion piece is Major parties should cast aside internal party squabbles and work together for marriage equality” written by Alex Greenwich of The Daily Telegraph. It is written in positive perspective like Kelly’s opinion piece. He is explicitly state his position saying “we could have marriage equality now” in the third paragraph.

Alex focuses on political aspect for the same-sex marriage. He claims the government does not focus on the same-sex marriage issue and they are in confusion to lead the legal problems about the issue. It is evaluative argument but it is also factual argument. Alex reports the present political situation to support his claim.

In Alex’s piece, we can notice that Alex strongly express his suggestions with the sentences which are written in a commanding tone.

“All should be focused on working together towards a result and not be distracted by the others internal party manoeuvres.”

“To achieve reform we need as many Labor votes as possible, a Coalition free vote, and the support of as many crossbenchers as possible.”

In the seventh paragraph, Alex directly criticizes Labor party’s action.

“Labor can’t say they are the party of marriage equality when they have MPs voting and campaigning against it.”

Compared to the first opinion piece, tin the second piece, there are more suggestions and Alex tries to express his clear suggestions for the same –sex marriage issue to make the readers easily understand his suggestions.

In 2013, Kevin Rudd proudly announced that he supports the same-sex marriage in his first news conference. The two opinion pieces are based on this situation and that is the reason why both articles are connected with the politics and the authors strongly represent their suggestions for the government’s next action for the issue of the same-sex marriage.

The ultimate goal of the two pieces is to arouse the readers that the same-sex marriage issue is not just a simple issue. To achieve this goal both pieces constantly mention the interrelation between the issue and the certain social fields. What we can assume is two authors based on the human’s right to marry with the person they love and looked forward to people’s tolerance for each other.

Marriage Equality: How has the debate changed?

Marriage Equality: How has the debate changed?

By Luke Thomas


Australia is now seen by the rest of the world as lagging behind in marriage equality. Recently, the debate has kicked into overdrive with the now controversial plebiscite being questioned in parliament. While this is where we are now, it wasn’t that long ago that the attitude towards gay marriage wasn’t as positive in the media. It is interesting to look back at two pieces of views journalism from 2011 and 2012 when the opinions of politicians and journalists were just changing to be more in favour of marriage equality.

The two opinion pieces that I have chosen to analyse are by prominent commentators, one by ex-Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett in the Herald Sun  titled ‘Australians must embrace marriage equality’ and the other which appeared as an introductory segment on The Project narrated by Charlie Pickering ‘Aussie conservatives rally against marriage equality’.

Both pieces of views journalism rely heavily on the fact that people watching/reading will agree with the view that marriage equality is a foregone conclusion and it will happen eventually. One interesting point to note firstly is that these two articles would never have been in mainstream news/television ten years ago. The conversation on marriage equality has shifted in the last 5 years because it is seen that public opinion has also shifted as well. Both of these pieces are an evaluative argument, suggesting that both Kennett and Pickering have a predetermined view of marriage equality which stems from their emotional ties to the subject.

Firstly, let’s take a look at The Project, it is obvious from the start that Charlie Pickering is out to discredit the opinions of conservative commentators to gay marriage. His use of melodramatic music and overall sarcastic tone throughout the whole introduction implies his bias opinions and belief that those opposing marriage equality are ridiculous. This is evident in the use of soundbite from ‘Conservative Commentator’ Rebecca Hagelin describing marriage equality as “under attack, there is no greater evil” followed by more sarcastic narration from Pickering questioning “really?” we are then shown images of Adolf Hitler, the KKK etc. to make Hagelins point seem ridiculous in comparison.

“Today more than a thousand conservatives descended on parliament house hell bent on keeping marriage between a man and a woman”

Conservative is a term generally used in a negative way, so to begin with a narration that labels “a thousand conservatives” it becomes even clearer that Pickering would like the audience to disagree with their views. The use of “hell bent” has negative connotations and further labels the conservatives as ‘crazed lunatics’ and sets the tone of the statement as one that disagrees with the conservative commentators’ view.

“Even Mr. Katter got in on the action, albeit in a slightly confusing way”

At the time of this segment going to air, Bob Katter was quite a prominent figure in federal parliament due to the Gillard minority government, he was also lampooned as an extreme right wing conservative. Katter’s presence at a rally of this nature isn’t surprising although The Project have picked soundbites from his speech that add no weight to his opinion against gay marriage and deliberately make him sound unintelligent.

“it won’t stop at homosexual marriage, look for polygamy and marriage between adults and children to be legalised. There is no greater dream for a pedophile then to legally acclaim a child as his own”.

Hagelins soundbite here is used by Pickering to showcase the ‘slippery slope’ argument that is regularly used by commentators opposing gay marriage. It is also used as a point of ridicule for Hagelin with an audible laugh track played in the background midway through her comments.

“debating a claim that recent polls suggest majority of Australians support”

Pickering then produces a mix of statistics to appeal to popular opinion with facts, showing a visual that claims over 60% of Australians agree with same-sex marriage.

“53% of Aussie Christians support gay marriage… so is this just a vocal majority clinging to the dark ages or would civilisation as we know it really collapse if all Australian love was recognised.”

This is a rhetorical question by Pickering, the use of exaggeration can be seen as an informal fallacy, Pickering realises that civilization is not going to fall apart, but he uses this to further highlight his belief of the ridiculousness of the opposing sides view of marriage equality. This statement further highlights Pickering’s view that even people of Christian faith who oppose same sex marriage are in a minority in their own circles.

Pickering’s primary claim is that “Gay marriage should be legalised and anyone who disagrees is out of touch with the Australian public.”  If people watching are to agree with Pickering they are going to have to subscribe to the world view that all love should be treated equally. They would also need to disagree with radical Christianity, as Pickering isn’t lampooning all Christians, as he clarifies with statistics recognising 53% of Christians in favour of gay marriage.

The second article “Australians must embrace gay marriage” by Jeff Kennett. This is a very clear opinion piece, as Kennett makes many assumptions throughout the article with little factual evidence. The primary claim is quite obvious here, and like many opinion pieces can be found somewhat in the title, the primary claim is ‘Marriage equality should be legalised and the community (Catholic church in particular) should embrace it’.

The sanctity of marriage has changed substantially in my lifetime. Vows given are so often quickly forgotten.

In many ways we have become a disposable society, where self is so often more important than the responsibilities we agree to enter into or take upon ourselves.

This argument relies on an appeal to precedent, customary practice. Kennett is pointing out that marriage has changed, although the shift in the ‘sanctity’ of marriage is an argument that doesn’t apply to reason. This is a distraction from his central claim, it doesn’t add any justification because the diminishing state of marriages shouldn’t justify marriage equality, it would justify marriage being abolished entirely.

Kennett uses justificatory support of his central claim by comparing the Catholic Church’s treatment of women.

“The Catholic Church has suggested to women they should, in effect, lower their standards and marry the second or third-best male available”.

This argument is a form of red herring informal fallacy, its comparison highlights Kennett’s view that the Catholic Church is not an institution that should be taken seriously anymore. It is also an indirect way of supporting his claim, by making this comparison he is able to appeal to women who might emphasise with the way the LGBT community has been treated by the Catholic Church.

Furthermore, from this, the justification by Kennett is that marriage isn’t held in high regard anymore by citizens so why shouldn’t marriage equality be legalised. The underlying warrant being that if marriage is changing and people are no longer taking it as seriously, then marriage equality should be legalised. He states:

In 2010 there were 121,176 marriages registered and 50,240 divorces granted. Just over 40 per cent of marriages end in divorce.

Twenty years ago the average age at marriage for a male was approximately 28 years, whereas today it is 31.4 years.

The median age at marriage for females in 1992 was approximately 25 years, and in 2010 it was 29.2 years.

That anyone or any institution should suggest we turn the clock back, that people should accept less than their ideal, represents an amazing failure of relevance.

 This is also echoing his view that the catholic church is no longer relevant. He is also making many comparisons as to the changing nature of marriage throughout this article, although this provides factual analysis of how the divorce rate is higher and the average age is also climbing. He asserts that people are more idealistic and less likely to stay in a marriage, or get married, for religious aspects, so to claim that the catholic church has a relevant argument against its legalisation isn’t warranted. This is a clear distraction by Kennett to make use of other statistics on marriage so that you link it to his initial argument and make a conclusion that this might be a reason why marriage equality should be legalized even though it has no connection.

“As long as we all respect each other, and obey the laws of the country, surely that is all that matters. If I want to live my life with Tom or Harold, surely that should be my right as much as it is if I want to live my life with Felicity or anyone else of the opposite sex. And if I choose a partner and wish to marry, why should anyone be denied that comfort?”

 It is interesting to note Kennett’s point here as he suggests obeying the laws of the country is enough to guarantee you the right to marry in Australia. He seems to overlook the fact that gay marriage is illegal and therefore the argument holds no weight.

“President Barack Obama has announced his support for gay marriage.

I changed my view (on gay marriage) because of the way discrimination against so many in the gay and lesbian community has caused so much stress, anxiety, depression and suicide

Again, this issue risks dividing communities, and that I guess is understandable. But it is an issue that reflects the changing society in which we live.”

By likening his own stance to President Barack Obama, Kennett elevates his view with more legitimacy, appealing to popular opinion. President Obama is quite a popular figure in Australia and his stance on marriage equality was seen as quite progressive for a sitting U.S. president to have, so by comparing himself to Barack Obama he assumes the audience think positively of Obama which piggybacks on his popularity and places their views in line with each other.

In conclusion, Pickering and Kennett’s pieces both highlight the views of most commentators of gay marriage in the media at present. The use of the ‘foregone conclusion’ argument that anyone opposing should immediately change their views to be one the right side of history. Pickering delivers his views by use of comedy of his overall sarcastic tone when referring to opposing commentators delivers an obvious viewpoint that he supports legalisation of gay marriage. Kennett is less indirect in his delivery and calls on the greater community to accept gay marriage.

Same-sex marriage Australia says yes?

Barnes, Ashlee, H12A, Media Analysis Article 1


Headline: ‘A yes vote for marriage equality could show politicians we wont stand for bigotry’

Date: Monday 22 August 2016, 10.55am

Publication: The Guardian



Headline: ‘All is not fair in the same-sex marriage debate’

Date: August 15, 2016, 12.00am

Publication: The Daily Telegraph


SOCIAL CONTEXT When attempting to analyse these opinion pieces by Jeff Sparrows and Karen Brooks it is essential that we understand the social context that surrounds the issues discussed. The topic of ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘equality’ has been at the centre of much political debate, particularly over the past few years following New Zealand’s decision to legalise ‘same-sex marriage’. This has led for the nations citizens to take a side on the matter. The current government is pushing for a plebiscite which will put the vote in the hands of everyday Australians, the two articles to be discussed comment on the potential affects the plebiscite campaign could have on Australian society.

Article ONE

 HEADLINE: ‘A yes vote for marriage equality could show politicians we wont stand for bigotry’ – By Jeff Sparrows. Sparrows is a writer editor and broadcaster. He writes a fortnightly column for the Guardian discussing Australia’s social and political issues. His most recent column is dedicated to the potentially impending vote on the change to the Marriage act and the public debate in Australia on ‘same-sex’ marriage. He clearly argues the point that if we are to be forced to engage in a plebiscite on the matter “we must make sure it’s a victory for equality”. Sparrows makes his world views clear from the lead of his article, he does not shy away from attempting to persuade and rally Australians to make this vote one pertaining to equality and nothing else.

He also assumes that the vote has already been won, but we want to make sure it is a convincing win. He assumes this through drawing on comparison between Australia and Ireland. He thinks there is overwhelming support for this legislative change to be made in regards to ‘same-sex marriage’, however this is made through comparative claims rather than statistical evidence.

Sparrows’ asserts his opinion through the article and clearly asserts his worldview, evidently that Australians should be ready and willing to make changes to include equality into our political system in all dimensions and areas of society. For his arguments to be interpreted in the manner he intends he must assume that the readers are already pro ‘same-sex marriage’. He does not intend to persuade the no voters but rather projects strategies for how the already established ‘yes voters’ should behave leading up towards the “plebiscite in 2017” and the campaigns that are inevitable.

Calling for action 

Sparrow directly calls for action with the continued use of ‘we’, more specifically ‘we must’ and ‘we need’ in the opening stanza. He attempts to unite Australians with the task of ensuring equality. He asks us to understand the importance of a ‘yes’ vote, and comprehend the complexities of the arguments that will be directed towards us by campaigners of both sides. He wants to stand for change and uses a range of emotive language phrases to propel his worldviews. In order to bring his opinion to the forefront and engage the readers he villainies those ‘no’ voters, labelling them ‘bigots’ and ‘hate-mongerers’. He has no problem with demonising those against the ‘yes vote’ asking everyone to allow for the labelling of the Liberal right to be seen as the isolated extremists they truly are. He enlists the help of these provocative words to further unite those already on the same side of the vote.

His repeated use of the word ‘bigot’ attempts to force the idea that those standing on the opposite side to him are both ignorant and simply uneducated. Because he has already assumed those who read his column hold the same values I would contest that he does not expect to be faced with any opposition towards his stated opinion considering how he speaks directly to ‘yes’ voters and campaigners to organise how the lead up to the plebiscite vote in 2017 should be conducted.

I think this is where his primary claim is made, that we must make sure those voting against same-sex marriage are made accountable for their bigotry and we do this through changing passive supporters into active campaigners. Evidently this is an opinion and he attempts to solidify this through appeal to emotion and ethics. By stressing how important a victory could be he calls on those people sitting on the sidelines to actively engage and do something that could pave the way for progressive action.

Another persuasive strategy Sparrows’ employs is appealing to comparison when drawing on parallels between racists and homophobes. He implies that we as a community can stand up against racism as indicated by his reference to the case that led to a group of ordinary Australians on a public bus standing up to an anti-asian bigot, insisting she leave the bus. He says that if a group of Australians can so defiantly stand up to an act of racism, why can’t we do the same for homophobic actions in our society? Asserting that we must hold the ‘NO’ side to account for any homophobia they unleash with the lead up to the impending potential plebiscite in 2017. The use of the word ‘unleash’ suggests that they are ‘animals’, further implying that they are savage and brutal in their attempts to spread hate and contempt for the ‘same-sex marriage’ clause to be re-evaluated and reformed.

I would argue that he hasn’t explicitly asserted his primary claim it is quite evident through reading the article that he has a defined view on the matter and is using his column to provide advice on how active participants in the vote should engage with the opposition leading up to the potential plebiscite to be issued in 2017.

Article TWO

HEADLINE: ‘All is not fair in the same-sex marriage debate’ – Karen Brooks writing for The Daily Telegraph (Rendez View). Karen Brooks is an author, columnist, journalist, book reviewer, corporate speaker, semi-retired academic and social commentator. Brooks’ most recent blog for the Daily Telegraph similarly focuses on the debate that is to follow from the probable announcement of the plebiscite on ‘same-sex marriage’ to be conducted in 2017. In contrast to Sparrow’s emotional stance on the matter Brooks in my opinion sets out with an intent to discredit the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) group and by extension its managing director Lyle Shelton. Contrasting to Sparrow’s she shares her opinion on whether the plebiscite is necessary considering the fact that she believes most Australians have already made their decision, whether that be for or against the induction of same-sex marriage into our society.

I would suggest that Brooks’ is attempting to make a plea to the Australian people to not feed into someone or a group that is ultimately seeking to fuel hate in our community. Presenting herself as a supporter of the cause she assumes that those reading have also adopted this same mentality towards the issue. However she has not assumed that everyone is pro ‘same-sex’ marriage but does assume that they are open-minded when approaching the issue so therefor instead of adopting a typical approach to the matter ‘appealing to emotion and ethics’ she further adopts an approach to appeal to consequences relating to the funding for an “anti-same-sex marriage campaign” by the Australian tax-payer.

She asserts the opinion that most Australians have already cemented their views on whether they are for or against and sees no need for the ACL to be seeking $15 million from taxpayers to subsidise a campaign that would only be “negatively targeting the LGBTI community”. The uses of “targeting” suggests that this would be premeditated by ACL when they decide on tactics to convince the public their view is correct. She actively tries to the turn the reader against the ACL and Lyle Shelton labelling them “inappropriate and defensive”. She also continues to state that they are at the centre of circulating “inaccurate and deliberately misleading information about same-sex marriage and the consequences of this on society and children”. By discrediting the ACL as an organisation she sees to direct those to understanding that the change in legislation will not lead to a dismantling of what it means to “parent” but will just allow for all to be involved in this activity of marriage.

She goes on further to label the ACL “offensive” as she highlights a comparison that has been made by Shelton between Same-sex marriage and Nazi Germany, where he refers to them as “unthinkable things”. She calls on Australians to look through the ridiculousness that the ACL presents in their argument for no reform, through phrases such as “Oh, give me a break”. She also accuses the managing director of the group of being simply “harmful” further suggesting that LGBTI people cannot be moral or have functional relationships and loving family bonds. Of course Brooks’ must assume that people reading her blog hold the same belief that these claims are outrageous because she does not hide her opinion in condemning the inflammatory remarks continuously made by the ACL leader.

Karen Brooks’ primary claim is quite hard to identify due to the amount of points she makes however, I think she focuses most of her blog on the issues of funding merely leading to hate. Therefore her claim is that government funding should not be given to a campaign on the tax-payers dime that will potentially lead to hate directed towards the Australian LGBTI community. I would further conclude that that she is speculating on how the ACL will react to a campaign if the plebiscite is to happen which makes this a piece of opinion where instead of using facts she backs many of her points through quotations from Lyle Shelton.

Despite holding similar values and world-views they appear to take differing somewhat opposing views on how Australians should handle the upcoming ‘campaign’ tactics that will be presented by both sides.

Media Analysis: Black Lives Matter

by Vanessa Liang Xuan Wu z5079754

The multiple instances of African Americans involved in fatal police shootings reported in the past few months has led to intense media coverage about its surrounding issues. America has a long history of racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and along with it, repeated rounds of Civil Rights Movements. The raw display of violence in these fatal police shootings has stirred emotions in many people and got them questioning the progress they have made as a society regarding racism and civil rights. “Am I Going to Write About Murdered Black People Forever? by Kara Brown and “This Country Needs a Truth and Reconciliation Process on Violence Against African Americans – Right Now by Faina Davis are both emotional responses to an emotionally charged issue. However, they remain persuasive in their arguments as they employ various strategies to provide sound justification for their argumentation.

Brown offers an evaluative argument with recommendation that is not overtly expressed in the article. While her generally negative evaluation of the situation is repeatedly hinted at throughout the article, her recommendation is highly dependent on the reader’s inference. Brown expresses hopelessness and futility in the long-drawn-out efforts towards racial violence and discrimination but suggests that her audience should still continue to take real action as it is the only hope for change in the future. Brown’s sense of disillusionment can be detected from the title of the article which is a provoking rhetorical question, “Am I Going to Write About Murdered Black People Forever?”. The depressing thought of having to deal with unjustified deaths for eternity sets the tone for the rest of her article.

The title of Davis’ article serves a similar purpose by setting a clear tone and direction for her article. The title is so direct that it even be taken as her central claim which is an “urgent” need for a Truth and Reconciliation Process.  However unlike Brown, Davis assumes the negativity of the situation and proceed to provide her recommendation of how the situation may possibly be corrected.

Today, my focus is on restorative justice, which I believe offers a way for us to collectively face this epidemic , expose its deep historical roots, and stop it.

Her recommendatory claim is explicitly stated once again in the beginning section of the article and the rest of the article was devoted to justifying her claim.

Both articles begin with an emotional appeal to the reader by introducing personal experience that reveals personal pain and grief in the face of racial violence. This is evident in the use of the pronouns “I”, “me” and “my” in the beginning paragraphs which allows the writer to build emotional proximity with their readers.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fight the sense that, for the rest of my life, I’ll be writing about black Americans who’ve been killed, in one way or another, by the police.

In the time it took me to write about one fatal police shooting, another occurred.

With these two sentences, Brown introduces the reader to her everyday experience of racial violence. While she remains largely an observer of the issue, it still has real and immediate impact on herself that the reader can probably relate to.

I am among the millions who have experienced the shock, grief, and fury of losing someone to racial violence.

When I was 15, two close friends were killed in the Birmingham Sunday School bombing carried out by white supremacists trying to terrorize the rising civil rights movement. Only six years later, my husband was shot and nearly killed by police who broke into our home, all because of our activism at the time, especially in support of the Black Panthers.

After more than three decades of all the fighting, I started to feel out of balance and intuitively knew I needed more healing energies in my life.

Similarly, Davis introduced examples of personal involvement in events of racial violence. However, her direct involvement not only builds an emotional connection with the reader by evoking sympathy, but also establishes herself as an authority on the issue. Davis’ firsthand experience with racism on people that are close to her such as her friends, husband and sister coupled with her formal capacity as a civil rights trial lawyer, a PhD in a related area of study and her vast experience as a community organizer translates into a credible voice that is capable of making well considered suggestions to improve the situation. The authority that Davis positions herself to be is not one that is particularly impartial as that is easily challenged by possible emotional bias due to her proximity and firsthand experience of the issue. Instead, her authority is suggested through her knowledge and awareness of social realities and how to overcome them.

Both Davis and Brown appealed to the facts of the matter so as to suggest a need for action and change. They do so by drawing reference to relatively recent deaths of African Americans such as “Michael Brown” and “Eric Garner” in Davis’ article and “Alton Sterling” and “Philando Castile” in Brown’s article. By doing so, they remind the reader that the problem of racism is still very real and evident in current day context and its severity is clear to see from how it has resulted in the loss of lives. This helps to build  a transition for both writers to introduce their recommendations to their reader who has hopefully been made more receptive to their suggestions after being presented with multiple tragedies that need to be kept from happening again.

Another strategy that Davis employs to encourage readers to be more receptive to her recommendation is to appeal to ethics.

Importantly, the process would also create skillfully facilitated dialogue where responsible parties engage in public truth-telling and take responsibility for wrongdoing.

The idea where “responsible parties engage in public truth-telling and take responsibility for wrongdoing” is in keeping with the general belief that one should have integrity and take responsibility for whatever wrongs one has committed. This sentence was strategically placed right before Davis launched in to her list of hypothetical benefits that stand to be reaped if her recommendation for a truth and reconciliation process is realised. Its strategic placement encourages the reader to be more open to her suggestion as they find that their ethical beliefs are aligned with the writer and her suggestion should be an extension of that particular belief.

The appeal to consequence is heavily employed in Davis’ argument for her recommendation. She attempts to explain how the process would work, what could be and should be done to realise this particular vision so as to reap its long list of positive benefits (emphasised in bold).

And the impact wouldn’t be for Ferguson alone.

Bearing in mind its expansive historical context, the Truth and Reconciliation process would set us on a collective search for shared truths about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of extrajudicial killings of black youth, say, for the last two decades. Through the process, those truths will be told, understood, and made known far and wide. Its task would also include facing and beginning to heal the massive historical harms that threaten us all as a nation but take the lives of black and brown children especially. We would utilize the latest insights and methodologies from the field of trauma healing.

This is urgent. Continued failure to deal with our country’s race-based historical traumas dooms us to perpetually re-enact them.

Though national in scope, the inquiry would zero in on the city of Ferguson and several other key cities across the country that have been the site of extrajudicial killings during the last decade. Specifics like this are best left to a collaborative, inclusive, and community-based planning process.

The process will create public spaces where we face together the epidemic of killings and its root causes, identify the needs and responsibilities of those affected, and also figure out what to do as a nation to heal harms and restore relationships and institutions to forge a new future.

And, if history is any guide, it could result in restitution to those harmed, memorials to the fallen, including films, statues, museums, street renamings, public art, or theatrical re-enactments. It might also engender calls to use restorative and other practices to stop violence and interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and mass incarceration strategies. New curricula could emerge that teach both about historic injustices and movements resisting those injustices. Teach-ins, police trainings, restorative policing practices, and police review commissions are also among the universe of possibilities.

[Emphasis added]

Davis also provides concrete details of the plan such as “create safe public spaces”, “utilize the latest insights and methodologies from the field of trauma healing” and “zero in on the city of Ferguson” to assure her readers of her illustration of an unrealised future through grounding it in the physical space and pre-existing frameworks. This helps to make her vision more believable to the reader only to a certain extent but it is further supported by an appeal to precedent as well as an appeal to comparison which comes right after in the article.

There are precedents for this approach: Some 40 Truth and Reconciliation Commissions have been launched worldwide to transform historical and mass social harms such as those we are facing. Their experiences could help light a way forward.

Davis highlights four different commissions, “South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, “Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, “Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission” and a truth commission between Main’s governor and indigenous tribal chiefs. She uses these examples as models of progress and success to convince her reader that her recommendation can definitely be looked upon as a realistic future as well as step in the right direction.

Davis arguments focus on the appeal to consequence, precedent and comparison and similar elements can definitely be found in Brown’s writing. However, these elements are seen to be in support of a larger ethical argument that is heavily rhetorical.

And we write again, and wonder: is this just the way of things now? How much time will I spend finding the correct words to say that the color of a person’s skin is not justification for ending their life? And how much time will elapse until those words mean anything to the people who actually kill us?

Brown’s series of rhetorical questions illustrates her negative evaluation of racial violence by imparting a sense of disbelief that such atrocities are continuing to take place although it so clearly goes against the ethical frameworks of rights and fairness.

Davis recommendatory claim is justified with the potential good consequences of the future. However in Brown’s negative evaluation of the issue, she highlights the negative consequences of racism.

A black life is stolen and we must now struggle to measure the pain and remember that none of our lives are really safe. We must sit with the footage of these incidents, which fill in what our imagination would write otherwise, and wonder if one of these horrifying videos will ever result in change. So far they have not. Some people will sit with their children to teach them to be cautious around state agents ostensibly tasked with protecting them. Some will cry and some will rage. Some of us will write.

The state and white supremacy have perfectly crafted yet another tactic to keep us scared and compliant.

[Emphasis added]

Brown emphasises the potential emotional pain that one has to go through with every incident (emphasised in bold). While hypothetical and generalised in nature, it supports her rhetoric that racial violence has no place in ethical society. Living in pain and horror while having to be fearful and cautious is definitely not in keeping with the universal code of ethics but it is argued to be the general experience of the African American population.

To further express hopelessness, Brown also appeals to precedent and analogy.

We cannot appeal to a national conscience when, as Stokely Carmichael reminded us, there is none.

 As with lynching, it’s less about the total loss of life—though the numbers are horrific—and more about the constant state of fear it breeds, audible and visible in the way Philando Castile’s girlfriend refers to the officer who just shot her boyfriend as “sir.”

By bringing in the example of Stokely Carmichael and lynching, she evokes memories of a period in the past where there was a high climate of racism. The effect of this move is twofold. Firstly, it helps to convince the reader that the dire state of racial violence today is comparable to moments in the past where it got so serious that the event and persons involved are still remembered to this day. Secondly, it serves as a hint to her recommendation to the situation. “We cannot appeal to a national conscience when… there is none.” Brown suggests that any hope for change can only be brought about through continued action as improvement was only ever seen in times where action was taken. In combination, it suggests to the reader that it is crucial that we continue to take action although the results to show for all these efforts are discouraging as it is the only way we can continue to hope for change.

Brown uses the appeal to ethics as the main support for her argument. This is seen in her use of strong and provoking rhetorical statements.

We raise funds for victims and they raise more money for the killer cops. We push for accountability and they tell us a child deserved to die.

The clear distinction between “we” and “they” mirrors her binary assessment of racism and racial violence in society. There is simply no place for their negative presence and any efforts that goes against that belief is regarded as the other. Brown’s provocative phrases such as “killer cops” and “a child deserved to die” are clearly against ethics. The role of the police is to enforce laws that are meant to protect citizens while no child is ever deserving of death as they as symbols of innocence. Brown’s rhetoric is can be seen as an attempt to draw comparison in the holes of ethical reasoning in social reality.

In conclusion, Brown’s approach of argument may appear to be merely opinion due to her heavy use of appeal to ethics but in close reading, that is not the case. Often in ethical rhetoric, the writers ethical perspectives and justification may be one and the same. Brown’s article repeated feature of rhetorical statements are in fact justifications for her evaluation. While Davis’ and Brown’s approach to their response towards racial violence is rather different, it is interesting to see that they ultimately share the same recommendation.

What is changing 18c all about?

Media Analysis Article 1

By Hugh Hogan

Recently in both the media and parliament a debate has been raging over whether or not changes need to be made to the Racial Discrimination Act, particularly clause 18c.
Under 18c it states that:
(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

The proponents of changing the law believe that it is an infringement of free speech, and those that oppose the change believe the absence of 18c will allow for consequence free hate speech. Three opinion pieces from three different sources show differing sides of this polarizing argument and the different ways that it has been argued in the media. The first piece, by Andrew Street, titled “Changing 18c has nothing to do with free speech” was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 31st August and is overtly against any change to the Racial Discrimination Act; however, he does not assume at the begging of his piece that his reader will agree with him. The second, by Tim Wilson, is titled “Another ‘aberration’ shows that 18c is the problem and must be changed” was published in The Weekend Australian on the 8th February. This piece in support for change to the act contains numerous pieces of opinion without justificatory support, however as Tim Wilson was at the time of publication the Human Rights Commissioner, could the whole text be an appeal to authority? The third opinion piece, written by Richard Ackland of The Guardian and is titled “The defence of free speech is limited for the anti-18c brigade.” This piece is also against a change to 18c, however unlike Andrew Street’s article, Ackland assumes his reader is already in agreeance with him.
The first article by Andrew Street is in unwavering opposition to any proposed changes to the clause 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. His central claim is that the Racial Discrimination is legally sound and he argues this point by referencing the 18d clause from the Racial Discrimination Act. 18d, which covers any form of legitimate publication, artistic expression or public discussion from coming under scrutiny of 18c. Therefore the composer believes that clause 18d covers all of the failings that the supporters of changing the law see in 18c. Here Andrew Street has applied an appeal to facts to win over his audience in support for maintaining the current law. Furthermore in this text the composer employs another appeal to facts when he writes “Also, despite the appeals to free speech, almost all of the successful cases were about workplace bullying.” Here the author is arguing that although the law contains the ability in rare cases to limit speech, it is necessary because the law protects Australians from workplace harassment. The underlying warrant for this argument is that protecting people from workplace harassment is more important than a few unlikely circumstances were free speech has been affected. Another one of the author’s arguments is that
“If our politicians were legitimately worried about protecting free speech there are more significant restrictions than the Racial Discrimination Act. Unless you just really like hate speech.”
The author elaborates later on that he is referring to the Border Force Act which limits the ability of workers to report incidents on offshore detention centres. However, this argument could be seen either as an appeal to analogy or a distraction depending on the reader, a reader who feels the Border Force Act is unjust is more likely to agree with Andrew Street, whereas a reader who feels the Border Force Act is justified is more likely to think that the author is making a distraction from the real issue at hand. Throughout the piece the author Andrew Street doesn’t assume that the reader is already in agreeance with him, and he goes to lengths to justify each of his claims with justificatory support In the form of facts i.e clause 18d or analogy i.e The Border Force Act, however by the end of the piece a certain amount of opinion does appear.
“You might even conclude that they’re (supporters of change) just peculiarly enthusiastic about encouraging consequence-free hate speech.”
Here we see the author’s personnel opinion come through in what begins as a legitimately argumentative piece. But as the writer has gained confidence he has begun to construct ad hominem arguments and strawman his opponent’s arguments by associating them all with racist and bigots. However this could also be seen as an appeal to consequences as he is stating that a change to the law will allow for consequence-free hate speech.
The second piece by Tim Wilson argues that the 18c of The Racial Discrimination act is a fundamentally flawed law and needs to be changed. Later on in the piece he goes on to explain his own opinion of exactly what the law should be changed to.
“Laws shouldn’t make offensive and insulting speech unlawful. All that does is invite complaints to use the law as a weapon to resolve disputes better resolved through other means.”
The writer is using an appeal to consequences, in this case the negative consequences this law can have on public discourse and genuine discussion. Later on in the piece Wilson again writes.
“Laws that restrict what people can say merely because it is offensive, insulting, ridiculing or humiliating can only lead to dangerous censorship that stops important topics and ideas being debated.”
Again the writer is using an appeal to negative consequences to as support to his claim that the law must be changed. The underlying warrant for both of these justifications is that any form of censorship or suppression of ideas and discussion is dangerous for society. However, a reader who values the protection of feelings and humiliation over degrees of censorship would not find these arguments effective. Wilson also claims that 18c has been flawed from its beginnings.
“The introduction of 18c was preceded by three significant independent inquiries: The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Australian Law reform Commission’s inquiry, Multiculturalism and the Law. None recommended the current law. Instead they recommended the law tackle racially based harassment, hostility and violence.”
Wilson has employed an appeal to authority to justify his claim that the law is flawed. By quoting the findings of respected government departments and royal commissions with the same views as him he hopes that this will strengthen his case to the reader in the hope that they agree with him.
At the end of the piece a lot of personnel opinion is stated in the article in regards to what needs to be done to 18c.
“Instead the law should clearly define the specific nature of workplace harassment and public harassment… If adopted, these laws would reflect the type of society we want – one where we are free to debate difficult and challenging ideas but would allow all people, including minorities and marginalised communities, recourse to the law to protect themselves from workplace and public harassment.”
Usually in argument blatant opinion without justificatory support is no way to argue a point or convince readers to join your cause. However, at the time of publication Tim Wilson was the Human Rights Commissioner, a position of authority especially regarding issues to do with harassment, free speech and the other concerns surrounding the 18c debate. Therefore I argue that any opinion surrounding the debate from Tim Wilson is in itself an appeal to authority and worthy of genuine debate on the issue.
Throughout the piece Wilson assumes that his readers are either on the fence or agree with him already. The majority of his arguments contain the underlying warrant that freedom of speech and the prevention of any form of censorship are paramount. Wilson also relies strongly on the belief readers will regard himself as a reputable and authoritative voice on the debate as a lot of opinion is present in the text.
The third text by Richard Ackland is against any changes being made to the law, Ackland goes further than this though ad begins ad hominem attacks against those who do support the claim. He does however make some good points in defence of 18c, like the first text he uses an appeal to facts by referencing 18d.
“Most of the words and artworks about which comaplaints are made are defensible under the same law that its opponents wish to tear down.”
However the majority of his piece is riddled with logical fallacies because it is focused on a reader that is already for maintaining 18c the way that it is. Therefore he sees no reason to back up a lot of the claims throughout his article. Furthermore, I believe that Ackland is also assuming that his readers also not only support 18c, but hate all the major proponents for change, the article is full of ad hominem attacks against the major supporters of a change to 18c. For instance:
“The attorney general, George Brandis, was one of the leading proponents of repeal of 18c and drafted amending legislations so that we would have more room to express our inner bigot.”
This evaluative presumption is so casual because Ackland assumes his readers are left leaning and against George Brandis. Furthermore:
“The removal of the provision that makes actionable those expressions that offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate on the basis of someone’s race, colour, national or ethnic origin has become a talisman, as climate denialism, opposition to marriage equality, and the virtues of negative gearing.”
Here Ackland is making a strawman argument, by associating the cause to change 18c with other ridiculous notions in an attempt to group them together and easier to attack. However, this only works on the underlying warrant that his readers also find “climate denialism, opposition lto marriage equality, and the virtues of negative gearing.” Therefore it is clear that Ackland is writing to a specific audience, one that would be described as left leaning.
The piece then goes on to attack each of the supporters for a change to 18c including Malcolm Roberts, David Leyonhjelm, Chris Back and Pauline Hanson. Although he does raise some good points in this section of the piece the majority of the content from these passages is a direct ad hominem attack or a distraction from the original argument. However at the end of his piece he does raise one of his strongest points.
“There has been no focus on the real inhibitors to freedom of speech: defamation law, disclosure penalties under the Border Force Act, the ever-increasing flow of suppression and take-down orders issued by the courts, penalties for protesting, the lamentable state of FOI and whistleblower protections, even criminal sedition laws.”
Ackland uses an appeal to analogy here to highlight that suppression of freedom of speech is widespread and that supporters of changing 18c are very selective about where they support freedom of speech and where they support suppression.
In conclusion the three articles show both sides of the argument and different ways to argue each side. The first piece is the most logical and convincing of the two if you look at them from an argumentative point of view. However, the second article by Tim Wilson could be very convincing due to many people seeing him as an authority on the subject. What separates these first two texts from the third is that they don’t assume their readers will be in complete agreeance with them from the beginning. Because of these they are forced to make logical arguments and supply support for those arguments, which they do well. Although towards the end of both pieces opinions begin to filter through they have earnt the right to announce their opinion, in what is after all, an ‘opinion’ piece. The third piece does not offer much to the argument, Ackland assumes from the beginning of his piece that his reader will agree with him and that they will dislike the proponents of change to 18c as much as him. Because of this the majority of the text feels like an ad hominem attack against anyone that supports changing 18c without much justification.

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