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What Makes Parsons Article Such an Effective Piece of Journalism?

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Introduction

What Makes Parsons' Article Such an Effective Piece of Journalism? On the 3rd January 2005 Tony Parsons' article "Where was your respect Mr Blair?" appeared in the Daily Mirror. Parsons criticized the British Prime Minister for not canceling his holiday in Egypt whilst a tsunami affected many countries in Southeast Asia. The usage of graphology and layout adds impact to Parsons' article. Upon first seeing the article, readers' eyes are directed to the large typewriter-styled title. Without reading the headline readers know it will be a powerful statement. A large print of the author's name and his sober expression on the photograph tell readers that the page is his own and likely controversial view. It suggests that the readers should take his opinion seriously and with respect. Most of the page is taken by a caricature of Tony Blair. Blair's features are exaggerated: he is portrayed as a gremlin, with his facial features enlarged such as teeth, eyebrows, ears and particularly his head-making Blair big-headed. ...read more.

Middle

They are repetitive and forceful, like repeated punches aimed at Blair's credibility. Such paragraphs re-inforce Parsons' argument. To appeal to the readers of his newspaper, the language Parsons uses is vulgar and informal. Using words that the readership is used to suggests that Parsons is representing the people, his is the voice of popular outrage. Phrases like "poor buggers" make a memorable impact, especially when used against important leaders. Parsons also uses sophisticated and vulgar vocabulary throughout the article. Words such as "belated" and "passivity" are blended in with colloquialisms like "hardass" and "dodgy ticker". Parsons uses this reminding the readership of his knowledge and authority, while retaining their attention through hard-edged words. Parsons' appealsto emotion too. His references to a child (a symbol of vulnerability and those who we must protect) "too small to cling to palm trees, too tiny to fight for their lives, too vulnerable to survive those giant waves." Parsons later contrasts the British people who have "responded with their usual generosity and compassion" to Blair's indifference as he is "soaking up the sun". ...read more.

Conclusion

Parsons uses list of threes to make his arguments seem stronger. He also provides examples of other political leaders who have made more of an effort than Blair. Comparing the British Prime Minister to his peers can be argued to have added a particular force to the polemic. Parsons also compares the death toll to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, where Blair's response was much more pro-active. The numbers of tsunami dead dwarfed those of 9/11. Parsons uses persuasive techniques like rhetoric, repetition, sarcasm and hyperbole. By 2005, Britain's enthusiasm for Blair was beginning to wane and Parsons is keen to rubbish him. The author reflects a popular mood that British politicians are 'in it for themselves' and that they do not really care. He whips up anti-Blair feeling amongst his readership. It also an exercise in self-flattery, praising his readership and the behaviour of ordinary people when compared with political leaders. The article is effective in that it is likely to elicit the outraged response Parson seeks. Whether it is truthful is a different question altogether. ...read more.

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