Media Comparative Essay - comparing two news articles
In status quo, media could play as a great manipulation tool towards public opinion. It all depends on the presentation of a particular event. An author of a newspaper could use the language in such a way coupled with a subtle fragmentation that the article could have a biased influence upon its readers. The way the language is used could dramatize and exaggerate an event while the fragmentation provides supportive plot for the bias to take place. Meanwhile an objective article leaves the interpretation of the said events to the reader after presenting an unbiased presentation of facts. The text 3.2 and the text 3.3 yield a great example to distinguish between a biased and a neutral article. While the article named “Inside Bitama’s camp” (text 3.1) shapes the reality as much as possible with the use of several deliberate informational bias strategies to have an influence over its audience, the text 3.2 uses quotations, politically correct language and avoid vague expressions (caused by the author himself) to leave the interpretation part to the readers, staying neutral to the given incident. Ultimately the only similarity both articles share is that they are mainly written around specific events revolving around a single individual instead of a one big event including several individuals.
The purpose of two texts is very different. Unlike text 3.1, text 3.2 does not try to have any influence on the reader. To avoid having any influence on the reader the author of text 3.2 uses several direct quotations and euphemism are used. In addition, vague and emotive language were evaded by the author. The only vague or emotive languages in the text 3.2 is seen on the quotations, like “We’re baffled at this point … the mystery deepens” as a source said. Mystery deepens is a vague language because it does not specify the meaning or “deepening” or the outcomes of it, but since this kind of vague language was used by a source and not by the author in presenting the scene to the readers it is not considered to be biased, instead it is considered to be objective. Meanwhile, the author of “Inside Bitama’s camp” uses expressions like “… about 100 posters” to belittle Paddy Bitama as much as possible. The phrase “… about 100 posters” makes it look like Paddy Bitama was very careless in his campaign that he provided small and insignificant amounts of posters. Emotion language in text 3.1, such as “... got off the list of presidential candidates in a dust of light moments”, conveys subtle yet offensive language. The “dust of light moments” makes it sound like the Paddy Bitama being a candidate was very random and unwanted by the society. The subtlety in this expression, since it is not very explicit in language, helps the author to include offensive content without looking “offensive” towards Paddy.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Context was of great importance in text 3.1 to understand the meanings of the used euphemism. The euphemism in the text 3.1 was used for satirical purposes, while the euphemism in text 3.2 is used to be politically correct and be as least offensive as possible about a very delicate issue, which is a possible fraud that Nixon (37th president of United States) was involved. The scandal was named as “bugging incident” and White House’s neutrality towards the incident was presented as “The White House did not comment.”, when instead author could have mentioned how the White House was trying to avoid any more scandals by an offending language. The use of euphemism aims to elude any kinds of provocation this article could have had on its readers, and it completely leaves the judging part to the reader. In text 3.1, the phrase “People’s president” was used by the author to describe Paddy Bitama. Even though “people’s president” could very well be interpreted as just a nice way of saying president, but in this case context takes an important place in the meaning this phrase conveys. “Bitama grabbed an Irish potato from his plate saying as a people’s president, he had to eat with them. The man just shook his head.” It is clear that the author was clearly sarcastic. The use of word “he had to” conveys the meaning that Paddy Bitama used his authority to eat the food of a citizen in lower rank than he is. And the part “The man just shook his head.” Tell the reader how unhappy the man was with the whole event, but that he did not have enough power to respond. This kind of context, unlike the other article, forcefully shapes the opinions of its readers.
Some other informational bias strategies the author of text 3.1 used are the use of fragmentation and personalization. The author strictly avoided the use of quotation. The reason is that it would be impossible to distort the spoken sentences, since there would be no place for author to modify them, but this way author has the full control over the passage he has written. In the sentence “The man just shook his head” it sounds like the only respond the man was able to give was shaking of his head, but in reality he could have done it while smiling and there is no real way of it no more, at least from this article. Another example is “he claimed to have lost it adding that he was too busy to pick another one from the Electoral Commission.” It sounds like Paddy Bitama was very apathetic about being missing on his duties, but in reality it is possible that he gave an answer in full details of why he had no chance to retrieve a new sticker. The second bias inducing technique was “personalization”. Even though both articles were pretty much about one person, only the author of text 3.1 has wrote his article like Paddy Bitama was the sole cause of every occurring problem. For example, “he told them they would get it after he has been sworn in as president” also “among the supporters in the convoy was his colleague, Kapere…” “Kapere was forced to take off his shirt…”. As it could be seen the author is furtively and constantly attacking Paddy. Showing as he even forces his colleagues to take their shirts off and giving false promises. Despite the fact that text 3.2 was indeed more about an individual, like the other article, the author does not get too personal with Richard Nixon, but he presents the whole incident as an unbiased observant.
In the end both articles are aiming to report the news, while the difference being the text 3.1 chooses to manipulate the reality as much as possible to have an influence over its readers, the author of text 3.2 tries to stay unbiased while doing the reporting part. The article about Richard Nixon uses euphemism, quotations and a neutral tone to achieve its aim. Meanwhile the other text’s author makes use of paraphrasing, personalization and vague language in a subtle way to “shape” the truth as much he feels to. So even though the preliminary purpose of both articles is to” report”, the real intentions are far different.