Johan Galtung says that it’s not so much what is being said, but what is not being said. Today my class will be reflecting on the use of language and stories in the media.
- how do stories in the media impact our understanding of the world?
- how can we learn to “read between the lines”?
- how can awareness of narrative help us be more critical of media and politics?
- what is the story’s raison detre? ie why was a story told, what is the narrator is getting at?
Julia Bacha – One Story, One Film, Many Changes.
Chomsky – Manufacturing Consent (students to watch at home…)
Reading between the lines
Checklist for careful thinking:
- What is the source?
- What is the basic message?
- What is presented in support of the view?
- How is the message being conveyed?
- Who stands to gain? p. 28
- Bold assertions
- Untrustworthy authorities
- Reasoning with the wrong facts
- Downright lying
- Faulty premise for an argument
- Hasty generalization
- Mistaking the cause
- False analogy
- Ignoring the question
- Begging the question
- Attacking the person not the argument
- Pointing to an enemy
- Misusing statistics
- Meshing fact with opinion
- Misusing terms whose meanings have changed p. 32-35
Formula for Propaganda: Scapegoat term = Groundless accusation in future + glittering generality. Eg Terrorists/Socialists threaten/plan to attack the political system/supermarket/middle class p. 58
Monitoring the media: prominence/space; use of photographs; sources; angle of the story; information provided; viewpoint of the reporter; reoccurring words p. 59
- Twisting and distortion; depicting black and white
- Selective omission
- Incomplete quotation
- Persuasive devices eg doctored/clipped photos , testimonials, generalities eg “He has American support because Americans always choose the wrong side”; name calling; innuendo eg. he had been promised a good job; baseless speculation
Between The Lines – Eleanor MacLean, 1981, Black Rose Books, Quebec
For further reading see my blog entry on Critical Discourse Analysis – click here