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Essay on News

Despite the majority feeling that the news is not bias and belongs to a noble and revered institution, the news does embed false ideologies, stereotypes and values that are used to shape societies world views. Living in a consumer driven society, the news does not present the consumer with reality, only a certain perception of it and tells what the reader wishes to hear about the worlds events. In recent events the news has come across as an honest institution that just presents the news. However, a closer look at these stories reveals more than meets the eye.

Governor-General Crisis
Throughout the last few weeks the media has been focusing on a variety of topics. The most prominent of these is the sexual assault allegations put forward by Miss. Jarmyn against Dr. Peter Hollingworth. There has been substantial coverage in The Courier, News-Mail, Radio National, Hitz FM Radio and many more sources about the rape allegations. Different uses of discourse and factual discrepancies were present in a large number of articles.

The Herald Sun articles headline “I DID NOT RAPE HER” (Herald Sun, 9th May, 2003) and “I did not know her, I did not rape her” (Saturday Daily Telegraph, 10th May, 2003) both positions the reader to identify and relate to the author because of the use of first person. Also, the use of repetition affects the way the reader will accept or reject the article. From both of these points, the two news articles seem to support Dr.Hollingworth’s call for justice.

However, a closer look at the sub-heading of the previous sources reads; “Governor General forced to address nation.”(Saturday Daily Telegraph, 10th May, 2003) clearly positions the reader to believe that the Governor General was pushed into defence of the accusations against him. The photo of him also depicts an old, frail and scared man with a painful expression. (Herald Sun, Friday 9th May, 2003)

The Weekend Australian’s stance on the issue was clearly depicted in an obvious but brief cartoon, centred in one of their articles. Showing Dr.Hollingworth hanging from a tree being held there by a group of angry citizens. (Weekend Australian, 20th May, 2003) This positions the audience to believe that the Governor General is just “waiting to die”, analogous to resigning.

Alternatively, The News-Mail presents the case as a form public humiliation with discourse such as “G-G attacks called modern crucifixion” (News-Mail, 9th May, 2003) and “G-G criticised” (Guardian Weekly, 9th May, 2003). In doing this, the media presents a sympathetic view of the rape allegations and evokes sympathy from the reader and those supporting the Governor General’s cause.

The Channel 7 News story was significantly different to all the other news features. Channel 7 put forward a compassionate point of view at the start of the feature but then moves on to announce apparent successors of the Governor-General without any evidence. The news transcript is as follows for that particular section:
The allegation has already sparked speculation about possible successors:
“You should not be asking me these questions. You should be ashamed of yourselves
Defence Force Chief, Lt. Gen Peter Cosgrove,
“Absolutely no-comment on that issue and that is as far was we will read into that”
Tim Fischer, Former Deputy Prime Minister,
But in the gulf the prime minister is saying nothing. (Channel 7 News, Friday 9th May, 2003. 6.30pm). This is blatantly a lie or a misleading statement regarding the facts of Dr.Hollingworths removal.

There is also a major factual discrepancy that is noticed between the News stories. “It has been revealed that he was told of the rape claims against Peter Hollingworth 6 months ago.” (National Nine News, Friday 9th May, 2003) and “It’s been revealed that the Prime Minister knew of the accusations 5 months ago.” (Channel 7 News, Friday 9th May, 2003). It is clear that the news has fallen into one of two categories, opinion and truth, but it is still unclear for how long the case has been evident.

From the graph above it is clear that the Courier Mail has placed more emphasis on the issue. Even though the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph had substantial amounts of information on the issue the Courier Mail had by far the most. The reason for this is due to the differing interests that each media sources are aimed at.

Saudi Arabia Bombings
The bombings in Saudi ArabiaТs capital, Riyadh, has also gained significant coverage through many media sources. It is through this extensive coverage that a wide variety of factual discrepancies and unusual and sometimes unnecessary uses of discourse can be present.

The Hindu’s headline “3 killed in suspected Al-Qaeda suicide attacks (www.thehindu.com, May 13, 2003) and Riyadh Daily “Bombs Rip Western Compounds in Riyadh” (www.riyadhdaily.com, May 13th 2003) clearly positions the reader to believe that the recent bombings were clearly terrorist attacks.

However, The Arab News headline states “20 Die in Riyadh Suicide Attack”(www.arabnews.com, May 13th 2003) and The Channel News Asia headline states how many were killed and how many were wounded. УSuicide car bombs in Saudi Capital kill at least three, wound 50″
(http://www.channelnewsasia.com, May 13th, 2003) tend, to imply that it was a suicide attack rather than a direct attack from a terrorist network

The Indian Express’s use of discourse in “Osama Bin Laden crew remain active and potent” (www.theindiantimes.com, May 13th 2003) and The Hindu “Powell said that the attacks bore all the signs of Osama Bin Laden al-Qaeda network” (www.thehindu.com, May 13th 2003) position the audience to believe that the prime culprit of the attack was Osama Bin Laden and his crew, as the Indian Express demonstrates.

Furthermore, some major factual discrepancies can be noted. The Hindustan Times, states that there were “over 40 American’s hurt in blast” (www.hindustantimes.com, May 13th 2003) and the Sydney Morning Herald states “at least 50 American’s” (Sydney Morning Herald, May 13th, 2003) adds to the increasing unreliability of the news and also hints at American bias. The irony is that even though Indians were killed in the blast, The Hindu states “at least 44 Americans were among those injured in the blast” (The Hindu, May 13th, 2003) it does say a word about how many Indians were killed so it is clear that both local and international newspapers are susceptible to bias.

Alternatively, many of the news sources in Islamic cultures seem to be religious orientated. These Islamic states put forward a religious view by not just including their nationality but also their religion. Though not necessary, it also positions the reader to take on a stance depending on the individualТs nationality and more importantly, religion. The Hindu Times states: “They seemed to be the latest anti-Western attacks in the kingdom that is the birth place of Islam” (Hindu Times, May 13th 2003) and the “Еand a Saudi Islamist group believed to be May, 2003). This does position the reader to become more aware of the rebellion and take into account the human and structural casualties.

Furthermore, a few factual discrepancies were found. As stated earlier the ABC News says that there were “around twenty schools and other public buildings have been destroyed” (ABC News, 20th May, 2003) and Channel 7 describes, “Еthese school buildings were set on fire but it is not certain who was responsible” (ABC News, 20th May 2003). Channel 7 used only a few pictures of similar buildings being burnt and this does not account for the twenty or so that were supposedly set a light. Depending on the news channel the audience was watching it does indicate that schools were set a light but it does not reveal how many.

Furthermore, during both of those programs they said that they were unclear as to who set the fires. Even though it is a brief sentence it does cover the news for any speculation as to who set them. For all the news knows, it could have accidentally been set a light by the government. The news just doesn’t know, but they use it anyway to position the audience, regardless of the truth behind it.

It is clear that by analysing the three previous news articles that it proves that the supposed noble institution known as the news doe use, and more importantly doesn’t use, certain aspects about a particular event. They use clever and sometimes unusual discourse to position the audience to take a certain point of view. Also by the use of factual discrepancies that may exaggerate or soften the actual truth. close to bin Laden’s network” (Sydney Morning Herald, May 13th 2003) indicating not only religious bias but assumptions about actual facts, therefore this news article is not presenting fact, it is more of an opinion.

From the above graph it is clear the ABC News Radio and the Courier Mail has supplied the majority coverage along with the Courier Mail. Each paper is aimed at different target audiences so they will cover certain aspects that would appeal more to their target audience. This story once again would have had a small religious bias that would have influenced the how much or how little the media put in on a story.

Aceh Rebellion
Recently, the Aceh Rebellion has come to life because the Indonesian President Megawani Sukanoputri has declared martial law and launched a “shock and awe” attack against pro-independence rebels. It has been described as Indonesia’s largest military operation since 1975. Along with this recent news event it is clear that the news has once again used strong discourse and factual discrepancies that need closer attention to reveal their hidden meanings. These are used to position the audience to view the text in a certain way.

The Courier Mail’s headline reads, “Rebels say villager burnt alive” (Courier-Mail, p25 May 20th 2003), clearly indicates the seriousness of the event. It also positions the reader to believe that this did happen because if the honest newspaper said so, despite the fact that “Rebels say” that this happened is somewhat irrelevant when trying to position the reader. The Jakarta Post headline “Civilians Suffer Most in Ache” (www.jakartapost.com, 25th May 2003) also described the seriousness of the event by relating civilians with civilians (audience) and thus creates a sympathetic mood.

However, the ABC News launches right into the crux of the event by saying “The military has arrested 7 rebels and killed 5 others, a claim denied by pro-independent leaders” (ABC News, 20th May, 2003). It also goes on to say “Around twenty schools and other public buildings have been set on fire since the Marshall Law was declared”.

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