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Verbal strategies in the construction of news

For this assignment a series of news clips were analysed in relation to the 2002 conflict in Jenin between the socio-political groups of Israel and Palestine. This conflict was reported throughout the global media using a cross section of language that spurned a great deal of cultural criticism. The newscasts also depicted a variety of presented images that had a great deal of contrast depending upon the nationality of the news source in question. The greatest contrast we can see in presentations is that put forward by the British and US Medias.

Although depicting similar pictures at the beginning of conflict, the series of casts portrayed by the two Medias soon veered off to depict two very different realities accompanied by two very different narratives, each using a separate methodology. Essentially, the BBC followed the situation from a relatively impartial perspective, showing graphic, yet fractured pieces of footage juxtaposed against a narrative critiquing the extent of the barbarity at hand (Nohrstedt, 2004).

Essentially, this highlighted the different ways in which the strategies were distinct in the portrayal of the conflict. However, the US narrative began to focus primarily upon the rescue attempts made by the US and allies and detracted from the socio-political causes and fatalities (Raskin, 2005). This is contrasted to the BBC narrative that looked very strongly at the potential causes and criticisms regarding the conflict, whilst representing the images of hostility with graphics.

We will now address why this may have been the case. Susan Sontag’s 2003 essay on the media coverage of War outlines some of the distinctive ways in which media bias is drawn out through language. In it, she highlights the way in which the media manipulates support for violent action, whilst denying any potential inhumanity that may be caused in a conflict (Sontag, 2003). Looking at the two depictions of the conflict in Jenin, this certainly seems to be the case of the American media portrayal.

It essentially takes the focus away from any socio-political or humanitarian atrocity and instead focuses its attention upon the heroism of the humanitarian aid workers involved. Highlighting with manipulation in the media and focusing in particular upon the use of a language to legitimise War, the political correspondent and researcher Rune Ottoson gave methodological rationale for the way in which fictions impacted upon the images and languages of War in the US media (Ottoson, 2004).

Positioning both War and fiction in tandem, she argues that conflict becomes no different to the PR process that as a consequence, results in fictional coverage. Evoking the hero and villain model of Hollywood like film, Ottoson suggests that most US War coverage is careful to avoid realistic portrayals. By way of example, the focus upon the Pentagon’s response as an objective voice of authority is emphasised in relation to the discrepancies between the facts given by the findings of a critical BBC.

We can see this from the statement from a representative of the American military depicted in the American series of broadcasts. After highlighting the needless and aggressive storming of a hospital by supposed aid workers, Ottoson compares the hospital worker’s descriptions of the invasion to that of a movie. Furthermore, she contrasts the accounts of this needless invasion to the presentation of the American military, which states that ’Some brave souls put their lives on the line to make this happen, loyal to a creed that they know that they’ll never leave a fallen comrade’ (Kampfner, 2003).

In examining the fictional nature of this series of broadcasts, she emphasises the significance of the film maker Jerry Buckheimer’s involvement in War media imagery, all the while strengthening the notion of the methodology employed by US media coverage. Furthermore, cultural critics and philosophers, Zizek and Baudrillard also give much credence to this approach to presenting fictional footage in issues of conflict. Both suggest that fictional narratives constitute the make up of social reality (Zizek, 2002; Baudrillard, 1976).

However, they extend this symbolic mechanism to reveal how reality itself can be denied by the media, as seems to be the case in this US depiction. Essentially, we can see from the US series of news broadcasts relating to the conflict in Jenin that the methodologies used by the UK and US medias are different. Essentially, the role of massacres and bloodshed has been reduced to ideological interests of a certain aspect of War (Ratzkoff & Jhally, 2004). Essentially, as one depicts the possible placement and rationale for the conflict.

So the other reduces it to a fictional narrative based upon the heroes and villains familiar to film. Bibliography Baudrillard, J. , (1976) Symbolic Exchange and Death Taken from: The Order of Simulacra (1993) London: Sage. Kampfner, J. , (2003) The Truth about Jessica, The Guardian Ottosen, R. , (2004) “Fiction or News? A Quest for Multidisciplinary Research on the Entertainment Industry and Its Effect on Journalism” Nordicom Review, 1-2, 21-27. Nohrstedt, S, A. , (2004) “Media Reflexivity in the War on Terror: Swedish Media and the Iraq War 2003”.

Taken from: http://www. modinet. dk/pdf/Irakrapport/irakkonference/Media_reflexivity_in_the_war_on_terror. pdf Raskin, R. , (2005) Cinematic Representations of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict A Statement of Intentions Department of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University, p10-122. Ratzkoff & Jhally, (2004) Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: U. S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Bathsheba: Canada Sontag, S. , (2004) Att se andras lidande. Stockholm: Brombergs Zizek, Z. , (2002) The Desert of the Real London: Verso Books

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