Language In Mass Media

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Media Language In an increasingly globalized society, the power of mass media is evident in almost every aspect of daily life. Mass media, whether it be social media, broadcast news, journalistic writing, or even academic writing, has a wide and varied effect on the way people interact. Media writing, specifically journalistic writing, has unique characteristics that are not found in any other form of language. The benefits of studying these characteristics with a critical lens are numerous: understanding the internal power structures within mass media, understanding the role of media writing in language use in wider society, and understanding how media language affects the attitudes and opinions in society through the way it presents people’s …show more content…
Consumers of mass media are ordinarily unaware that journalistic language is in itself a specific kind of discourse. The process by which language is chosen in journalistic language is specific, and there are numerous choices made between the first records of an event and the eventual media presentation of that event. In order to understand the inherent racism in media portrayal of language issues, it is necessary to understand the processes by which language is chosen in journalistic discourse. According to Allen Bell, New Zealand based sociolinguist and journalist, “the news is seldom a solo performance…the number of people who have handed the copy—and therefore been in a position to modify language—is by no means unusual” (Bell 5). Therefore, the production of media language is not the product of a single person but a product of numerous influences and hegemonic structures. The news and journalistic language are not simply a presentation of the facts, from the witnessing of an event to the eventual broadcasting of that event, but a product created and influenced by organizational and professional practices. Understanding that news is not simply a presentation of facts is one of the key principals in understanding how language discourse can affect audience understanding and reaction toward events and the underlying biases in mass …show more content…
The use of the word thug in modern mass media has taken on a discriminatory connotation. Both the mayor of Baltimore and the online news source employ a specific lexical style in reference to the looters which perpetuates racial stereotypes and discrimination. According to discourse analyst and sociolinguist Teun A.Van Dijk, in “the lexical description of the properties and actions of majority versus minority groups, we find the major surface manifestations of underlying…ethnic prejudices” (15). Lexical significance in media representation does not extend solely to African Americans. The changing vocabulary of minority peoples, “terrorist” for Muslims and people from the Middle East, “illegal immigrants” for Mexican Americans, in mass media representations is ordinarily a direct reflection of attitudes toward those people groups. In this way, news sources pick and choose specific vocabulary to reinforce ethnic prejudice and racial

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