Rhetorical Analysis of a News Event
This is a short, 800-1250 word analysis of a current news event of your choice. Rhetorical analysis is a form of close reading that requires textual support for your claims, so your paper will include lots of short quotes from the news stories to support your analysis, as well as some external source support for your claims about the agendas of the news outlets.
Context: we know that both implicit bias and deliberately selective presentation of images and information influence public perceptions, and ultimately shape policies and institutions. Implicit bias shows up due to the unchallenged assumptions of the journalist, and may influence how they do/not report on issues. This problem is now greatly exacerbated by the suppression of information by the current administration, as well as their presentation of “alternative facts” as news.
Implicit bias influences every aspect of daily life. Research has shown that medical providers are less likely to prescribe painkillers to black patients, including children. Women are forced to wait longer than men for emergency care. Research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that job applications with comparable credentials that varied only by stereotypically white or black names resulted in fewer
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callbacks for the stereotypically black names. The significance of the difference was such that “…a white name yields as many more callbacks as an additional eight years of experience.” Negative callback rates also resulted from names that were stereotypically female, as well as those from applicants that appeared to be from residents of low-income areas.
Content: to conduct your analysis I am asking you to focus on a current news event (that is being actively reported right now, by multiple news outlets) and examine the ways it was/not reported. Look at reports from a minimum of three different media platforms, including ones that represent different political agendas, and include analysis of both texts and images from the stories. Things to discuss:
-How prominent is the story coverage? Was it a top story/above the fold in one and hidden deep in others? Was it covered by all of the outlets?
-Look at the language of the headlines—is it sensationalist in some and matter-of-fact in others? Is there anything potentially misleading?
-Examine the images. How were the events and/or people involved portrayed? You must include images from each story in your paper, and provide some detailed analysis about each image.
-What information is not included? Is important context included in some but missing in others? Is the information supported with credible stats/links?
-Look at language and tone. This might mean overtly biased language or it may be subtle shifts in tone. Provide examples.
Details: You should start your paper with a paragraph that provides a brief overview of the news event, and your title should reference that event. Discuss the credibility and perceived political slant of each news source, providing some external support for your claims. Do some homework about the news outlets, including the Pew Research article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. we will read for class, stats from Alexa.com (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., or general research about the outlets. Cite your sources in text, and include a Works Cited page. State your citation style in the header of the paper.
Audience: The presumed audience for this paper is an academic, expert audience. This means that your tone should be relatively formal.