Rhetorical Analysis of a News Event

This is a roughly 1000-1500 word rhetorical analysis of a current news event, examining the ways that news outlets with different audiences and agendas present the same incident. You will select a story that is currently being widely covered and examine the ways the coverage differs and overlaps between outlets. This will include analysis of the headlines, story placement, language, images, and information and context that is included and omitted. 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. Overt biases and agendas of journalists and news outlets also influence which stories are covered, and how. Looking at the ways that news is covered by outlets is one way to examine how journalism helps to shape public beliefs and cultural assumptions. Implicit bias influences every aspect of daily life. Research has shown that medical providers are less likely to prescribe painkillers to black patients (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., including children. Women are forced to wait longer than men (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for emergency care. Research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. shows that job applications with comparable credentials that varied only by stereotypically white or black names resulted in fewer 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. It is an extremely well-documented problem, and in journalism it has recently been highlighted in relationship to issues ranging from how we characterize mass killers based on their race (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., to sexism in sports coverage (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.and in coverage of political candidates (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

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