Saturday, October 17, 2015

Media Studies 101: Shaping Readers' Attitudes

When the news media want to slant someone's words, there are several ways. First, the person can be quoted out of context. Second, the quotation can be partial, leaving out (from the front, middle, or end) qualifying language or other words that change the meaning. But a powerful technique is to quote the person exactly and then use the quotation verb to shape the reader's understanding.

Consider your thoughts about the speaker depending on the quotation verb chosen by the journalist:

1. "Yes, I went to that seedy neighborhood," he said.
2. he acknowledged
3. he admitted
4. he conceded
5. he confessed

1. "I didn't go to that neighborhood to buy drugs. I was searching for my son," he explained.
2. he said
3. he claimed
4. he alleged
5. he maintained

Watch for slant-free verbs, such as said and replied. Be cautious when you encounter others.

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