The Bias of Language, the Bias of Pictures Essay
The Bias of Language, the Bias of Pictures
1. Misleading Language
-“This means that there is a level of language whose purpose is to describe an event. There is also a level of language whose purpose is to evaluate an event. Even more, there is a level of language whose purpose is to infer what is unknown on the basis of what is known.”(243:1) 2. Misleading Pictures
-“The picture documents and celebrates the particularities of the universe’s infinite variety. Language makes them comprehensible.”(247:1) 3. Media
-“Because time is so precious on television, because the nature of the medium favors dynamic visual images, and because the pressures of a commercial structure require the news to hold its audience above all else, there is rarely any attempt to explain issues in depth or place events in their proper context.”(250:4)
Section II: Analysis of rhetorical technique
1. Compare and Contrast
“For ‘showing of’ and ‘talking about’ are two very different kinds of processes: individual pictures give us the world as object; language, the world as idea.”(247:1) -To show the differences between the functions of language and picture. 2. Exemplification
“Manny Freebus is 5’8” and weighs 235 pounds.
Manny Freebus is grossly fat.
Manny Freebus eat too much.”(243:1)
-Use an example to show the differences between describing, judging, and inferring statements. 3. Metaphor
-“The question then arises: what do viewers have to know about language and pictures in order to be properly armed to defend themselves against the seductions of eloquence…”(242:1) -Strengthen the tone so readers can
understand the seriousness of the misleading issue and the importance to be alert while receiving information from others.
Section III: Vocabulary
1. Nonlinguistic: not of or relating to language or linguistics. “… and here we will include in the discussion not only the pictures but all the nonlinguistic symbols that make up a television news show.”(249:2) 2. Verisimilitude: the appearance of being true or real.
“Viewers are still vulnerable to misinformation since they will not know (at least in the case of docudramas) what parts are fiction and what parts are not.”(242:1) 3. Re-creation: the action or process of creating something again. “All news shows, in a sense, are re-creations in that what we hear and see on them are attempts to represent actual events, and are not the events themselves.'”(242:1)
Section IV: Grammar focus point
-Parallelism is the use of similar patterns of words (or grammatical forms) to express similar or related ideas or ideas of equal importance. Using parallel helps a writer highlight or emphasize information or make a powerful point. -Rule: Single words should be balanced with single words, phrases with phrases, clauses with clauses. “If you have a sense of what is important, you will probably judge most news stories to be fluff, or nonsense, or irrelevancies…”(246:1)
Section V: Discussion questions
1. Why Postman and Powers say news shows are “re-creations”? 2. After reading this, will you really start to watch news shows carefully and analytically? 3. Both Rich and Postman and Powers use sub-topics in their essays. What are the advantages of using sub-topics?