In our Language and Literature class, we spent the first quarter discussing advertising techniques, propaganda strategies, and rhetorical devices. Students were able to unpack how these tools are used to inform and to persuade. Where advertising is concerned, it was clear to them how consumers were prompted to purchase certain items and to buy into some ideas.
However, where the news is concerned students took some time to see how the fourth estate can shape their viewers’ perception. The students were grouped into 2 groups and each group was assigned to read 3 articles on two world leaders:
One group studied how Philippine President Duterte is presented in the media in the context of the drug wars. They revealed how the press tries to associate Duterte with qualities such as brute force and iron will. They also made a distinction between how the local and international news depict him.
Another group studied how the Western and South Korean press depict North Korea’s Kim Jong-In. They analyzed how he is portrayed as the enigmatic and volatile leader of an isolated country.
Overall, the students were able to evaluate how the news, while it proclaims to be impartial in informing the public, is also a hotbed for bias.