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Rhetorical Question of Media Influence

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There is no doubt, the media has the power to shape how we view a particular issue or belief, but the question must be asked, is it always impartial? The MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics states that writers must remain honest, independent, respect other rights, and be fair. Is the media following this code? And if not, what is their agenda?

Australia Day is now well known for the overwhelming mass of articles and news reports that follow in its stead and is a perfect example of the masterful works of the media. For the past few years our national purpose has been a lively debate, and many are discussing what it means to be a modern Australian. Australia is still a young nation, and is often seen as Britain’s child, so of course we are still figuring out our identity, much like a teenager. Also like an adolescent, Aussies are taking in new information every day. So, when given articles by the media that represent what values they should live with, they will be influenced, even if only a little. ‘We killed it: Australia Day is officially dead’, and ‘Don’t deny our Australian identity’, are examples of the powerful effects of news reporters and the techniques that they commonly use. Articles such as these contribute to Australia’s national purpose.

The article, ‘We killed it: Australia Day is officially dead’, by Welcome to Country introduces the view that Australia will not be united as a nation until we agree on a unified idea of who we are. The author uses a rhetorical question to separate the readers from the government, where word choices such as ‘living in a fantasy land’ are carefully selected to position the audience to see the government as ignorant and incompetent. Additionally, the author utilises inclusive language such as ‘our’ to encourage the reader to work towards change as they themselves are also impacted. Furthermore, the article is non-mainstream, thus the inclusive language in the rhetorical question also works towards creating a groundswell of support as a unified mass towards a modern Australia, showing the authors knowledge of current society.

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Emotive language is recurrently placed in the article to evoke a sense of anger, thus causing disbelief towards the government. The author states, “They cannot continue clinging onto their racist colonial past and expect to be united.” By introducing the government’s ideas as outdated and illogical in a modern society, the reader manifests anger as many believe Australia to be multicultural and equal of status. Therefore, having a government that doesn’t abide by those values should not be in power, hence the audience will distrust the government. This is difficult to follow. Consider your sentence structure here. The author also declares, “We are currently at a stalemate where the government wants to use Australia Day as a propaganda tool.” Australians, while still not having a strong national purpose, find Australia Day to be important to our constantly developing identity. So, to have their government using it for political gain, will anger readers due to what would be viewed as disrespect, creating more distrust. Again, clarity. Your meaning is getting lost here. The article consistently disempowers the government’s racist colonial views and works to create support towards a modern multicultural society that has a unified idea of who we are as a nation, and is an example of the type of media text that influences society towards a modern national purpose.

The article, ‘Don’t deny our Australian identity’, posted by Kevin Donnelly on ABC presents the notion that we must disregard other cultures values and celebrate a unique identity to Australians. The author elicits fear throughout the article in order to evoke a response of unease from the reader and reject other cultural values. Donnelly makes the point that, “It’s now politically correct to argue there is no such thing as an Australian because the nation, like the USA, is a melting pot of different ethnic, religious and national groups all deserving of equal treatment and respect.” This idea manifests fear as it implies to the reader that if we accept everyone’s values, this will result in the loss of our own. Furthermore, the term “melting pot” often has negative associations, thus it amplifies unease as the audience does not know what it will produce. This causes the reader to reject the cultural values due to the possibility it may influence our own.

The author’s purposeful use of exaggeration is utilised to represent extreme ideas of basic concepts to turn readers against migrants. For example, multiculturalism. Consider sentence construction It is a widely accepted and praised concept; however, Donnelly points out that, “Taken literally, means that female circumcision must be allowed and, if a religion argues that women are second rate and men rule, then we have no right to complain.” By introducing extreme Sharia Law, it creates an ‘us and them’ dynamic as Australians believe men and women to be equal. Hence, the reader will turn against the migrants as they are to be viewed as people infiltrating our country. Could you use more specific metalanguage? This article constantly pushes outdated racist colonial views while disregarding others, it elicits fear and exaggerates certain modern beliefs to turn the reader against multiculturalism. This shows that even mainstream services, such as ABC, are heavily biased.

The media does in fact influence readers towards a particular idea, thus a hidden agenda is certainly present. Mainstream media is attempting to shape an outdated colonial Australia, however it fails to represent a truly unified modern society that many Australians are longing for. Whereas non-mainstream media are gaining thousands of subscribers by presenting values that will give birth to a new multicultural Australia, reflecting current society’s needs. In order to move forward as a nation, we must be accepting of everyone’s values. Many are hesitant as they believe they will lose their own identity, but we must equally incorporate every culture. Only then will we create a sense of a modern national purpose that every group may feel proud of.

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Rhetorical Question of Media Influence. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from
“Rhetorical Question of Media Influence.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022,
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Rhetorical Question of Media Influence [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2023 Feb 5]. Available from:
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