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Sample essay topic, essay writing: History Of The Media - 1210 words
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Out of the many articles relating to crime in the New York Times, I chose three articles dealing with racial crimes. The earliest article, dated December 16, 1883, is titles "Accused of Killing a Negro" and covers a story that could be a possible murder case. The second article is dated December 16, 1933 and the slightly sensational title, "Negro, Freed by Court, Hanged in Tennessee; Lynching Handled Quietly, Sheriff Says", sums up practically the entire article. The latest of the three articles is dated December 16, 1983 and is titled "Officer Accused of Racial Assault." The earliest article describes a story of an African-American man who was found dead more than a year earlier than December 16, 1883. The story reveals that although it had been more than a year, there were no inquests held and it was generally believed that the man had simply fallen into the river by accident.
Only recent to December 16, 1883 had two white men confessed they knew men who robbed the victim and murdered him and only then had investigation been done to prove if the confession was true. The article ended without a definite conclusion, claiming that the investigation could not prove anything definite and alluding to possible "bogus confessions". This early article, I believe displays the author's bias in racial issues. On the other hand, the bias could be seen not as a bias but rather a display of the beliefs of the period in which the article was written. For example, reference to the African American victim as "Negro" was common in the 20th century and earlier, but it is now considered an inappropriate term
The definition in http://www.BrainyEncyclopedia.com states that the reason "Negro" could be found offensive is because it is related to the term "Nigger." In this particular article, "Negro" is used in the title to describe the victim. The headline does not say man or boy but chooses to define him purely by his race. Also, the article casually describes that the "body of a colored man was found floating". The immediate mention of race in this article is continuous as the writer goes on to describe the "white members of the Drum robber band" and the "Negro, Lane". This constant reference to color serves as a divide between white people and black people and could definitely serve to consciously or subconsciously alter the reactions of whomever is reading the article. The article also fails to show all dimensions of the story, and this failure comes from racism as well.
In the beginning of the article, it is casually mentioned that a "colored man" was found floating in a river more than a year previous to the article and that it had been assumed that this man had fallen off a ship. There had been no inquests, no autopsies, and no questionings. The article fails to mention why there had been no beliefs of anything other than an accidental death and simply moves along to the other aspects of the article. The story continues to mention that only with the confessions of one white prisoner was the issue of manslaughter ever brought up and based on the confession, two men were arrested. The article gives the names of both men arrested, but only points out that one of them was "colored" and he is the only one who is accused of the murder.
It is the underlying assumptions in this article that display bias in the writer. The writer's voice is heard, not because he/she is deliberately trying to change the opinions of readers but simply because he/she holds racist ideals that naturally reflect in the writing. When the white robber claims to have witnessed the murder, the black men mentioned are immediately accused and there is no mention throughout the article of the black men's stories or alibis. It is also only when the white robber has given this testimony is the coroner "so impressed" that he has the remains of the murdered man examined. It is not mentioned in the article that so basic a procedure had not been performed on the man before the testimony of the white robber.
Even in wording is the article biased, as when it speaks of the white robber, it only refers to him as a "robber and incendiary", but when speaking of the black men who are eventually arrested, the article refers to them as "desperadoes", which is described by http://www.dictionary.com as "A reckless, furious man; a person urged by furious passions and regardless of consequence; a wild ruffian." Such a description of two men that have not even been convicted of a crime could taint a reader's opinion and reveal a bias in the author. This article has an aspect that separates it from the other two articles as well as most of the articles seen in the paper today, which is that it is completely devoid of a mentioning of sources and there is an absence of direct quotes. In accordance to this writing style, the entire story is based on word of mouth. There are no details or descriptions to the events in the story as everything written is describing a story that one white robber told the police. Other than that one story teller, the people affected by the story, and the authorities who thought the story credible, there are no other sources.
The "colored man's" family and friends are not mentioned although they might have been able to provide their input on the "colored man's" death. The alibis for the men arrested for the alleged crime is never brought up and the hotel at which the colored man was residing when killed is also never questioned. The lack of tangible facts and lack of investigation makes this article poor news coverage in terms of recent times' standards for journalism. The second latest article has a slightly more sensationalistic title, but the content is nearly the same. Although it is dated fifty years later than the first article, the story contains the same racist views displayed in the first article.
In many ways, this 1933 article is slightly worse in terms of racial bias by the author as throughout the entire article, the victim, who is an African-American man, is constantly referred to simply as "the Negro". Half the time, "the Negro" is substituted for the victim's name and when the name is actually mentioned, "the Negro" always precedes it. Same as the first article, such distinctions on race reveal a bias in the author and could taint the reader's view on the case. Also, the entire story is written as though the law had been carried out. In other words, the victim is never once referred as "the victim" and the lynching is never called a murder, simply a death. Subtleties in words such as the refusal in writing style to consider the lynching of an innocent man murder and the refusal to acknowledge that the slain man is a victim has a crucial effect on the perception of the reader. It also allows the writer to say, without actually showing opinion, his/her actual viewpoints on the story.
The constant reminder that the lynched man was "a Negro" serves to plays down the m ...
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works History Of The Media
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