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Interpersonal rhetoric of attitude in news

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Drawing on principles of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) the proposed study examined and compared the attitudinal positioning of both CNN and Al-Jazeera English (AJE) concerning Iran’s Nuclear Program (INP). The paper has employed the appraisal framework (Martin & White 2005) to reveal the different subtypes of attitude, i.e., affect, judgment, and appreciation, which have been encoded in the selected news items. It has been found that AJE discourse is highly evaluated. AJE has appraised INP positively; yet, it has evaluated Iran (apart from INP) and the US negatively. Unlike CNN, it is very obvious that AJE has various agendas. To achieve its goals, AJE has employed judgment more than the other subsystems of attitude. This is not surprising, given that the function of judgment is to judge people and their actions rather than things. This may explain why AJE news coverage is biased. On the other hand, although CNN relies heavily on appreciation, its coverage is biased as well. Indirectly through appreciating INP as being a nuclear weapons program, CNN has tried to invoke readers’ judgment of Iran. In addition, CNN has highlighted aspects of their opposition towards Iran such as unity, unification, consensus, etc, through the use of (+sec). Unlike AJE, CNN has one agenda and they achieved it through appraising the “self” positively and the “other”, i.e., Iran negatively.

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Keywords: Al-Jazeera English (AJE); Cable News Network (CNN); Iran’s Nuclear Program (INP); appraisal framework; attitudinal positioning; interpersonal semantics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 5, 2019

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