Newspaper Racial Agenda: A Critical Discourse Analysis

A Critical Discourse Analysis


adjectives, CDA, corpus linguistics, corpus-based, identity construction, racial conflicts, stereotypes, wordlist


This study aims at researching the role of print media in creating a racial project through the development and perpetuation of ethnic stereotypes. For this purpose, American newspaper coverage of mass shootings occurring from year 2000 onwards are analysed, through corpus-based approach. The research focuses on a comparison between the discriminated reporting of white American shooters and the American shooters of different ethnic backgrounds by a close analysis of the lexical items, particularly adjectives. Thus, two corpora of 38,582 words are formulated based on sixteen mass shooting incidents. Among them eight incidents were carried out by white shooters and eight by non-white American shooters. The news articles are taken from the top American newspaper agencies such as The Guardian U.S Edition, The New York Times, New York Daily and The Washington Post. Critical Discourse Analysis approach presented by Fairclough (1992) and the concept of ―Other‖ put forth by Edward Said (1978) serve as the oretical framework for the study whereas Corpus Linguistics along with CDA serve as the two methodological constructs. The data is analyzed using software tools such as Wordsmith Tools and LancsBox 32. The findings reveal that the ethnicity of a shooter such as Korean, Afghan, Bosnian, Saudi and Vietnamese determines the shape discourse would take. However there is a deliberate omission of the race when the perpetrator is a white man. The findings further reveal the lexical items with negative connotations like terrorist, extremist and radical are mostly used with Muslim perpetrators or with perpetrators of immigrant status to some extent but never with white mass murderers. These white killers are justified or humanized by declaring mental health issues as the root of the problem. The analysis yields that thearticles about the white American perpetrators are mostly constituted of objective facts i.e. about the objective details of the incidents and the lives of the shooters. On the other hand, the articles about shooters with different ethnic background focus on the subjective details about the lives of the killers. Similarly adjectives with negative connotations suchas crazy, mad and abusive‘ are never associated with white American shooters.


2020-06-18 — Updated on 2020-07-02


How to Cite

Newspaper Racial Agenda: A Critical Discourse Analysis: A Critical Discourse Analysis. Corporum [Internet]. 2020Jul.2 [cited 2022Jan.28];1(2):01-16. Available from: