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The Politics of Natural Disaster: The interviews collected from the survivors of hurricane katrina depicts how officials' lack o - Essay Example

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Introduction Social construction is intrinsically linked to broadly distributed network of social relationship of people with environment within which they live. The acquisition of knowledge provides them with necessary tool to widen their area of experience and to use it for the development of society across the globe…
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The Politics of Natural Disaster: The interviews collected from the survivors of hurricane katrina depicts how officials lack o
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Download file to see previous pages In the current times, words are used to give special slant to the content and influence readers in ways which would give them some vested benefits. Today, nothing has remained sacred for media which uses language and words as major tools to gain political mileage in their reporting of events. A case in point is the reporting of hurricane Katrina which had devastated district of New Orleans, US in 2005. Three press reports are used to show how language had been manipulated to shape the readers’ attitudes toward the victims of this disaster. The paper would describe how the following words were used to convey myriad meaning with political connotations in the news reporting of Katrina relief work: Words: Refugee, evacuee, looters, everybody’s store, beleaguered people, apocalyptic desolation, black people, diehard and communes. Language as major tool of communication Media is essential part of social structure that is profusely used to disseminate information and report relevant news from all corners of the world and covering all spheres of human concern. Indeed, their importance to the people cannot be denied. Reporting of natural disasters like hurricane Katrina becomes hugely pertinent to the world at large as help can be garnered from across the world to give relief to the victims. Thus, style of reporting natural disasters often becomes more complex as language becomes rhetorical and words are used as lethal weapon to emphasize issues. Such events are also often used to politicize the vested interests of some people or bring forth the apathy of government and raise important social issues which are in the wider welfare of society. How words can give special slant to the meaning MSNBC (2005) had used ‘Looters’ in its headline and ‘Everybody’s store’ in its content to convey the reigning anarchy in the aftermath of Katrina which had left a huge trail of destruction, death and helpless people. The common man had become a looter who went on spree of looting stores with total disregard for the other people or their property. The shops and convenient stores had become everybody’s stores! Even police helped themselves to medicines without making any payments. Though of course, they said that ‘this is for the sick’! Mike Pesca (2005) of NPR was quite prolific in using the term ‘refugee’ and ‘evacuee’. He seemed pretty fascinated by it and defined evacuees as those ‘who heeded warnings and had the wherewithal to leave town before Katrina hit’. According to him, all the rest of the victims were refugees! Refugee word had become quite controversial as it was found to have demeaning connotations and lowered the status of legitimate citizens of the state to that of ‘refugee’ within their own country of birth! It had given a political twist to the word and provided the politicians with strong tool to gain political leverage even during national calamity. Interestingly his use of the word ‘beleaguered people’ was apt because the victims were harassed by the state itself and were desperately seeking relief that was not coming. They had indeed become refugee in their own country. Christian Parenti’s article has been most impressive as he has used strong words to describe ground reality of the relief work after Katrina had hit the city. There was total chaos and government machinery had ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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