This paper examines linguistic and rhetorical formulations of taboo and taboo-related ideas about Donald Trump from a cross-cultural standpoint, analysing how British mainstream news media have represented his political figure along a time span of three years, and more precisely at the start and end of his Presidency. The analysis focuses on how what Trump did or said tended to be conceptualized in terms of taboo in headlines collected from the online version of two British tabloids, The Sun and The Daily Mirror (100 headlines from 2018 and 100 headlines from 2021 each). Despite the scant interest of tabloids in politics, these headlines provide a basis for exploring the selection criteria for informative material to become news, as well as the ways of reporting and linguistically construing news information. By taboo we refer here to behaviour to be avoided in that it generates social “anxiety, embarrassment, or shame” (Gao 2013: 2310). Although the term itself usually points to ideas related to sex, excretion, ugliness, violence, death, religion, etc., with institutional figures the range of taboo can be extended to include any conduct failing to match the expectations associated with such a role and that would disqualify such behaviour. In terms of language, taboo applies to words or meanings dealt with through strategies such as euphemism, dysphemism or orthophemism, in order to neutralize, exorcize or emphasize their inappropriate meanings. The codification of taboo may significantly be influenced by cross-cultural factors, such as the perception of political and cultural identity (and stereotypes) from opposite sides of the Atlantic, and the different editorial policy of rival publications such as The Sun and The Daily Mirror, which nevertheless collaborate in the construction of traits of identity and otherness between communities and cultures. While tackling the array of taboos associated with Trump in the popular press, the paper explores the “altered state of political participation” (Conboy 2006: 10) to be found in today’s trivialization of media contents and modes, as well as the construction of a carefully planned audience to whom a popular vision of both Britain and the US is constantly offered, and which the digitalization of the news industry is even amplifying.

(2021). Taboo, tabloids and Trump: The rise and twilight of a US President in digital mainstream news media [journal article - articolo]. In ESP ACROSS CULTURES. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/225068

Taboo, tabloids and Trump: The rise and twilight of a US President in digital mainstream news media

Consonni, Stefania;Sala, Michele
2021

Abstract

This paper examines linguistic and rhetorical formulations of taboo and taboo-related ideas about Donald Trump from a cross-cultural standpoint, analysing how British mainstream news media have represented his political figure along a time span of three years, and more precisely at the start and end of his Presidency. The analysis focuses on how what Trump did or said tended to be conceptualized in terms of taboo in headlines collected from the online version of two British tabloids, The Sun and The Daily Mirror (100 headlines from 2018 and 100 headlines from 2021 each). Despite the scant interest of tabloids in politics, these headlines provide a basis for exploring the selection criteria for informative material to become news, as well as the ways of reporting and linguistically construing news information. By taboo we refer here to behaviour to be avoided in that it generates social “anxiety, embarrassment, or shame” (Gao 2013: 2310). Although the term itself usually points to ideas related to sex, excretion, ugliness, violence, death, religion, etc., with institutional figures the range of taboo can be extended to include any conduct failing to match the expectations associated with such a role and that would disqualify such behaviour. In terms of language, taboo applies to words or meanings dealt with through strategies such as euphemism, dysphemism or orthophemism, in order to neutralize, exorcize or emphasize their inappropriate meanings. The codification of taboo may significantly be influenced by cross-cultural factors, such as the perception of political and cultural identity (and stereotypes) from opposite sides of the Atlantic, and the different editorial policy of rival publications such as The Sun and The Daily Mirror, which nevertheless collaborate in the construction of traits of identity and otherness between communities and cultures. While tackling the array of taboos associated with Trump in the popular press, the paper explores the “altered state of political participation” (Conboy 2006: 10) to be found in today’s trivialization of media contents and modes, as well as the construction of a carefully planned audience to whom a popular vision of both Britain and the US is constantly offered, and which the digitalization of the news industry is even amplifying.
articolo
Consonni, Stefania; Sala, Michele
(2021). Taboo, tabloids and Trump: The rise and twilight of a US President in digital mainstream news media [journal article - articolo]. In ESP ACROSS CULTURES. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/225068
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10446/225068
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