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Editorial
6
Unit Objectives:
In this unit you will learn about the purposes of editorials in newspa-
pers, the differences...
164 Reading English Newspapers
What is an Editorial?
Each day newspapers publish a large number of news stories. These sto...
Editorial 165
then would choose an event or issue on which they would like to express
their views and positions.
To see th...
166 Reading English Newspapers
The Editorial:
Aging Passenger Air fleet Claims
More Victims
Another passenger plane crashe...
Editorial 167
Note that in the news story the journalist only mentions ‘hard facts’:
What happened; when and where it happ...
168 Reading English Newspapers
age actions that the editors of the newspapers think will benefit the
community.
Editorial ...
Editorial 169
170 Reading English Newspapers
Editorial 171
172 Reading English Newspapers
Editorial opinion generally is not person-
al, i.e. it does not derive from the personal
ex...
Editorial 173
First, like other types of newspaper articles, the editorial has a
headline. It is generally brief – usually...
174 Reading English Newspapers
Column
Editorials are the opinions and viewpoints of the editors, which in turn
reflect and...
Editorial 175
176 Reading English Newspapers
In the following column, the writer expresses his personal views on
President Bush’s conduc...
Editorial 177
And now to a second issue where
the process is beating the leader. On
June 3, the Environmental Protection
A...
178 Reading English Newspapers
Letters to the Editor
Besides columns, which are often written by professional contributors...
Editorial 179
NATO and U.S. Choose
Silence on Chechnya
Re “A war Shrouded in Silence,” July 16:
The only reason the atroci...
180 Reading English Newspapers
The following are two letters sent to the editor(s) of a newspaper, the
second letter in re...
Editorial 181
Editorial Cartoon
As you remember from Unit 1, the newspaper uses different codes for pre-
senting news and ...
182 Reading English Newspapers
The Editorial
Not French
French authorities last week banned the
Lebanese TV network Al-Man...
Editorial 183
In the linguistic code, there are many lexical and
grammatical means for evaluating events, people, things,
...
184 Reading English Newspapers
ions clear. Without exaggeration and caricature, the cartoonist’s opinion
might not be clea...
Editorial 185
In the cartoon the caricatures of Saddam Hussein, George Bush, and Kim
Jung II represent Iraq, the United St...
186 Reading English Newspapers
Types of Writing
Hard News stories aim simply to inform. Readers expect clear, concise
and ...
Editorial 187
Test your underestanding of the unit.
1. Editorials
a. present facts in a fair and balanced way
b. inform an...
188 Reading English Newspapers
A
8. A difference between columns and editorials is that columns are
a. longer than editori...
Editorial 189
1. Paragraphs 1 and 2
a. give an evaluation of the event
1. The International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) an...
190 Reading English Newspapers
b. introduce the topic to be discussed
c. expand on the headline
d. draw a conclusion
2. Th...
Editorial 191
c. despite the difference of Iran and Israel’s nuclear programs, the West has
the same policy towards them
d...
192 Reading English Newspapers
1. The topic on which the editorial is going to comment is rejection of the claim
that the ...
Editorial 193
B
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. 4
3. In Paragraphs 2 and 3 two comparisons are made to support the claim that the
U.S.
a...
194 Reading English Newspapers
1. Are there any real people in the cartoon? Who is portrayed in the cartoon?
2. Did the ca...
Editorial 195
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The Structure of Newspaper Editorials

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In this unit you will learn about the purposes of editorials in newspa-pers, the differences between editorials and news stories, and the structure of editorials. You will also learn about other opinion materi-als in newspapers such as columns, letters to the editor, and editorial cartoons.
column, editorial, editorial cartoon, editorials, efl, elt, hard news, headlines, iran, lead paragraphs, letters to the editor, news, newspapers, opinion article, reading newspapers, soft news, university of kashan, views, critical reading

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The Structure of Newspaper Editorials

  1. 1. Editorial 6 Unit Objectives: In this unit you will learn about the purposes of editorials in newspa- pers, the differences between editorials and news stories, and the structure of editorials. You will also learn about other opinion materi- als in newspapers such as columns, letters to the editor, and editorial cartoons.
  2. 2. 164 Reading English Newspapers What is an Editorial? Each day newspapers publish a large number of news stories. These sto- ries are ‘factual’ articles, i.e. they report ‘facts’. They do not include the opinions, feelings, and biases of the reporters, editors and owners of the newspapers. Any ‘voice’ heard or ‘opinion’ and ‘feeling’ expressed in these stories comes, mostly through quotations, from such people as ‘of- ficials’, ‘experts’, ‘witnesses’, or those directly involved in the story. In addition to news, newspapers publish separate articles in which they express their own views on current issues in the news. Such articles are referred to as ‘editorials’. An editorial, then, is the expression of the opinion or the position of (the owners and editors of) a newspaper on current issues in the news. In their news stories, newspapers present facts, but in their editorials hey can tell their readers what they think of the is- sues and events in those stories. As an example, suppose the Government has made a deci- sion to lift restrictions on the import of foreign automobiles into the country. In reporting this event, newspapers present the facts concerning the event such as the time the decision will come into effect, the num- ber of automobiles licensed to be imported, types of automobiles to be imported, the amount of tariff to be levied on the imported automobiles, and so on. In their stories, newspa- pers will not criticize or defend the decision. They will not express their opinions as to whether the decision is wrong or right, responsible or irre- sponsible, etc. A newspaper which agrees with the Government’s decision may choose it as the topic of its editorial and express its position on this issue. It may, for example, argue that automobile imports will bring the prices down, that it will get domestic automobile manufacturers to increase the quality of their cars, that it will give consumers better choices, and so on. Another newspaper which opposes the decision may choose this same issue as the topic of its editorial and argue against the decision. It may argue that the lifting of restrictions will weaken the domestic car indus- try, that it is against national interests, and so on. To write an editorial, the editors would first choose a topic. That is, they would see what controversial events have been in the news, and Newspapers use such various labels as ‘opinion’, ‘viewpoint’, ‘perspective’, comment’, ‘editorial’, ‘voice of’’, etc. to refer to the articles expressing their views on the events.
  3. 3. Editorial 165 then would choose an event or issue on which they would like to express their views and positions. To see the difference between editorials and news stories, read the fol- lowing two articles. In the first article – a news story – the newspaper re- ports facts concerning an event, i.e. the crash of a passenger plane, and in the second article the newspaper expresses its position and opinion on that event. The News Story: TEHRAN (Reuters) — An Iranian airliner carrying 117 people crashed into a moun- tain while trying to land in western Iran, killing all aboard. A government official and local residents said. The Russian-built Tupolev- 154, belonging to Iran Air Tours, an affiliate of the state carrier Iran Air, was flying from the capital Tehran to Khorramabad when it disap- peared off radar screens Southwest of the city. Low clouds and heavily overcast skies may have hampered landing, residents said. The official, who de- clined to be identified, said those killed – 105 passengers and the rest crew – included four government officials and at least two foreigners. “All 117 are dead,” the offi- cial told Reuters. Khorramabad lies to the east of the Zagros Mountain range running along the bor- der with Iraq. State radio said villagers in the area were startled by an explosion early in the morning. “There is a mountain close to the airport and the plane crashed into it as it was land- ing,” said a local resident who visited the crash site. “The plane was totally de- stroyed and scattered in small pieces across the mountain,” the resident said. A Transport Ministry spokesman said four Italians were among the passengers, but a diplomat at the Italian embassy in Tehran said he could not confirm his coun- trymen were among those missing. The government official could only confirm two foreigners were among the dead. P Plane Crash Kills 117 in Western Iran
  4. 4. 166 Reading English Newspapers The Editorial: Aging Passenger Air fleet Claims More Victims Another passenger plane crashed into a moun- tain as it came in to land in the vicinity of Khorramabad yesterday, killing all 105 passen- gers and 13 crew members aboard. The President appointed a committee to inves- tigate the causes of the crash but, unfortunately, the tragedy and the ensuing inquiry is a repetition of past events. We have witnessed similar failures in the post- revolutionary era, in which ten major airline crashes have claimed 1099 victims. The YAK-40 plane crash killed the Minister of Roads and Transportation and his accompanying delegation on May 17, 2001, as they were flying to Golestan province. The cause of the accident was never revealed. Similar air crashes have been frequently rec- orded since our passenger fleet is over twenty years old. Developing nations replace their pas- senger fleet every ten years while affluent and industrial countries renew their fleet every five years. Worse still, much of our passenger air fleet has been commissioned from former socialist states who are themselves seeking Western technology and modern planes. Officials cite lack of hard cur- rency and international sanctions for our ailing and antiquated passenger fleet, yet the public is at risk and losing confidence in our national airlines. The airline aviation authorities and national carriers frequently blame natural phenomena for the air accidents, but there is also a lack of trans- parency and accountability in the airline industry. The numerous committees that have been ap- pointed have not come up with solutions and the high fatality rate on passenger flights continues. Unless we are able to establish scientific and sound passenger travel service, airline accidents will jeopardize the future of air passenger service in Iran.
  5. 5. Editorial 167 Note that in the news story the journalist only mentions ‘hard facts’: What happened; when and where it happened; how many people died in the event, and so on. He makes no value judgment as to who is to blame, who should be held responsible for the crash, and no prescription as to what should be done to prevent future similar incidents. In the editorial on the same event, the editorial writer takes a different approach from that of the journalist. He opens the editorial with an evalua- tive word, i.e. “aging,” suggesting a cause for the incident. Similar opin- ions and value judgments continue throughout the editorial: “Unfortu- nately, the tragedy and the ensuing inquiry is a repetition of past events”; “We have witnessed similar failures in the post-revolutionary era”; “Our pas- senger fleet is over twenty years old”; “Worse still, much of our passenger air fleet has been commissioned from former socialist states who are themselves seeking Western technology and modern planes”; “There is also a lack of transparency and accountability in the airline industry.” The writer wraps up the editorial with a prescription as to what should be done to make domestic flights safer. The Language of Editorials The language of editorials is usually formal as they are directed at a read- ing public who is already informed about current events but who wishes to read about the wider implications of events in the news. The formality of the language will vary, however, from a large national newspaper to a small provincial newspaper. More importantly, the language of editorials is persuasive. We all use persuasion in our everyday lives. We try to convince the car salesman to give us a discount. We try to convince a member of the opposite sex that we are witty, intelligent and fun. We attempt to convince a police officer to let us off with a warning rather than giving us a speeding ticket. Edito- rials, too, use persuasion. In fact, unlike news stories, which simply in- form and present facts, editorials try to convince and persuade (as well as to endorse, praise, criticize and defend). They encourage the readers to form beliefs and ideas and persuade them to follow a specific way of thinking. Through expressing their opinions and judgments on current issues, editorials try to influence the value judgments of their readers and convince them to subscribe to a specific ideology. Editorials also encour- The editorial board is a group of people, usually the top edi- tors, who decide on a plan for each editorial that will appear in a newspaper.
  6. 6. 168 Reading English Newspapers age actions that the editors of the newspapers think will benefit the community. Editorial writers plan their articles very carefully. They present chosen phenomena, events, people and subjects to readers and using different linguistic and non-linguistic strategies or providing supporting evidence such as quotes from politicians, experts or reference to reports or statistics try to influence the readers’ attitudes toward them. They try to change the way people see things.
  7. 7. Editorial 169
  8. 8. 170 Reading English Newspapers
  9. 9. Editorial 171
  10. 10. 172 Reading English Newspapers Editorial opinion generally is not person- al, i.e. it does not derive from the personal experiences or opinions of a single editor. Even when written by a single editor, edito- rials count as the opinion of the newspaper. This ‘impersonal’ nature of editorials af- fects their structure. First person pronouns and stories about personal experiences will be quite rare in them. They mostly focus on public (news) events, and support general (social, economic, cultural or political) opin- ions usually shared by other elite groups in society. The editorials of different newspapers are quite diverse in their styles and textual strat- egies, e.g. in the selection of lexical items, syntactic structures and modes of argumen- tation, suggesting a distinctive ‘voice’ for each newspaper. The variation in textual strategies and style is according to the target readership of the newspapers. However, while the lexicon and style may vary accord- ing to the target readership, the structure of editorials is more or less the same for differ- ent newspapers. The Structure of Editorials The editorial like other types of writing has a conventional organization or structure. This structure, though not rigidly followed by all newspapers, is as follows: Headline Summary of the event Evaluation of the event – specially of actions and actors Practical conclusion (recommendation, advice, warning, etc.) 3 2 1 1 1 1 4 Many newspapers also run an ‘op-ed’ page, which means, liter- ally, ‘opposite (of) editorial’. This refers to the fact that this page is positioned opposite from the edi- torial page. However, it does not mean the opinions on it are nec- essarily opposite of the editorial page. This page includes editori- als and opinions from other newspapers, wire services and syndicated columnists. It may also include statements of opin- ions from local government and civic leaders. Editorials on this page may also be penned by the newspaper’s own staff, but do not necessarily represent the views of the newspaper’s editorial board.
  11. 11. Editorial 173 First, like other types of newspaper articles, the editorial has a headline. It is generally brief – usually a phrase – and may even consist of one word. Second, the editorial will have to briefly tell ‘what happened’, an introduction of the topic identifying the problem being discussed and giving the reader some background about the subject. Sometimes this may be very brief, e.g. a simple phrase when the event is already widely known (“Yesterday’s bomb attack ….”, or “Hasty privatization occurring…..”). Also, we may expect the first part (summary of the event) will be more or less factual avoiding value judgment, although the description of the event itself may take place in partly evaluative terms as in “Terrorists yesterday bombed ….” (‘Terrorist’ is an evaluative word). Third, it needs to be spelled out in the editorial what was good or bad, wrong or right of the event. The editorial uses many evaluative terms (e.g. responsible, irresponsible, honest, irrational, worst, best, etc.) in this part. This third evaluative part will focus on the opinions of the newspaper and will involve values and underlying ideologies. Finally, newspaper readers may expect an answer to the question ‘What next?’, ‘What are we going to do about this?’ and such an implicit question may be answered by the forth, concluding part of the editorial, that is, by some kind of pragmatic solution: What the authorities should or should not do. This forth pragmatic part often takes the forms of: a suggested solution to a problem, recommendations for action, or a mes- sage for the reader to think about. To see an example of an editorial adhering to this structure, look back at the editorial on the crash of Iranian plane near Khoramabad. The edi- torial begins with a headline. The opening paragraph introduces the topic to be discussed by giving a summary of the event. In the following para- graphs the editorial evaluates the event expressing opinion and judgment on the causes of the event and the people who should be held accounta- ble for the tragedy. The editorial closes with a practical conclusion: What should be done to avoid future tragedies. The Layout of Editorials Editorials are usually “boxed” (inside a rectangular border), vertically ar- ranged, and are usually on the left side of the page since this is a position of prominence on a page, and therefore importance.
  12. 12. 174 Reading English Newspapers Column Editorials are the opinions and viewpoints of the editors, which in turn reflect and represent the views and policies of the owners of the newspa- pers. Newspapers also give their staff-members as well as their readers an opportunity to express their opinions on current events. That is, besides editorials, there are other ‘opinion’ articles in newspapers. One such arti- cle is the column, which refers to a series of articles by the same person appearing on a regular basis (in a newspaper) and giving the person’s per- sonal opinions on different issues. Columns can be regarded as personal editorials, the purposes of which are to advise, criticize, entertain, ana- lyze, interpret, or comment. They are views behind the news written by people who take an interest in explaining behind-the-scene events. Note that columns are different from editorials in that they are the opinions of the writer and not those of the newspaper. They use singular voice, i.e. uses the personal “I” in contrast to editorials which use plural voice. Column writers may talk about their personal interests and person- al agenda, but editorials speak in the interest of the public and aim at the public good. The writers of columns are called columnists, who are either staff members of the newspaper or syndicated columnists, who write for dif- ferent newspapers. Columnists are sometimes famous and influential, so their columns are often headed by their pictures. Each columnist has his own style. Some try to be funny; others are very serious and use a very formal style.
  13. 13. Editorial 175
  14. 14. 176 Reading English Newspapers In the following column, the writer expresses his personal views on President Bush’s conduct of key domestic and foreign affairs. That is, the columnist criticizes President Bush for failure to achieve his goals. Bush Is Stumbling on Three of His Key Goals James Pinkerton Good leaders set goals and then set up processes to achieve those goals. Lesser leaders watch helplessly, even cluelessly, as those processes get away from them, carrying them toward un- wanted results. Meet President George W. Bush, who is having a hard time managing the process, let alone achieving his goals. As evidence, one might consider three processes that Bush has lost con- trol over, all now pulling him toward destinations he never wanted to reach. But now here he is, waist-deep in the big muddies of the Mideast, global warming and the de-legitimization of his own presidency. Bush never intended to get involved in mediating the Arab-Israeli conflict, but pressure from world opinion, am- plified by the State Department, spun him around. So now he’s into the nitty- gritty of negotiation, or at least he says he is. On Saturday he stood next to Hosni Mubarak, declaring that he and the Egyptian leader shared the “grand goal” of “two states” - one Israeli, one Palestinian - "living side by side in peace.” OK, but how to get to that goal? Did Bush agree with Mubarak that there should be a firm timetable for a “final settlement”? On that matter, Bush was vague, saying merely, “We need to start immediately in building the institutions necessary for the emergence of a Pales- tinian state.” But wait: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, now visiting Washington, has made it crystal clear that he won’t accept a timetable, and almost as clear that he doesn’t want a Palestinian state. And for its part, the Palestinian leadership shows no inter- est in living peacefully side by side with Israel. But now, having stated the goal of a Palestinian state, is Bush going to go sit back as both Israelis and Palestinians thwart him? Such a stalemate might be inevitable, but for the sake of the coun- try’s credibility - not to mention his own personal credibility - Bush should be careful about committing himself to goals he can’t achieve. Honest brokers should think in advance about bad con- sequences if their words are broken and thus made to appear dishonest.
  15. 15. Editorial 177 And now to a second issue where the process is beating the leader. On June 3, the Environmental Protection Agency sent a report to the United Na- tions conceding that pollutants were the cause of global warming: “The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities.” That admission on emis- sions, of course, was a reversal of the Bush Administration's previous dogma. The next day, the president distanced himself from the document. “I read the report put out by the bureaucracy,” he snapped, closing the matter as far as he was concerned. But the report was hammered out by six federal agencies. Moreover, if Bush were truly outraged, he could have fired, for example, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whit- man. Bush doesn’t think such a drastic step is necessary, but in allowing the report to stand, more or less, he con- tinues the drift into a costly emissions- control program. Many will cheer, of course - but few cheerers voted for Bush. Speaking of votes, consider what’s happening to his legitimacy as the 43rd president. On May 21, the Justice De- partment announced its intention to sue three Florida counties for viola- tions of the Voting Rights Act in the 2000 election. Yup, this is the same sunshine State that Bush carried by just 537 votes, out of nearly 6 million ballots cast. Given that narrow mar- gin, couldn’t even the smallest irregu- larity have tipped those 25 electoral votes, and thus the White House, to- ward Democrat Al Gore? Asked that exact question, Ralph Boyd, Bush’s assistant attorney general for civil rights, replied, “I couldn't even begin to answer that.” But of course, Democrats know the answer they want, and they are push- ing the process to achieve their goal, demanding more investigations, all of which help make their case - that Bush didn't deserve to win Florida or the presidency. And Bush’s own Jus- tice Department, having failed to bring up other voting irregularities that went against Republican voters, is now certifying that the 2000 vote count was prejudiced against Demo- crats. In April 2001, the president de- scribed his management style: “I dele- gate,” he told CBS News, “but I set the goals for the administration.” Four- teen months later, it’s obvious that his delegates have goals of their own. And yet the Goal-Setter-in-Chief doesn't seem to notice, or even suspect.
  16. 16. 178 Reading English Newspapers Letters to the Editor Besides columns, which are often written by professional contributors (both staff and non-staff writers), there are other opinions in newspapers which are expressed by ordinary people from different social and educa- tional backgrounds. These opinions are printed in a section labeled ‘letters to the editor’. The letters section is the readers’ forum. The letters carry a wide range of topics. They may express senders’ opinions on current na- tional or international affairs, or they may be about personal experiences. They are written for a variety of purposes: to complain, suggest, observe, criticize, thank, request, discuss and debate. Letters are usually short and to the point, and the editors may edit them even further to make them shorter. The structure of letters is more or less similar to that of the editorial. The writer starts the letter with the statement of the problem, i.e. the is- sue on which he wants to present a comment. Then, he presents his eval- uation of the issue, and finally closes his letter with a suggestion or a practical conclusion. The following letter begins with a reference to a previously published article in the newspaper titled “A War Shrouded in Silence.” In so doing, the writer specifies the topic on which he is going to comment. Then, like an editorial, the writer starts his evaluation of the event: …that the West’s silence over Chechnya makes it an accomplice to the Russians, that the West has not taken a consistent policy toward Bosnia and Chechnya, and that NATO is to blame for not stopping the killing of Muslims. Finally, the writer draws the conclusion that the West is not honest in its condemning of terrorism in different parts of the world and that it has taken a hypocritical approach toward the world issues.
  17. 17. Editorial 179 NATO and U.S. Choose Silence on Chechnya Re “A war Shrouded in Silence,” July 16: The only reason the atrocities being committed in Chechnya are “shrouded in silence” is because NATO, led by the U.S., chooses silent complicity with the Russians. I find it ironic that while the UN tries Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes in Kosovo and Bosnia, the West permits the Russians to commit geno- cidal war against the Muslim Chechen people. Of course, the trial of Milosovic is primarily a mechanism for NATO to de- ny its complicity in the mass slaughter of Muslims. NATO failed to lift a finger to stop the mass rapes and murders of the Bosnian Muslims by Serbs and Croats; indeed, its arms blockade ensures the success of these crimes against humani- ty. Harvard professor Samuel P. Hun- tington has noted that the failure of the U.S. to defend the Bosnians was in large part due to the European opposition to the creation of a Muslim state in Eu- rope. The strategy was clear: Let Milso- vic slaughter the Muslims, then We’ll place him on trial and look like good guys. Meanwhile, Russian President Vla- dimir Putin, the chief engineer of the massacre of the Chechens, is still treat- ed as a legitimate world leader. Chech- nya falls outside of NATO’s sphere of influence, so not even lip service need be paid to Russian atrocities. Meanwhile, the U.S. holds up a few Algerian radicals and decries “Islamic terrorism.” The hypocrisy is astounding. Walter Comins-Richmond Alhambra
  18. 18. 180 Reading English Newspapers The following are two letters sent to the editor(s) of a newspaper, the second letter in response to the first one. Women Drivers Sir, __ A wll-known man said recently that teaching one’s wife to drive a car was the worst job he could think of. It was, he said, a difficult job and one that caused bad tem- per. No one has troubled to point out that women cause fewer accidents (in proportion to their numbers as drivers) than men do. In America, where half the drivers are women, there are five or six times as many accidents by men as by women. We hear hundreds of sug- gestions for reducing the num- ber of road accidents, but men are so unwilling to admit that women drivers are more care- ful than men that no one seri- ously considers the employ- ment of more women drivers. If more women and fewer men were employed to drive commercial cars and vans, the number of deaths on the roads would soon go down. Yours faithfully Mary Glynne New York Figures Can Lie Sir, __ Mrs. Glynne’s letter on the sub- ject of women drivers makes a wrong use of figures. Figures, it is said, can be used to prove anything. Mrs. Glynne points out that half the drivers in America are women, and concludes that, because there are five or six accidents caused by men drivers for every one accident caused by a women driver, women driv- ers are very much more careful than men. This is a false conclusion. Most wom- en drive only occasionally, usually for short visits to friends or to the shops. Men, especially those driving vans and lorries, drive for much greater distances and for far longer times. Many of them are at the wheel seven or eight hours a day. I do not wish to suggest that women are careless drivers, but I must protest against Mrs. Glynne’s comparison. It is wrong to compare the number of acci- dents caused by men with the number caused by women without also compar- ing the total number of hours during which men and women drive. The fig- ures or men and women who hold driv- ing licenses cannot give a true compari- son. It is easy to use figures wrongly. Yours faithfully B. A. Windsor New York
  19. 19. Editorial 181 Editorial Cartoon As you remember from Unit 1, the newspaper uses different codes for pre- senting news and information. The codes are linguistic, typographic, and graphic. Expressing opinion and judgment in editorials, columns, and letters to the editor is mostly done through linguistic and typographic codes. Expressing opinion, however, may be done through graphic code too. The newspaper uses cartoons and caricatures to comment and ex- press opinion on current issues in the news. These are referred to as edito- rial or political cartoons. They are editorials in pictorial form. They aim at amusing the reader, illuminating public opinion, and, like editorials, ex- pressing views and attitudes on current events. The following are an editorial and an editorial cartoon expressing opinion on the same issue. Notice how just in one cartoon the cartoonist succinctly and effectively sums up the arguments made by a whole arti- cle. The Editorial Cartoon
  20. 20. 182 Reading English Newspapers The Editorial Not French French authorities last week banned the Lebanese TV network Al-Manar. The reason behind the unexpected move is said to be a show broadcast by the TV that sparked pro- tests by powerful Jewish organizations in France. The country’s Supervisory Council for TV and Radio Programs claimed the network provokes anti-Semitic sentiments. Freedom of the press is not a new subject and for over two decades has been a top so- ciopolitical priority in Europe. France, as the cradle of civilization, has played an important role in supporting and promoting freedoms and civil liberties. However, the question is what is the range and scope of this freedom? Under the present circumstances, can it be said that the press is free only if and when it complies with western thinking and value systems!? How is it that the West has the right to censorship and can stifle the mass media if it does not comply with their demands? Paris has deprived 15 million French citizens fa- miliar with the Arabic language from watch- ing their programs of choice. The French Declaration of Human and Civ- il Rights of 1793 and 1795, annexation to the constitution of 1946 and of 1958 stress the rights of citizens to free access to infor- mation. The TV network that France has de- clared illegal is one of the popular networks of the Arab world. It has support also among Lebanon’s Christians. Preventing the broadcast of news and views by Al-Manar is a major hindrance to the free flow of information. The network stands accused of provok- ing anti-Semitic sentiments. But it is still not clear to what extent this charge is valid. It seems what has been characterized as anti- Semitic is actually opposition to the crimi- nal policies of the Zionist regime. This TV organization focuses its broad- casts on Zionist atrocities in Occupied Pal- estine, its inhumane moves against Pales- tinian civilians, and the widespread death and destruction unleashed by Sharon’s ar- my. It is obvious that showing such scenes and regularly exposing the crimes of Amer- ica’s closest ally in the region, is not palata- ble to some politicians. This is while sec- tions of the western mass media love to spread the perceived fear of Islam and hardly miss an opportunity to tarnish the image of our religion. The smallest moves by radical groups with Islamic identities become pretexts for attacking Islam and Muslims. Putting the word Islam alongside terrorism and the uninterrupted reference to Islamic terror- ism has for long become a permanent fea- ture of the western press. The French government is showing mis- placed concern and too much sensitivity towards the issue, and knowingly or other- wise has emerged at the forefront of anti- Islamic moves. Earlier this year it was the same government in Paris that imposed a ban on the Hijab for Muslim students and those who refused to discard their head- scarves were expelled from school. It seems the French are following a course of action very different from their ancestors who were pioneers of freedom and democracy. The question is why the leaders in France should take measures that do not help its image in today’s complicated world.
  21. 21. Editorial 183 In the linguistic code, there are many lexical and grammatical means for evaluating events, people, things, actions, and phenomena. These include attitudinal quali- fiers (e.g. irresponsible policy, key proposal), nouns with evaluative connotations (e.g. threat, promise), sentence adverbials (hopefully, significantly, possibly, frequently), and modals (could be, should be). Similarly, in the graphic code, there are also means and conventions through which it is possible to indicate how important an element should be seen to be (salience, or visual importance), whether an image is to be read realistically or as a fantasy, whether a person is good or bad, acting desirably or unde- sirably, and so forth. The editorial cartoon, as a means of editorializing, uses both these codes to perform its functions. It uses both lin- guistic and graphic elements, and combines them into a cohesive and coherent whole to express opinion. (note, however, that in some editorial cartoons the linguistic code may not be used, i.e. there is no caption, mini-dialogue, or mini-monodialogue). Elements of Editorial Cartoons Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, often controversial, the editorial cartoons express opinions and attitudes. The cartoons can be very diverse, but there is a certain established style among most of them. Most editori- al cartoons use a number of elements such as ‘symbolism’, ‘exaggera- tion/caricature’, ‘metaphor’, ‘metonymy’, ‘analogy’, and ‘irony’ to ex- plain complicated political situations, and thus sum up a current event with a humorous picture. The most important element of editorial cartoons is symbolism which refers to the practice of using symbols – pictures or designs – that (meta- phorically or metonymically) represent something else. That is, instead of using many words or sentences to convey an idea, editorial cartoons of- ten use pictures as symbols for larger ideas, people, organizations, and so on. Over the years, for example, certain common symbols have been re- peatedly used by many different cartoonists. Examples include the use of a ‘donkey’ and ‘elephant’ to represent the United States Democratic Party and Republican Party respectively, ‘Uncle Sam’ to represent the United States, a ‘bear’ to represent Russia, a ‘dragon’ to represent China, a dove with an olive branch to represent peace, and so forth. Exaggeration/Caricature, i.e. overstating an aspect of a problem or ex- aggerating a person’s physical features is also commonly used in editorial cartoons. They are tools that editorial cartoonists use to make their opin- Editorial: the newspaper’s official position Column: opinion of Professional column- ists or newspaper staff Letter to the editor: opinion of private citizen
  22. 22. 184 Reading English Newspapers ions clear. Without exaggeration and caricature, the cartoonist’s opinion might not be clear enough, or the problem might not be obvious. Analogy, i.e. comparing two things, for instance a situation or event with a historical or fictional event, is the next common element in edito- rial cartoons. Like symbolism, an analogy can often express an idea that might otherwise take many words to describe or explain. It is sometimes easier to describe a situation or event by comparing it to a historical or fictional situation or event. Irony, i.e. contrasting (often humorously) between appearance and re- ality is also a common element used in editorial cartoons. Cartoonists of- ten use irony to emphasize a point because it suggests the absurdity of a problem. In addition to the above-mentioned elements there are other elements in editorial cartoons. These include dialogue bubbles (bubbles in which the characters’ speech appears), captions, and labels to make clear to the reader what people and objects are being represented. To ‘read’ editorial cartoons, you should first iden- tify the symbols and the other elements used in them. The symbol identification is not enough, how- ever. The next step is to try to understand the mean- ings, both denotative and connotative, of these sym- bols and elements. Finally, drawing on your knowledge of symbols, literary elements, and knowledge of the world events, you should try to connect these symbols and elements to fully analyze and understand the cartoon’s point of view and opin- ion. We conclude this section with the analysis of an example cartoon. The second cartoon goes back to a time when the U.S. introduced North Korea and Iraq as two countries dangerous to the world peace. To control them, however, the U.S. adopted two differ- ent approaches. As for Iraq, the U.S. decided to use military force to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. And for North Korea, which for many was more dan- gerous and a more immediate threat than Iraq, the U.S. chose the less severe options of ‘negotiations’ and ‘sanctions’. Editorial cartoons are not just like other comics meant to entertain. They may be funny, but their main purpose is to offer an opinion or point of view about some issue or prob- lem in the news. Like editorials, editorial cartoons are meant to  draw attention to an idea, event, etc.  present a point of view  encourage a course of action  stimulate debate on an issue, event, etc.
  23. 23. Editorial 185 In the cartoon the caricatures of Saddam Hussein, George Bush, and Kim Jung II represent Iraq, the United States, and North Korea respectively. This is an interesting use of metonymy. Metonymy is a stylistic device by which one entity is used to stand for another associated entity. An obvi- ous example is the use of caricatures of the leaders of the various coun- tries as representatives for the countries themselves. The bomb-like fig- ures of Saddam and Kim Jung imply the danger they pose to the world peace or the United States. President Bush lights the fuse of a distant bomb while turning his back on the closer one. The core meaning of this cartoon is the profound and dangerous contradiction between the U.S. policies towards Iraq and North Korea, and the immediacy of the danger posed by each.
  24. 24. 186 Reading English Newspapers Types of Writing Hard News stories aim simply to inform. Readers expect clear, concise and unbiased information from news stories. Usually written in inverted pyramid style, news stories provide the major facts of a story in the first few paragraphs (called the lead). This allows readers to quickly obtain the most important information. Feature stories cover topics such as social trends, health, fashion, food, travel, and sidelines to news stories. Feature stories deal with facts and information, but they are not hard news. Written for entertainment, fea- ture articles use the writer’s imagination and creativity and may include the writer’s opinion Opinion: There are several places where you will find opinion writing. The most obvious is the clearly labeled Opinion page. Here you’ll find edi- torials expressing the views of the newspaper’s editorial board (always unsigned), letters to the editor (always signed), editorial cartoons and
  25. 25. Editorial 187 Test your underestanding of the unit. 1. Editorials a. present facts in a fair and balanced way b. inform and entertain c. reflect the position of people d. reflect the positions of the editors of newspapers 2. Editorial writers try to a. influence the opinion and value judgment of their readers b. show their disagreement with common beliefs c. reject the judgment of their readers d. make unknown matters familiar 3. Different newspapers a. choose the same topic for their editorials b. usually hold the same views on the controversial issues in the news c. may hold opposite views on the same issue d. present the same arguments to support their views 4. Editorials in different newspapers a. usually use the same textual strategies b. use formal language c. use informal language d. differ from one another in their style and textual strategies 5. Editorials a. are similar to news stories in their structure b. have their own structure and organization c. do not usually have a conventional structure d. have varied structures in different newspapers 6. Editorials often begin with a(n) a. introduction of the topic b. solution offered by the writer c. alternative solution d. practical conclusion 7. Newspapers a. only express their editors’ opinions b. only express their staff-writers’ opinions c. may sometimes express ordinary people’s opinions d. usually withhold opinion
  26. 26. 188 Reading English Newspapers A 8. A difference between columns and editorials is that columns are a. longer than editorials b. more formal than editorials c. not necessarily the official views of the newspaper d. critical of the issues in the news 9. ‘Letters to the editor’ section expresses the opinions of a. staff-writers b. non-staff writers c. the editors of a newspaper d. elite people 10. The letters sent to the editor are a. almost exclusively about the sender’s personal experiences b. almost exclusively about current issues c. usually complaining or criticizing d. about a wide range of topics Exercises Read the following editorials and answer the questions that follow each.
  27. 27. Editorial 189 1. Paragraphs 1 and 2 a. give an evaluation of the event 1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Sat- urday that due to some problems, there would be a delay in the release of IAEA Director Mohammed El- Baradei’s report on Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA spokesperson made no further comment. 2. ElBaradei had been scheduled to deliver a comprehensive report on Iran’s cooperation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog to the IAEA Board of Governors on Sunday. 3. The issue of Iran’s nuclear activi- ties has been headline news around the world for about nine months now. In fact, the U.S. and Western media are interested in the case from a polit- ical point of view, while in reality it is only a technical matter. 4. Moreover, the secret meetings between high-ranking IAEA officials and representatives of the United States and the Zionist regime’s intel- ligence services indicate that a new plot against the Islamic Republic is being hatched using Iran’s nuclear program as a pretext. 5. Warnings about Iran’s civilian nuclear program are being issued day after day, yet the Zionist regime’s nu- clear weapons program, which is a serious threat to world peace, is never questioned or even mentioned by the U.S. and other Western countries. It is common knowledge that the Zionist regime possesses a stockpile of at least 250 advanced nuclear warheads as well as other weapons of mass de- struction (WMD). 6. Unfortunately, Israel has enor- mous influence over the IAEA due to the support it receives from the U.S., which is itself beholden to the Zionist lobby. The Zionist regime not only refuses to sign international agree- ments such as the nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the 93+2 Additional Protocol to the NPT, it also violates the most basic stand- ards of environmental protection with its nuclear program. 7. On the other hand, the Islamic Republic has repeated time and again that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes, and its nuclear dossier has not been forwarded to the UN Security Council, despite the ef- forts of hostile countries. 8. However, it is clear that if the IAEA, under the influence of the Zion- ist lobby, intends to continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear weapons program and refrain from inspecting its nuclear activities, the world and the region will witness a dangerous arms race in the near future. 9. Therefore, international organi- zations advocating world peace, par- ticularly the United Nations, should take the measures necessary to make the Middle East region a nuclear weapons-free and WMD-free zone. However, prospects for Middle East peace look bleak, since the Zionist regime appears to have no intention of signing important disarmament conventions such as the NPT and the 93+2 Additional Protocol to the NPT. Double Standards on Establishment of WMD-Free Middle East
  28. 28. 190 Reading English Newspapers b. introduce the topic to be discussed c. expand on the headline d. draw a conclusion 2. The topic on which the editorial is going to comment is a. IAEA’s condemnation of Iran’s secret nuclear program b. Iran’s secret nuclear program c. IAEA Board of Governors’ report on Iran’s nuclear program d. IAEA’s Director’s expected report on Iran’s nuclear program 3. The editorial’s evaluation of the event begins mainly from Paragraph a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 6 4. According to the editorial, Iran’s nuclear program a. has been among the top news stories for some time b. has only been mentioned in newspapers’ headlines c. has been mostly covered up by Western media d. is dangerous to the world peace 5. According to Paragraph 4, a. the report is expected to be positive b. the report is expected to be negative c. IAEA officials are making decisions independently d. IAEA officials are Israeli secret agents 6. “Double standards” in the editorial’s headline means the U.S. and Western countries have a. no standards in dealing with world issues b. two rules for dealing with world issues c. a single policy in dealing with world issues d. taken two different approaches to the same issue in two different countries 7. “Double standards” in the editorial’s headline is elaborated on and exemplified (mainly) in paragraphs a. 1 and 2 b. 2 and 3 c. 5 through 8 d. 1 through 4 8. According to Paragraph 5, a. despite the similarity of Iran and Israel’s nuclear programs, the West has taken two different approaches b. although Iran’s program is peaceful, it is being ignored
  29. 29. Editorial 191 c. despite the difference of Iran and Israel’s nuclear programs, the West has the same policy towards them d. although Iran’s program is peaceful and Israel’s program military, they are not receiving equal attention 9. Which of the following is not an evaluative sentence? a. a new plot against Iran is being hatched b. Israel has a stockpile of at least 250 nuclear warheads c. The U.S. media are interested in the case from a political point of view d. Israel has enormous influence over the IAEA 10. “Which is itself beholden to Zionist lobby” in Paragraph 6 means a. the U.S. exerts influence on Israel through its supporters in Israel b. Israel exerts influence on the U.S. through its supporters in the U.S. c. Israel exerts influence on IAEA through its representative in the Agency d. the U.S. exerts influence on IAEA through its representative in the Agency 11. According to the editorial, IAEA’s ignoring Israeli nuclear program will en- courage other countries to a. produce and purchase more weapons b. buy nuclear weapons form Israel c. ignore it too d. develop civilian nuclear programs 12. It is inferred from the editorial that if IAEA found Iran developing nuclear weapons, it would a. directly force Iran to sign Additional Protocol to NPT b. consult Israel to take proper actions c. inspect Iran’s nuclear activities d. refer Iran’s case to the UN Security Council 13. The editorial concludes with a a. praise b. regret c. warning d. congratulation 1. It has become fashionable in elite circles to claim that the United States is losing the War on Drugs when the truth is that we may be winning some battles. 2. According to the most recent re- port of the Partnership for a Drug-Free home. We still cling to racist stereo- types about what drug users look like and where they live, preferring to think that the plague is limited to minorities in the inner city when it has long since made its way to affluent and mostly War on drugs
  30. 30. 192 Reading English Newspapers 1. The topic on which the editorial is going to comment is rejection of the claim that the U.S. has a. not been successful in its fight with drug traffickers b. refused to fight with drug traffickers c. been successful in its war on drugs d. never fought with drug traffickers 2. The editorial’s evaluation of the event begins from paragraph
  31. 31. Editorial 193 B a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 4 3. In Paragraphs 2 and 3 two comparisons are made to support the claim that the U.S. a. is winning some battles b. is losing the war on drugs c. will never win the war on drugs d. is refusing to win the war on drugs 4. “Poll” in Paragraph 3 refers to a a. general election b. survey of public opinion c. TV program d. drug-fighting organization 5. Paragraph 4 a. provides more evidence for the claim of the U.S. success in war on drugs b. provides more evidence that the risk of drugs for the youth is greater than that for other people c. emphasizes the prevention of young people’s use of drugs d. emphasizes the dangers of Marijuana 6. Paragraph 5 discusses a. some wrong approaches adopted by officials to solve the drug use problem b. some evidence that the U.S. is winning the war on drugs c. some solutions to the drug use problem the writer agrees with d. the approach the writer believes officials should adopt 7. Paragraph 5 discusses the commonly-held mistaken view that a. drug use is not a problem among white people b. minorities only live in suburbs c. drug use is not a problem among minorities d. mostly affluent people use drugs 8. Paragraphs 6 through 8 mainly discuss the a. claim that younger ages are experimenting with drugs b. idea that parents are unsure whether their talk to their kids is effective c. dangers of drug use for younger ages d. solution favored by the writer and some supportive evidence Examine the editorial cartoons below and answer the following ques- tions for each.
  32. 32. 194 Reading English Newspapers 1. Are there any real people in the cartoon? Who is portrayed in the cartoon? 2. Did the cartoonist exaggerate any physical features of a person? If yes, describe how it was done. 3. Are there symbols in the cartoon? What are they and what do they represent? 4. What is the cartoon’s message?
  33. 33. Editorial 195

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