Voicing on the News: An Analytic Technique for Studying Media Bias
Speakers often evaluate others, implicitly, while apparently speaking in a neutral way about them. This article develops an account of the textual devices speakers use to communicate such implicit messages. The account draws on Bakhtin's (1981) concepts of 'voice' and 'ventriloquation.' It systematizes these concepts, by proposing five specific textual devices that speakers use to convey implicit evaluations. This account is then applied to samples of discourse from network news political coverage, specifically coverage of the 1992 US presidential election. The five devices occur robustly in this discourse. Three networks' coverage of one campaign event is analyzed in detail to illustrate how newscasters orchestrate their implicit evaluations through skillful use of the five devices.