Content Analysis: analytical tool
The political language of the press
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)
For political reasons Academics have explored, over the years 1940 and 1950, the best analytical tool to find out what the press tries to communicate with his speech.
Teun A. van Dijk, a professor at the University of Amsterdam, has the merit of having made, during 1990, an interdisciplinary approach to what he called science of the text.
However the application of that knowledge in a pragmatic manner emerged well after 50 years when the the Dutch professor develops his theoretical thesis.
Communication is the transfer of information with messages. The speech’s press does not occur at random, because the journalistic discourse is organized so that it vision of the world being ideological to select words and constructions in order to express their appreciations inseparable from certain social and political factors.
Necessarily the press writes in social contexts to reaffirm and consolidate their own power to enable it to manipulate the behavior of their readers.
The language of the press, with its strong encryption social meanings, is a mediator to control, through syntax, items that makes the headlines.
The quantitative content analysis was criticized as a superficial analysis tool, and then it was necessary not only to supplement it with an analysis of the clear message, but also the message inferred with the qualitative aspects to know the implications and strategies.
Each newspapers, depending on the context, can say "same thing" in a different way, or the press may use different vocabulary and composition in relation to writing.
In the year 1949 for the first time Harold D. Lasswell and Nathan Leites, along with nine associate professors, published with the support of the University Chicago, a work that aimed to understand the political language by applying a quantitative methodology of Content Analysis.
In his book Lasswell and Leites discussing the effect of the power of language, meaning the power relationship between humans and the coercive use of the words to maximize control.
Content Analysis, in a given context, provides a means necessary to describe the contents of any communication and classify the signs that occur in a communication on a set of appropriate categories. The outcome is to obtain the frequency of such signs for each category. In general the sign may be what is said of the subject either in a positive, negative or neutral form.
In the year 1974 the journalist Violette Morin, of the University of Paris, found that references made by the print media is selective and therefore ideological. In other words, the mere fact of writing about something coincides with the fact of taking sides.
Morin performed an analysis of the French press by applying the same analysis methodology that twenty-five years ago had used Harold Lasswell. His quantitative and qualitative analysis was to demonstrate and verify that the modern newspaper is not just a jumbled mass of news, but also journalism that uses a type of narration where information of a case appears with something more than what has been written.
The mere repetition of a word can change it’s meaning, there are even words that are like viruses: they can spread in the newspapers with the speed of an epidemic, including repeated until losing its original meaning.
The same subject that appears in one sentence can be described with several predicates some positive predicates (which encourages the matter), some negative predicates (which censored the matter) and some neutral predicates (which recognizes the existence of a case). So then the press take sides.
Each category may contain positive information negative information or neutral and the number of such information produces a frequency that is compared with the total frequencies to obtain an index expressed as a percentage that indicates the degree of verbal in each category.
But you can also calculate a politicization index as a way of determining the level of political passion from one category in relation to the other.
Also you can calculate an index level of conviction of a category in relation to the other, and finally, an index of commitment or the degree of dogmatism to defend the orientation of a particular category in relation to the other.
In his doctoral thesis, defended at the University of Paris, Violette Morin analyzed seven newspapers and nine French weekly for four weeks of the year 1960, which lasted the first trip of the Soviet Nikita Krouschev to France, during the government of General de Gaulle. Of these newspapers estimated 69 categories with a total of 8,532 units of information.
With that amount of information Morin measured quantitatively a lot of news from French newspapers, and then she could apply that adage that says: "Tell me who's talking and I will tell you who you are." In these stories Morin found a mythic realism when the press narrate a prudent sanity.
Morin also found a certain balance between the positive and the negative, but almost always "hiding" something, because the newspapers say at the same time what they think and what they not think but without clarifying the difference.