Sunday, 15 January 2012

Gayness as a disability, newsreaders as ideological mouthpieces

I love this one because it shows how newsreaders are so often on auto-pilot, detectable from that special 'newsreader' tone of voice which appears to encode ideology through interpellation. The slip is made by the anchor on the left of your screen:

What is happening here is that a story about a blind man climbing a mountain is misreported as a gay man climbing a mountain. Its as if the newsreader drops in something from the stock mainstream categories of 'unusual' or 'disabled'. So, in this case, the auto-pilot slip allows us to speculate on how this mainstream media might regard homosexual love as an impairment, or at least as a category not normally associated with 'normal' enterprises like mountain climbing.

I think the key lesson here reminds us the media considers newsworthy abnormalities, even when they get it 'right', as part of a stock list, a social construction of conciousness. For once, the existence of ideology encoded in standard news speak is revealed by this slip, since both 'gay' and 'blind' appear to be on this list.

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