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Gustavus Adolphus College

Publication Date

Spring 2005

Program Name

Australia: Identity and Public Policy in a Multicultural Society


This paper will explore the ways in which the rhetoric of the Australian news media – the print media of Melbourne, specifically – has the power to shape and construct public sentiment toward national issues. Specifically, the paper explores the crafting of public opinion toward asylum seekers in the country through the use of specific rhetoric in print media outlets. The paper will focus on the “Tampa” incident of August 2001 as a basis for exploring asylum seeker issues in Australia. With the Agenda Setting Function Theory of Media Communications as a research base, and through personal interviews, extensive research and a critical look at the language of the news, the author reveals the ways in which language choice – however minute – can create and sustain widespread and lasting public sentiment.


Critical and Cultural Studies | Mass Communication


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