Language biases in the U.S. media's portrayal of immigrants

Aleksandra Kasztalska, Purdue University


The media play an important role in promoting public awareness of national issues, yet the U.S. news content is often criticized for its alleged ideological biased. As the models used to analyze media discourse have produced conflicting results, this study takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining Semin & Fiedler's (1988) Linguistic Category Model (LCM) with Fairclough's (1990) sociolinguistic approach. By examining how several major U.S.-based news outlets take advantage of interpersonal verbs, the LCM reveals that the media are characterized by relatively high language abstraction. Also, the more conservative the media, the more abstract their discourse and the more negative their portrayal of immigrants. The Critical examination further identifies recurring themes in the discourse, such as the war metaphor and the essentialist notion of "Americanness." Through textual silence, presuppositions and other discursive strategies, the media paint unsettling images of (Hispanic) immigrants in their reporting of the controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1070.




Brown, Purdue University.

Subject Area


Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server