Controversy as News Discourse
by Peter Cramer
This book presents a constitutive approach to controversy based on a discourse analysis of news texts, focusing on the role of journalists as participants who shape public controversy for readers. Drawing data from the Reuters Corpus, the project identifies formulas that journalists use in reporting controversy and draws conclusions about how these serve professional and textual functions and how they shape public controversy as a natural, historical, and pragmatic event. While the traditions of dialectic and rhetoric have focused on the prescriptive aim of training participants to resolve controversies in philosophical dialogue or public debate settings, this orientation has tended to preempt questions about where controversy is located and how it is shaped. This project contributes to descriptive, ethnographic research about controversy, using discourse analysis to address a problem in argumentation.