http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443715591673">
 

Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Journalism

Title

The strategic ritual of irony: Post-Tiananmen China as seen through the ‘Personalized Journalism’ of elite US correspondents

Language

English

Abstract

© The Author(s) 2015. Inspired by Tuchman’s concept of the ‘strategic ritual of objectivity’, we argue that journalists employ what can be called the ‘strategic ritual of irony’ in their accounts to convey moral stance toward morally ‘tainted’ stories, often under the façade of objectivity. Systematic reading of American journalists’ memoirs and writings reveals that their portrayals of post-1989 China, against the tragic background of the Tiananmen crackdown, habitually resorted to two genres of irony – situational irony and verbal irony – to express their disdain for an emerging moral vacuum in contemporary China. The injection of irony, in the form of objectivity, distances journalists from the ‘tainted’ targets they cover and hence protects their own professional reputation.

Keywords

expression of moral disdain, irony, objectivity, personalized journalism, strategic ritual, US correspondents

Publication Date

2015

Source Publication Title

Media, Culture and Society

Volume

37

Issue

8

Start Page

1176

End Page

1192

Publisher

SAGE Publications

ISSN (print)

01634437

ISSN (electronic)

14603675

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