To the problem of language manipulation in media discourse
The most important tool for influencing the mass audience is the media. In modern society, a person is exposed to the simultaneous influence of the print media, radio and television, which implies various types of manipulation flows and techniques.
The tradition of studying manipulation goes back to the works of psychologists, sociologists, political scientists. Manipulation is understood as “hidden control of a person against his will, bringing the initiator one-sided advantages” [1, p. 3]; operation, control and use of other people as objects, things ; means of social control and management .
Scientists evaluate manipulation as an effect on a person with the goal of inducing him to do something unknowingly or contrary to his own will. The impact is carried out through agitation, propaganda, faith, suggestion.
According to T. A. Van Dyck, “socially, manipulation is defined as illegal dominance, confirming inequality” . Cognitively, manipulation involves interfering in the processes of understanding, the formation of preconceived mental models and social representations, such as knowledge and ideologies. Discursively, manipulation involves the usual forms and formats of ideological discourse.
Some formulations emphasize the hidden non-violent nature of the impact, others the superiority of the manipulator, some others the discrepancy between the original and suggestible desires, intentions. This diversity is due to insufficient knowledge of the concept of manipulation. In this regard, researchers (linguists, psychologists, etc.) still face the task of selecting the necessary, sufficient criteria for determining manipulation.
It is important to study the media in all its manifestations (television, newspapers, and other accessible forms of communication) because of the important role that it plays in mediating society for itself. Traditionally, the media include newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet.
Media texts are a complex whole. Firstly, they are distinguished by the collective, collegial nature of production and their focus on a huge diverse, spatially dispersed audience . Secondly, the perception of the message occurs at different levels: visual (newspapers, magazines), auditory (radio) and visual and auditory (television, Internet). Accordingly, the media text includes not only verbal means of communication, but also the video sequence, graphic design, sound, audio effects, thus forming a single whole. We also note that the specificity of a television text is determined by the fact that it is oral speech, while written media is used in the print media.
I. R. Halperin identifies three types of information in the text: substantive-factual, substantive-conceptual and informative-subtext. Content-factual information includes messages about facts, events, processes. It is always verbally expressed, i.e. is explicit. Words are used, as a rule, in their direct meaning. Content-conceptual information conveys an individual-author's understanding of the phenomena described by means of factual information, and is not always expressed with sufficient clarity in any sentence. It provides an opportunity for different interpretations. Content-subtext information is hidden information that is extracted from factual information and contained in specific sentences. It is not expressed directly, i.e. is implicit .
In our opinion, the subtext information plays an important role in the process of manipulation, the underlying sign of which is the latent nature of the impact. In addition to information about the event, the media text contains additional evaluative meanings that form the attitude to the reported phenomenon. Modern media not only inform us of what happened, but also interpret everything “in the light of one or another ideology, presenting to the mass audience a vision of what is happening through the prism of a certain system of cultural values and political guidelines” [6, p. 22].
The audience does not always take media texts critically and considers them a reliable source of information. This leads to the fact that “by manipulating the recipient’s mind, ideas, images, stereotypes, associations are introduced that can completely, and imperceptibly, to the object of influence, change their attitude to a certain object, phenomenon, group of phenomena or change the world picture of most representatives of a certain society" [7, p. 12]. It is important to take into account the fact that in the process of a speech act the image of an event occurs twice. First, the communicator (journalist), who embodies it in the message, and then, under the influence of this text, the recipient forms his own image of the same event . Consequently, the journalist is a key figure in the process of media communication. Obviously, one can talk about manipulating information if the image of the event is with the journalist and, as a result, with the addressee is not true.
Media is becoming a powerful tool for influencing a mass audience. Manipulating information, they distort the real state of affairs, control the opinion and behavior of people, impose their point of view on them, and also form a value-appraisal paradigm in the mind of the addressee. Therefore, researchers are talking about the formation of an “information picture of the world” [9, p. 12]. The specificity of this picture of the world is that it not only transforms and deforms the habitual image of the world of native speakers of the Russian language, but also constructs through this language a quasi-realistic picture of the world, in which real reality is replaced by the reality of media discourse and offered to the mass addressee as the only possible and only true [10, p. 15].
Despite the desire of journalists to objectivity and legally required reliability of information, all media are very subjective. The interpretation and presentation of information depends on the type of publication, the position of the founders, sponsors, etc. The special speech organization of the text contributes to the occurrence of errors in the consciousness of the addressee. Media texts are complicated by hints, precedent phenomena, irony and subtext. Spoken words and constructions, jargon, colloquial, rude words increase the emotionality and expressiveness of the text.
The addressee of manipulation is the reader, who uncritically perceives information, is inclined, in principle, to trust a particular publication or journalist, as well as other people's opinions. During manipulation, the addressee is active, and the addressee is passive: he is offered a ready-made and verbally designed product of reflection, while he himself does not make any independent mental efforts [11, p. 277]. In this case, the information is supplied in such a way that it seems to the object of influence as if he independently comes to conclusions or performs actions.
The nature of the manipulation consists in the presence of a double influence along with the message sent openly, the manipulator sends a “coded” signal to the addressee, hoping that this signal will wake up those images that the manipulator needs in the mind of the addressee. This hidden influence is based on the “implicit knowledge” possessed by the addressee, on his ability to create images in his mind that affect his feelings, opinions and behavior.
Thus, manipulation is a form of speech exposure. The main signs of manipulation are the hidden nature of influence, the desire to subordinate the addressee to his will; Skillful word and psychological skills special speech organization of the text, contributing to the occurrence of errors in the mind of the interlocutor; creating the illusion of independent decision-making and the lack of a protective reaction at the addressee. In the aggregate, all these signs distinguish manipulation from the methods of verbal influence (persuasion, motivation) and related phenomena (rhetorically organized speech, language demagogy, propaganda, NLP). The complexity of the study is due to the lack of linguistics of terminological accuracy, the generally accepted classification of tools and techniques, the interdisciplinary nature of the subject of study and the mixing of different methods of exposure in speech practices. Manipulation is used in politics, advertising, PR, pedagogy, judicial practice, psychotherapy, literature, informal communication, etc. The most important tool for influencing a mass audience is the media. The texts of the media are thematically structured, but at the same time they are characterized by functional-style heterogeneity. Information transmitted in media texts must be topical, objective and reliable. However, these principles are not always respected. Journalists not only inform us about the events that have occurred, but manipulate the information (distort, hold back it, select material). So they create the necessary image of reality, form value orientations in the mind of the addressee, impose opinion, behavior and worldview on people.
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