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

Celine SONG*, Chin Chuan Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1176-1192
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Volume37
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

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

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The strategic ritual of irony: post-Tiananmen China as seen through the ‘Personalized Journalism’ of elite US correspondents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this