n African Journal of Rhetoric - Internal affairs : an Aristotelian perspective on SABC 3 news

Volume 11 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


As one of the largest broadcasters on the African continent, the content aired on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s television channels has a wide reach; and hence, has great potential to shape perceptions and influence a variety of audiences. This paper examines SABC News broadcasts for occurrences of the broadcaster’s use of Aristotle’s means of persuasion and their conscious organisation of news into the three categories of rhetoric, namely, forensic, deliberative and epideictic. The data analysed in this paper are gathered from the English prime time news bulletins aired on SABC 3 between March 7, 2013 and April 2013. I focus mainly on the news items that address SABC’s own internal affairs. In this regard two key findings emerge. The first is that in the time period that was considered, the SABC frequently employed emotional appeals (pathos) in its reports, primarily through the reporter’s reliance on authoritative newsmakers as the main sources featured in the reports. The second key finding is that the broadcaster’s framing of the news conforms to a heavy use of epideictic rhetoric. This paper concludes that while emotional appeals (pathos) were appropriate, to a reasonable extent, for these types of stories, epideictic oratory was not, and the broadcaster should have instead employed elements of forensic rhetoric, which relies on ample evidence, analysis and logical argumentation, to make its reports on internal developments within the organisation more credible.

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