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English Language Representation Coursework: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross

In this coursework I will be investigating several different newspaper articles related to the infamous phone call prank performed by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand on Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs. I will be looking at two major broadsheets and a tabloid which will ensure that I cover a range of audiences and different approaches to the matter. I will look at how the assumption that the BBC, Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand is mainly to blame for the tension caused in the media is portrayed in the articles and if different articles place different assumptions and reasons for the situation. The first article I will be investigating is from The Sun, a tabloid newspaper and I will be looking at an article written by Sara Nathan that largely focuses on Jonathan Ross and discusses consequences he has faced for his actions, the damage done to the BBC and also illustrates the opinions of a number of other affected and concerned individuals. We can quite clearly see that this article is set to attract a less sophisticated and generally an audience that is more content with reading something entertaining rather than informative because of the use of informal and slang lexis such as The Beeb on numerous occasions, the vast use of pictures and also we can see this from the immense use of speech in comparison to more informative factual writing. The text immediately shows the negative of image of Ross by using adjectives such as disgraced and cocky to describe him. These types of strong adjectives show us that Ross has obviously done something wrong that attacks his reputation and this opinion is shared amongst most people and adverbs such as infamously help back this idea up. The Sun clearly makes an attempt to make this issue seem very high profile and important and they certainly do not show any remorse when talking about Ross. They use the complex sentence and he infamously joked he was worth more than 1,000 BBC journalists against him. The way they put the subordinate clause at the end to put

stress on it enables them to be successful in making Rosss remarks look worse than they may have been. Furthermore, The Sun refers to Rosss words as juvenile filth spouted. The adjective juvenile and verb spouted used to emphasise the metaphorical use of the noun filth clearly imply that what Ross has done seems to be tremendously severe but they manage to contradict themselves by adding a remark made by Sachs at the end of the article, where he says, They cant complain, but it is tragic. It is clear that Sachs does share The Suns opinion, but he does not refer to it as being as serious as they seem to present it, showing that they are blowng the matter out of proportion and are treating the news as juicy gossip to merely entertain readers instead of informing them about the proper facts. Moreover, it is also seen is this article that The Sun employs only the very occasional use of any high frequency lexis, for example, their use of the word unprecedented. This again stresses their aim to write a pleasurable article for the less sophisticated public but more importantly it creates a sudden impact which results in making the reader believe the problem is bigger than it actually is. The second article I will be investigating is taken from The Times newspaper, my first broadsheet. The Times with its employment of more formal lexis and structure seems to be aimed at a more middle class audience. Their very rare use of simple sentences suggests that unlike The Sun which writes for a less sophisticated audience, they aim to give more detail about the matter and attempt to tell the reader facts instead of what they may prefer to hear. First of all, this articles metaphorical title immediately succeeds in grabbing the readers attention and also pointing out that Ross and Brand are the villains of this story, Brand falls on his own sword and a sorry Ross is taken of the air. The heading also suggests to the readers that Ross at least has learnt from his mistake by using the adjective sorry to describe him. However, after reading further and in more detail we discover that this article may seem to sound sympathetic towards Ross and Brand but, in actual fact it largely points in the opposite direction. For example, I get this impression from their combined use of adjectives and nouns such as so called stars when they talk about the

infamous prank artists. The opening compound sentence also doesnt fail to make any less impact by saying The BBC suspended one of its biggest stars yesterday and saw another resign. In this sentence, the use of the verb suspended tells us that serious action was taken against their biggest stars. The adjective biggest used to describe the noun star outline the importance of Ross and Brand, and the combined use of these specific verb, adjective and nouns stress that they have performed a seriously bad act. In this article we can also spot the obvious use of proper nouns that when put together, form to make a semantic field of high status individuals. These are individuals mentioned such as: Justice Secretary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Fowler and Adam Sandler. They are all people that have nothing to do with the matter whatsoever and this begins to show us that The Times is now using the aid of these high profile individuals to put more emphasis on Rosss and Brands mistake. The Times article again manages to show how it can contradict itself in a way and look to be fair to Brand and Ross but in fact is not. It demonstrate this by firstly using a compound sentence, Ross then issued an abject apology of his own, before Brand announced that he had resigned from his Radio 2 show. This sentence displays two main and also impacting clauses that tell the readers Ross and Brand have realised their mistake and have prepared to make amends. It aims to make the reader sympathise for them and forgive them of their mistake. However, later on the phrase severe offence is used to describe Brand and Rosss actions which immediately puts the a non sympathetic and negative impression back on the reader, telling us that although they have prepared to make amends, their actions are so bad that it is not enough. The final article I will investigate is my broadsheet choice, The Guardian. This article is more diverse as it talks about Ross and Brand but not directly; it argues at how they are wrongly presented in the Daily Mirror. It is the first paper to write in the in any way sympathetically of Brand and Ross, and it is clearly aimed at a well sophisticated audience with its use of low frequency lexis such as retrospectively and revolutionary and also its use of formal language and structure and lastly a combination of mainly multiple, compound and complex sentences.

A certain complex sentence in this article clearly states how, what Ross and Brands actions were, is being exaggerated and blown out of proportion, The Mail was so incensed, it printed a full transcript of the answerphone prankery under the heading Lest We Forget and helpfully included outtakes that werent even broadcast. By looking at this sentence we see that the main clause at the end tells us clearly how the Daily Mail has lied to exaggerate the seriousness of Ross and Brands offence to simply make their news enhanced for the readers. The adverb helpfully, used as a method of sarcasm in this sentence also reinforces the fact that The Guardian is talking in favour of Ross and Brand and has a fairly poor opinion of the story published in the Daily Mail. Another word that reinforces this idea is the verb incensed used at the beginning of the sentence ,which, tells us that the Daily Mail must have written against Ross and Brand because of their own opinions and views on the individuals. This article also seems to suggest it is reacting positively to Ross and Brand in a later complex sentence where it states the Mails definition of rude extends to biological terms such as penis. This complex sentence suggests that the Mails news may not be trustworthy as it seems to be rather immature, and not a correct and mature account of the problem, that should be reflecting the more important and key facts. Moreover, this article puts stress on its negative opinion of other contradicting articles by using certain types of negative connotations in the form of metaphors and similes. Close to the beginning, Brooker describes the Mail, with a metaphor, as being not so much a newspaper as an idiots guide-book which means that The Mail is publishing articles that give juvenile types of news written for and read by idiots that find it difficult to understand proper facts. He also uses a simile to give us an impression that the Mail is just writing out of complete self interest, hence the entertaining articles and it just looks for things it can transform in to a profit making bits of juicy gossip, like a lion developing a taste for human flesh after munching on a bit of discarded leg, the paper on the hunt for fresh victims. Another compound sentence used earlier in the article proposes that newspapers are taking the matter further than the people involved and effected. Again this implies that. in this case, according to the people involved, this matter has been resolved but the newspapers do not want to let go because they are using the news as a means to

write juicy news which earns them profit, Poor Andrew Sachs, who, having been wronged, graciously accepted their apologies and called for everyone to move on. In conclusion, after investigating all three articles, I feel that it would be fair statement to say yes, Ross, Brand and The BBC have made a clear and obvious mistake but most newspapers seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill. The Sun and The Times seem to have broadened the seriousness of Rosss and Brands actions immensely and seem to have published the news with such exaggeration because this way they can attract readers and gain profits and popularity. The Guardian, however, is the newspaper that criticises other articles to show a fairer, more levelheaded and accurate view on the matter. It holds a mature opinion and clearly explains why news from articles such as the other two I have investigated and The Mail is not trustworthy. I have come to view that Ross, Brand and The BBC made a mistake, but it was not as serious as most articles portrayed it to be and most news published against them was inaccurate and significantly embellished.