ISSN: 2456-7760


Dr. Mary Karuri, Kenya

This article discusses media bias as it presents in situations of political conflict. Because of many factors (and which will not be part of this discussion) news writers tilt reports to suit their purposes. In so doing, they justify or legitimize certain actions while condemning others. In this paper, I look at (de)legitimization of political action in two Kenya's newspaper headline stories captured in the period 2008-2013 when Kenya had a coalition government. The government was characterized by political conflict between the political partners, President Mwai Kibaki and the Premier, Raila Odinga. The main dailies in Kenya, The Standard and Daily Nation interpreted the conflicts in ways that (de) legitimized political action that was taken in regard to the issues of disagreement. Using a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach, this paper looks at some of the legitimating features in the newspaper discourse which include quoting authorities, rhetoric forms, presuppositions, foregrounding in clauses, and use of particular lexicon. These features point to the active role that the media plays in evaluative representation of politics besides reporting news. In so doing, the media attempts to drive a political agenda partly reflecting its ideological stance towards the political establishment. Media possesses soft power and has potential to influence and shape the political thinking of a nation. Such is the assumption that underlies this analysis which confirms the view that the media is not an objective conveyer of news. It is inherently biased.

PDF Download