Symbiotic or destructive? : an analysis of the metaphors about journalism in American films during the 1990s
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Whereas several studies have focused on the stereotypical representations that appear in mass media messages created by journalists, the aim of this thesis is the analysis of the representation of journalists in selected films. I examined 12 films and focused on the metaphors expressed in these films using the social cognition approach. These films include Hero (1992), The Pelican Brief (1993), I Love Trouble (1994), Natural Born Killers (1994), The Paper (1994), To Die For (1995), Up Close and Personal (1996), Mad City (1997), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Wag the Dog (1998), The Insider (1999), and True Crime (1999). The study sought to uncover how metaphors in the films described individuals in the journalism field and whether the stereotypical images suggested by the metaphors were overall constructive or destructive to the institution of journalism. The findings revealed five overarching themes of the films' metaphors: journalism as a sport, journalism as violent warfare, journalism as carnal impulse or an exercise of the senses, journalism as commodity or entertainment, and journalism as subhuman or superhuman endeavor. Many of the stereotypes evoked by the metaphors in the films portrayed journalists as exploitative and cold-hearted sensationalists. Some metaphors, though, did express a humanity, however imperfect, in journalists that often is lacking in film portrayals.