• The intolerant other: Representations of the racist in The Sun newspaper

      Charles, Alec; University of Chester (Association for Journalism Education, 2015-01-31)
      The term ‘racist’ is increasingly being used by certain sections of the popular press not only to brand particular perspectives as morally otherly or untouchable but also to promote the argument that by comparison those publications’ own anti-immigration, hyper-nationalist or xenophobic positions are not in themselves racist. These publications have deployed the ‘racist’ label against any groups whose positions they wish to dismiss and exclude: from ultra-right-wing extremists to leftist liberals, from the politically correct to the socio-economically dispossessed. This strategy may be seen as bearing some of the structural attributes of racism itself. Yet this othering of one’s ideological opponents is ironically a rhetorical strategy which is also demonstrated by those leftist-liberals most opposed to the tabloid positions on these issues. This article explores the uses of the term ‘racist’ in The Sun newspaper (the UK’s top-selling daily news title) during 2013 in an attempt to illuminate these contradictions in ways which may help both journalists and journalism educators to come to a more effective understanding of this area of ongoing controversy. This paper is not in itself about whether or not The Sun is racist: it is about how that publication addresses the subject of racism itself, and about how journalism education might develop a more constructive and inclusive engagement with the issue than the rhetorical strategy that currently dominates the discourse.