The discursive protection of national interests
Indigenous erasure in Internet news revisions
This article combines methodology from the discourse-historical approach with critique from Indigenous feminism and postcolonial theory to examine the “update” feature of Internet news and its potential impact on knowledge. The notion of text becomes abstract as authors produce neo-texts labeled “updated,” leading to opacity in editorial processing. From a case study analyzing an Associated Press article discussing Pakistani responses to U.S. drone attacks, we observe negative (re)presentation of Indigenous peoples in Pakistan as authors use rhetorical strategies to achieve erasure in subsequent revisions. I interpret the authors as employing such strategies to legitimize United States’ power under the axiological guise of protecting “democracy.” The revisions silence tribal leaders’ and women’s voices, substituting elements that interdiscursively appeal to “terrorism” in a post-9/11 context. The authors dissolve the distinction between tribal peoples in Pakistan and “terrorists.” U.S. military aggression is linguistically realized as defensive, and Pakistani disapprobation framed as offensive attack.
Keywords: discourse-historical approach, Internet news, neo-text, erasure, Indigenous sovereignty, Pakistan.
Published online: 26 November 2012
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