Using CMA on American Political Discourse

In the article WAR Metaphor in the Chinese Economic Media Discourse, the authors Chunyu Hu and Yuting Xu use an analytical framework called Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA) to investigate exactly 2566 economics articles written by China Daily. The results of the study not only indicates the prevalence of WAR metaphors in Chinese media discourse but also show the influence that such combative language has on the emotions of the readers. In a way, their findings allude to the prevalence of hegemonic rhetoric that Western Society often associates with authoritarian governments like China’s. Striking to me was the comparison the authors drew between Chinese media and American media. While the difference between the outstanding WAR metaphor used in Chinese media and the outstanding ORGANISM metaphor used in American media is important to recognize as it reflects a difference in “socio-cultural” perspective on the purpose of the economy, the similarities are far more conspicuous (Hu & Xu, 2017). Both Chinese and American language expresses the view that the economy is a “virtue of basic human experience”, which I take to mean an arena for natural economic competition, referred to by the authors as the “Olympic economy” (Hu & Xu, 2017).  I found this similarity interesting as it essentially opens the door to further authoritarian comparisons between China and the US and how the idea of competition is a vehicle for hegemonic control through the media.

The most recent example of American exercise of authoritarian media discourse was brought about by the Trump administration. My classmate chaudominic brought up an interesting point regarding China’s use of media. They state that “China is also trying to protect itself from foreign propaganda as we live in the era where people could abuse the power of media and control people’s opinion” a statement that is directly applicable to the US. Trump’s tweets sway huge amounts of public opinion, regardless of their contents. Granted, the tweets draw fire from some portions of the media and the public, but the voter base that elected Trump remains enticed by his combative discourse, championing America first policies such as bringing back jobs and sealing our borders.  These platforms are highly competitive and reflect not only American’s subscription to an Olympic economy but an Olympic nation.

My classmate also addressed the influence that hegemonic discourse has on the citizens of China using an article from the NY Times. This study describes a situation where Chinese students who previously faced restrictions on their media access experienced unrestricted media access. To my surprise, roughly half of them didn’t take advantage of this access and simply viewed already uncensored material. Reading this struck a politically opinionated frustration that I feel towards Americans who view media uncritically. The only difference, Americans already have access to completely objective news sources yet they internalize subjective media which is reflected by their voting preferences. I argue that some politicians in America have come to view objective media as the enemy and subjective media as a vehicle for their platforms. This is not far fetched considering the discourse the Trump administration has engaged in with the media. Now exists a political competition for control over the public not representing the public where the media is the rifle and the discourse are the bullets.


The CMA has a lot of applicability to entities other than Chinese economic media. Applying it to the discourse of American politics draws some interesting parallels between the operations of Chinese and American governments and their interactions with their citizens.  This overrides the differences we may see between the two countries and illuminates the use of the media to instill competitive values while also enforcing the hegemony of those values.


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