Eliza Crawford

Guided Language Analysis

Introduction

In response to the issue of journalists downplaying the severity of athlete’s depression, Vanessa Beedleman has proposed, using an accusing tone, that journalists do not understand the impact that criticising famous athletes with depression has on other mental health sufferers. The article attacks journalists, specifically those who downplay mental health issues. The title ‘Journos who criticise Naomi Osaka are letting down anyone who deals with depression’, seeks to evoke feelings of guilt within journalists.

Main Arguments

Beedleman argues that even the highest international level athletes should have the right to judge for themselves which activities they engage in.

Beedleman argues that the media has questionable intentions, such as wanting dramatic headlines to receive money, rather than a truthful interview which acknowledges the effects mental health holds on athletes.

Beedleman argues that mental health issues should be treated in the same way physical ones are.

Analysis

Beedleman uses cause and effect, stating ‘forcing athletes to play through injuries is…. a scandal … [which] mutilates bodies [and] destroys careers’. With this statement, Beedleman explains that an athlete’s career can be ravaged by being forced to play through an injury. This causes the reader to feel hatred for the media, as though the media’s forceful actions directly result in the end of an athlete’s career. This positions the reader to believe that Beedleman recognises the wrong doings of the media, creating a bond of trust between the reader and Beedleman.

Beedleman utilises attacking language, declaring it’s not advised that athletes talk ‘in front of international media and face an aggressive press conference designed to elicit extreme emotional responses from [athletes]’. With this statement, Beedleman takes the attention away from the illogical actions being forced upon the athletes, and instead forces the reader to consider the individual behind the actions, in this case the media. By doing this, the reader will agree that if the media is unacceptable, so are their actions.

Beedleman employs personification, stating ‘engaging with a distressing situation… locks us into distress’. With this statement, Beedleman better illustrates the complication of mental health, emphasizing how distressing situations trap sufferers into experiencing disastrous circumstances. This causes the reader to directly connect with mental health sufferers, positioning them to sympathise and understand how to avoid those situations.

Beedleman utilises a rhetorical question, stating ‘why… should forcing an athlete suffering from mental illness to play be seen as any different [from forcing an athlete suffering from a physical injury to play]?’. With this statement, Beedleman engages readers by focussing precisely on them. The rhetorical question situates the reader to agree with Beedleman, by assuming their response will be identical to the author’s.

Beedleman uses an analogy, questioning ‘does the journalist who denounced Osaka as “lame” and a “princess” for missing that press conference for mental health reasons also begrudge Kvitova for going off to get an MRI?’. With this statement, Beedleman strengthens the understanding of the connection between physical and mental illnesses. She helps the reader acknowledge the similarities of the problems by comparing the two situations. This positions readers to support those who are suffering with a mental illness the same way they would support those with a physical injury.

Image Analysis

The first panel of the cartoon depicts a person, sick with food poisoning, lying next to a doctor. The second panel displays someone who lost their forearm. This cartoon illustrates how life would look ‘if physical diseases were treated like mental illnesses’. The cartoon forces journalists to imagine themselves in the situation, helping them look at the problem with a different perspective. This provokes journalists to understand what athletes and mental health suffers go through everyday, prompting journalists to consider treating mental illnesses with the same respect they do for physical injuries.

Conclusion

In the conclusion of this article, Beedleman uses repetition, stating ‘let Osaka manage her own health, judge her own game and focus on tennis’. With this statement, Beedleman catches the reader’s attention, and makes her statement more memorable. It means the reader is less likely to forget her viewpoint and opinion on the situation. This influences the reader to accept Beedleman’s opinion, as well as subconsciously agree with her article on journalists downplaying mental health issues.