Smokescreened Agenda

The upcoming smoking ban by SBCC was reported in your July 3 issue. The Independent has a predictable format of promoting a clear agenda wrapped in a facade of impartiality. The level of reporting on this issue is humiliatingly low and contributes to the stigmatisation of smoking.

The article begins by framing the issue negatively by quoting a nonsmoking advocate. Then statistics on smoking are given by an antismoking organization (The American Lung Association). The article then proceeds to quote two more antismoking advocates, the UC president and the SBCC Board president. The article so far has one continual opinion.

The article paints former smoker Joe Sullivan like a cancer victim — someone who was able to rise above his “two-pack-a-day habit” and now regularly “competes in triathlons.” The article makes the view that smoking is undesirable appear like a fact rather than an opinion.

Finally, the “lone dissenting vote,” as the article puts it, is written like an anecdote illustrating apathy. Craig Nielsen’s view is presented as if it were a footnote, which presents the other side as on the fringe and self-deprecating. The article takes comfort in its own opinions by not quoting the people affected by the law. The smokers and the staff are left voiceless in the article.

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