A Pragma-Dialectical Approach to Critical Media Discourse Analysis: A Case Study of an Editorial in The Washington Post

Ma Yingqiu


Based on the research framework of

Pragma-Dialectics, the study analyses and

evaluates an editorial about Alibaba’s Initial

Public Offering (IPO) in The Washington Post to

develop a pragma-dialectical approach to critical

media discourse analysis. The approach consists

of four interrelated parts: reconstruction of

argumentation, analysis of strategic maneuvering,

evaluation of reasonableness and social criticism

on the basis of specific social reality. The

research results show that The Washington Post

exerts different strategic maneuvering in the

whole argumentation process to convince its

audience, which mainly reflected in the

manipulation of potential topic, audience demand

and presentation means. In the case study,

strategic maneuvering is specifically supported

by the choice of starting points in the opening

stage and the design of argumentation structure

in the argumentation stage. Owing to the

influence from the editorial board’s political

stand and self-interest, it doesn’t balance the

reasonableness and effectiveness and therefore

some manipulations contain fallacious moves.

In order to prevent American investors to invest

Alibaba’s IPO, when using strategic maneuvering

The Washington Post violates freedom rule,

standpoint rule and argument scheme rule,

especially the application of argumentation

scheme for the relation of analogy and

argumentation scheme for a causal relation.


Critical Discourse Analysis; media discourse; Pragma-Dialectics; strategic maneuvering; editorials.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18002/sin.v3i2.5263


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