• The Dramatistic Implications of Burke's Guilt Redemption Cycle in the Donald Sterling Communication Crisis

      Althouse, Matthew; Billings, Molly J.; The College at Brockport (2015-05-01)
      In the spring of 2014, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was rocked by a scandal involving racism. Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the NBA’s thirty basketball teams, provoked a national controversy when Sterling made a series of disparaging statements about African Americans. Repercussions ranged from a staged silent protest by Clipper players to Sterling being banned for life from the NBA. After his ban, Sterling tried to rectify the damage done by his racially charged comments. He embarked on a public relations campaign to resuscitate his image and regain control of his team ownership. However, Sterling’s campaign strategy was hopelessly flawed: He alternated between playing the victim, the apologist, and the aggressor, while never fully encompassing any of these roles. The failure of Sterling’s damage control was not only his continued exile from the NBA ranks, but considerable injury to his own reputation and status in society. Consequently, the result of Sterling’s efforts to clear his name was a public relations disaster, which did nothing to redeem Sterling in the eyes of society. This thesis is designed to investigate the shortcomings of Sterling’s apologies and the implications of his controversial comments. To accomplish this goal, it utilizes Kenneth Burke’s guilt-redemption cycle. With terms associated with this process, this essay demonstrates that Sterling’s expression of regret—his “sacrifice”—was not sufficient to appease his critics in the National Basketball Association (NBA) or in American society at large. To explain the complexity of the Sterling controversy, this essay unfolds in four parts. First, the essay discusses the background of Sterling’s remarks. Second, this essay will explain Burke’s guilt redemption cycle and its associated concepts. Third, this essay will apply these concepts to analyze Sterling’s comments in four acts. Finally, this essay will conclude with closing commentary about the Sterling saga and its future implications.
    • To our Readers : A Study of Guilt Redemption in Newspaper Corrections

      Mulenga, Maidstone; The College at Brockport (1999-05-13)
      With journalism credibility at its lowest ebb, more newspapers are taking time to correct mistakes and apologize for errors. In this thesis, I use Kenneth Burke's theories to analyze newspaper corrections through guilt-redemption, purification and image restoration strategies. This study looks at two types of redemptive rhetoric and image-restoration strategies: front-page apologies and daily corrections from four newspapers. The front-page apologies are from The News Examiner and the Cincinnati Enquirer. The daily corrections are from The New York Times and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. This thesis contends that newspapers should use mortification in corrections and apologies because it is the proper rejoinder in maintaining credibility with readers, even when victimage is the preferred strategy of guilt redemption.