‘Cheating’ your way to the top: a focus on language in the Australian media’s representation of performance enhancing drugs

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Abstract

Sports media holds significant power in informing societal views on performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) which are routinely depicted through the ideals of morality and expected sporting behaviours. This has provided an emergent focus for research studies. This study aims to identify how the Australian media frames PEDs across a diverse range of media sources through the selection of five print and online media publications. Using media framing, agenda setting and content analysis, the study analyses the language and framing each publication used to report on individuals and countries associated with, linked to, or found to be using, PEDs. Observed writing styles positioned PEDs as moral transgressions which tarnish the ‘spirit of sport’. Such writing revealed the media’s self-imposed responsibility to define acceptable sporting acts for the community. This manuscript critiques the negative impact of the media’s imbalanced debate and calls for a more balanced approaching to reporting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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