Good Example Of Case Study On Justification Paper- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370; Credibility Challenged
Dating back from ancient times, rhetoric, as formulated thousands years ago in Ancient Greek by Aristotle is as relevant as ever. Rhetoric, and especially the ethos component of rhetoric is used for analyzing a highly mediated recent event – the Malaysian Airline Flight MG 370 – which is significant because it challenges the authority and credibility of an airline company, due to its poor discourse and communication.
The purpose of rhetoric is to influence audiences upon a possible truth and determine people to take the desired action, but for succeeding in doing so, the speaker must coordinate three aspects of the speech: logos, ethos, pathos (Aristotle, 2004). Since the antiquity, this rhetoric formula has been incorporated in speeches, discourses and communications in various environments: legislative, social or political. Logos refers to reasoning and argumentation, ethos describes the credibility of the speaker, while pathos defines the emotions transmitted during the speech (Lutzke and Henggeler, 2009; Jones, 2011; Alvi & Basser, 2012).
Scholars indicate that for attaining effective results and delivering successful discourses, speakers need to balance the logos, ethos and pathos (surse). However, Lutzke and Henggeler (2009) sustain that the discourse need to be adjusted to the audience, which will misbalance the rhetorical triangle, favoring one component over the others, depending on the audience’s profile and needs. In any form of communication, ethos is the source of credibility, given by the perceived intelligence, perceived virtue and the goodwill of the speaker (Murthy & Ghosal, 2014). Regarding the virtue of the speaker, studies indicate (Dufy, 2008; Metzger, Flangin & Medders, 2010) refers to it as the appearance of the authority, which often values higher than the veracity of the information communicated.
In the Malaysian incident, the audience required information and credibility. The Malaysian officials failed to be credible, because it communicated erroneous information that were later revised, such as the last words of the pilot when last in contact with the traffic air controller (Associated Press, 2014). Moreover, the Kuala Lumpur officials did not demonstrate goodwill, as they have not presented clear and on-time information to the people whose were on the missing plane and they even mistreated some of the grieving relatives on the ground (Murdoch & Wen, 2014).
When discussing about ethos and credibility, studies generally focus on the credibility of the speaker (Murthy & Goshal, 2014; , Lutzke & Henggeler, 2009, Jones, 2011), but McCroskey and Young (1981) also take into consideration the personality of the audience.
The Malaysian incident did not take into consideration the personality of the audience, the relatives of the victims, who were deeply engraved and frustrated about not hearing any news about the lost plane, but also the governments of the missing passengers (Denyer, 2014). This situation generated poor communication from Malaysian Airline officials’ side.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the credibility of Malaysian Airlines, through the application of the Aristotelian rhetorical formula, focusing on the ethos component of the organization’s discourse and communication regarding the missing Flight MG 370. The credibility of Malaysian Airlines in relation with the missing flight communication will be analyzed since its occurrence to present days. For evaluating the outcomes of credibility or its absence in the Flight MG 370 incident, the following research questions will be examined in the study:
How does the personality of the communicator influences the validity of the discourse?
How does the personality of the audience influences the receiving of the discourse?
Alvi, S.D. & Basser, A. (2012) “Application of Aristotle’s ethos, pathos, and logos on Barack Obama’s speech ‘Call to renewal keynote address’”. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business. Vol. 3, no. 9, pp. 593 – 616.
Associated Press (2014) Missing plane found? Ocean garbage stunts hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370; Credibility Challenged. Available at http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/595327-missing-plane-found-ocean-garbage-stunts-hunt-for-malaysia-airlines-flight-mh-370-credibility-challenged/.
Branham, S. (2009) “Building character for artificial conversational agents: Ethos, ethics, believability, and credibility” Psychology Journal. Vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 9 – 47.
Denyer, S. (2014) Contradictory statements from Malaysia over missing airliner perplex, infuriate. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/12/contradictory-statements-from-malaysia-over-missing-airliner-perplex-infuriate/.
Duffy, M.E. (2003) “Web hate: a fantasy theme analysis of rhetorical vision of hate groups online” Journal of Communication Inquiry. Vol. 27, pp. 291 – 312.
Jones, B. (2011) “Rhetorical criticism of online discourse” Stylus 2.2, pp. 25 – 32.
Lutzke, J. & Henggeler, M.F. (2009) The rhetorical triangle: understanding and using logos, ethos, and pathos. Cavanaugh: School of Liberal Arts.
McCroskey, J.C. & Young, T.J. (1981) “Ethos and credibility: The contstruct and its measurement after three decades” Central States Speech Journal. Vol. 32, Spring, pp. 24 – 34.
Metzger, M.J., Flangin, A.J. & Medders, R.B. (2010) “Social and heuristic approaches to credibility evaluation online” Journal of Communication, vol. 60, pp. 413 – 439.
Murdoch, L. & Wen, P. (2014) Missing Malaysi Airlines Flight MH370: relatives protest at press conference. Available at http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-relatives-protest-at-press-conference-20140319-hvkjw.html.
Murthy, M.L. & Ghosal, M. (2014) “A study on Aristotle’s rhetoric” Research Journal of English Language and Literature. Vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 249 – 255.
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