The Influence and Consequences of the Takeover of the Cadbury’s Company by Kraft

Subject: Entertainment & Media
Pages: 15
Words: 4167
Reading time:
15 min
Study level: Undergraduate

Introduction

Different news articles from broadsheets and tabloids use different ways to present stories. The media tries to inform and entertain different types of audiences. The media creates diverse emotions and ideas using unique industry practices. This can be defined as impression management techniques. These strategies can be used by organizations through newspapers to manipulate public opinion, shift public opinion, and cause bias.

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These strategies, manage the impression the media creates, especially in the discourse of organizations that are in crisis. This research draws out these strategies as embedded in a discourse of a company in corporate crisis work. They are identified as choice public opinion management strategies when the paucity of public relations is noted. The research conversely examines the relationship between the choice of language used by newspapers and the context of ideology.

The need to examine such context is vital since it helps us understand how such relationships are laid bare in text analysis. Ideology is not obvious to a newsreader but to a news writer. This research explains how the UK media have opposing ideologies and represent these ideologies differently. Comparatively, we identify how the newspapers use nominalization to manipulate perception and passivization to compel ideology. Here, we draw out how newspaper writers manipulate agency power to present a particular ideal and subsequently impose perception in the readership and public.

In this research, we focus on UK media’s attempt to sway reader ideology and shift reader perception about Kraft Foods take over of Cadburys. The Newspapers are in a desperate attempt to elicit reader emotions over the takeover. Text analysis allows us to understand how ingratiation is used as a primary strategy by the UK Media by forcing information to stakeholders to change how they presently view their company, in this case, Kraft Foods and Cadburys.

A critical examination on major UK newspapers publishing of the Cadburys takeover and the subsequent media hype on both Kraft Foods Chief Executive abrasive behavior, the broken promises by Kraft Foods about Cadburys and the political direction of the corporate mischief shows ingratiation as primary in each part of the newspapers. On Kraft Foods part, there was no response, especially from the chief executive.

The research will focus mainly on the language of the newspapers and how this language is used to accomplish the following; how the newspapers pick their main characters, the factual events of the main character, manipulation of the reader and reader reaction to the intention on the manipulation. The research will establish the role of the media in eliciting sympathetic emotions, bias, and public uproar in instances of social politics.

American food company Kraft Foods in a record £11.7 billion deal that has since then elicited various controversies acquired British chocolate manufacturer Cadbury. This takeover ends t Cadburys history as an independent company and opens a new chapter in the corporate world where the norm is that company comes and companies go unceremoniously. Cadbury is a British- based company selling chocolate, sugar and gum-based products. Today Cadbury’s best tasting chocolate constitutes the main ingredient of much of these products including everything from solid blocks to chocolate-filled bars and novelties. The Cadbury brand is associated with best-tasting chocolate. Cadbury and Schweppes joined each other through a merger in 1969, to form Cadbury Schweppes, a marriage that was not to withstand tests of time. The demerger on May 2008 renamed the company as Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc, after the separation of its global confectionery business from its US business beverage Unit. British community has criticized the takeover by Kraft. It also raises fears of job losses at Cadbury. Kraft Foods had an initial plan to cut jobs globally, however, it was not stipulated in the Cadbury takeover that the company plans to cut at least 10000 jobs worldwide to lower costs and repay the debts incurred in the takeover included the Cadbury employees.

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An investigation of factual events and main characters of a newspaper article

In the four articles splashed as headlines in UK authoritative media, Kraft Foods and its CEO Irene Rosenfeld are the protagonists while Cadburys is a proverbial mushroom on a dunghill. The media is a platform, better to say, as a pavilion in a theatre where Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfeld, Cadburys, and the politicians of Britain are the actors and the shareholders of Kraft Foods, and Cadburys and the British public are the audience. Kraft Foods takeover of Cadburys did not go down well with many across the British Diaspora and the media sets of in a journey of enlightening the public about the serious implications the take over has and how jobs will be lost.

The Telegraph emphatically criticizes the Kraft Foods CEO and projects her as a dodgy, irresponsible, and unaccountable individual. Overall, Rosenfeld is viewed as a callous and conniving and with a sizeable discourtesy as a leader. The intention of this news article is to explain to the shareholders of Cadburys and the UK public, the fallacy it was to accept Kraft Foods buyout of Cadburys. The telegraph points out how fast Rosenfeld was to cut down jobs and to close factories in the UK months after the takeover, yet, Kraft Foods had reassured the UK of a slow and smooth transition. Evidently, Kraft Foods is callous and hardly trustworthy. It is dishonest, hasty, and unaccountable.

The Mail-Online in bold tells its readers of Rosenfeld’s lack of courtesy and a failure by her company to keep promises it made in public. The newspaper article is warning the public of a problem that Kraft Foods cheated into them. The article rather explains of the impeding storms inform of job loss and loss of investment whereas Kraft Foods had promised a new chapter in Cadburys. Rosenfeld is the corporate image of Kraft Foods, her abrasiveness and her bad encounter with the political Britain and the corporate politics reveals to the public how Kraft Foods is not a useful partner in business development rather a complete opposite.

The Guardian brings into picture a crisis in Britain where a buyout has resulted to a political debacle with British Members of Parliament up in arms against Kraft Foods lack of corporate goodwill in the Cadbury buyout. The newspaper article critically examines British politician’s position on the buyout. The article shows the disappointment, worry and anger the political Britain has because of Kraft Foods. The politicians are going to publish a report critical of Kraft Foods fiercely fighting its irresponsible and unwise buyout of a traditional British chocolate maker Cadburys. The article puts Irene Rosenfeld on the spot for her misdemeanor and lack of goodwill in the takeover and subsequent failure to turn up for a committee hearing on the buyout debacle. The article is displaying Kraft Foods through Rosenfeld as the worst thing that happened to British household names.

Times-Online blatantly explains why Kraft Foods is not a choice of investor for the British. The newspaper article comes out strongly about Kraft Foods reputation. The article is more precise in its attempt to portray the company as unscrupulous and not worthy of any reputation by quoting Kraft Foods executive vice president who agrees that his company’s reputation requires more than words in response to MPs queries. The buck stops with the company CEO Irene Rosenfeld who is the main actor in the saga.

Headlines

Headlines reach a wider audience. Most people who buy the newspapers will glance at the headlines, but they may not read the articles. Headlines are used to provide a much stronger opinion and can leave the readers with a strong impression. The linguistic features make the headlines eye-catching and memorable. The role of the headline is to guide and provide a viewpoint that the reader takes as his own as he reads the news article and share his opinion after reading. Readers are rather provided with an ideology after they read the headlines. Headlines are made without explanation or definition. In order to understand the content of the articles, readers should identify the field, issues and culture references. They should rely on the cultural knowledge that is widespread in the society.

Direct quotation

Most newspapers use direct quotations in the story. Readers take them as irrefutable facts because they are the “newsmaker’s own words.” These news articles use direct quotations to distance the source’s opinions from the journalist’s report because the source’s speech is manifestly biased. For example, in the sample Guardian, it uses words “irresponsibly and unwisely “to show the MPs’ attitudes towards the Kraft’s takeover. Direct quotations can also “add to the story the flavor of the newsmaker’s own words.” A reported speech may be long and dull. All six newspapers use indirect speech. This makes the journalist focus on the story and combine the most appropriate words and information taken from the interview.

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All the news sources in six newspapers are elites. Newspapers try to use these quality sources to make a newsworthy story. The journalists work hard to present cited news sources in an authoritative way. Kraft’s executive and MPs are the main news sources in most newspapers except the article in Telegraph. In this article, the main news source is the Unities’ officers. However, MPs and the Kraft executive take up different percentage of the space in the rest five newspapers. The samples in Times, the Sun and Daily mail use a large percentage of space to cite the Kraft’s executive’s speech. The samples in Guardian and Daily Express put an emphasis on MPs’ speech. The emphasis on different news sources can affect readers’ opinions and influence their attitudes towards the news.

Language is essential to establish and maintain social groups. Individuals use language to communicate with each other, to interpret the world, to describe an event and to build relationships. Language used in broadsheet newspapers and tabloid newspapers are different. Broadsheets news articles are written with an aim to attract a readership that is more aware of issues. The perspective is to reach the learned and provide them with an opinion. Tabloids target the less informed or rather the less aware. They will find it easier to read the tabloid. Language in the broadsheets is more formal. For example, in The Guardian, there is a lack of colloquial language and many words like “engage,” “pledges”; “prompt,” “renege”are used.

The broadsheets merely state the facts and supply important information on the stories it features. They do not seek to sensationalize the stories. Less emotive words are observed in broadsheets. The main purpose of emotive words is to elicit an ideology or more concisely, to help the reader have focus on the issue and context of the subject. There are jargons that are more technical in the broadsheets. For example, in The Times, the words “compulsory redundancies”, “public domain”, “defense” appears in the article. This is indicative of purpose in the news story and that; this purpose is to inform certain sections of the public about the news discourse. Tabloids use colloquial and sensational language. Words are simple and informal. For example, Readers of the broadsheets will have a better understanding of the story than the tabloid readers because they are well- structured.

The broadsheet newspapers are less biased. They provide readers with different dimensions to the story. The broadsheet newspapers obtain more authority’s opinions and interviews. So the readers can know about the story from every angle. Readers can draw their own opinions after reading them. The sentences in the broadsheet newspapers are longer and there are more sentences in each paragraph. They have more subordinating clauses, which makes the sentences more complicated. Readers will spend more time to understand them.

An evaluation of whether there has been a deliberate attempt to manipulate public opinion through use of the media

The articles use various elements of imparting contextual messages to the UK public. This media has a role to play in educating the public. Let us examine the messages on each newspaper article, both on the broadsheets and tabloids. While each significantly contributes in identifying Kraft Foods failure to keep its end of the bargain, each takes a different approach to provide the insight. Each article strongly criticizes Kraft Foods for its deliberate closure of Cadburys factories in UK.

The hype about Irene Rosenfeld abrasiveness, lack of courtesy and dodgy character is one of the elements of media attempts to manipulate public opinion. The aim of putting Rosenfeld on the spot is to generate a circus around Kraft Foods. The Tabloids and the broadsheets create diverse emotions and ideas using their various impression management techniques. The objective is to manipulate public opinion, shift public opinion about Kraft Foods. The objective of this manipulation is to elicit emotional outrage against Kraft Foods. The objective is to further cause for a clamor for legislators to reconsider their situation about Kraft Foods merger with Cadburys. The newspapers are intentionally shifting public opinion about the merger/buyout and attempting to develop bias. Kraft Foods is culpable. It is an odious player, which meant no good from the onset. It merely wanted to acquire Cadbury without any intention of sticking to the guidelines and the agreements made during the talks about the buyout.

Literally, this is hypothetical discourse as proposed by Semino, Short & Wyne (1999). The newspapers have built their case using plot development and characterization to get to elicit emotions against Kraft Foods. According to Semino, Short & Wayne (1999), a narrative, in this case ‘the news articles about the Kraft Foods take over of Cadbury and subsequent reneging of Kraft Foods on its promises about the take over’ is an indicator of how a character wants the state of affairs different from what already has been agreed. According to Semino, Short & Wyne, (1999) the purpose of such a news article is to simultaneously drive the news-story/narrative forward and expand the readers understanding of the character involved, in this case, Kraft Foods, through CEO Irene Rosenfeld.

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Characterization is observed through deliberate attempts to create a scenario, which pits the British and the Cadburys employees on the receiving end. Kraft Foods reneged from an earlier agreement, to keep factories open and to engage the Cadburys workers union in talks over a transition that involved lay offs and reimbursement for job loss. Here, we see the newspapers, especially the broadsheets taking a direct role in enlightening the public about how they should have a detailed understanding of the character involved. This is an attempt to manipulate using a generative viewpoint.

This detailed understanding of the protagonists (Irene Rosenfeld and Kraft Foods) words, behavior, and characters brings the context of characterization. The newspaper articles have managed to present a viewpoint, in other words, an ideology shared by the British politicians. The viewpoint is ‘Kraft Foods is dishonest and bent to cause harm to the British rather than the good they had promised. Van Dijk (1983) argues that it is worth noting that the media rather sets the agenda and allows the public to make the judgment.

The media uproar is an indication of a developing characterization effort. It is an indicator of Rosenfeld’s objective to renege from previous agreement at some point. The texts help to drive simultaneously the crux of the Kraft Foods greed to change tact and aggressively bull their way to their objectives. The texts rather provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of Kraft Foods and its CEO. The reader is informed and then taken across the words and thoughts of the Kraft Foods so s to understand their callousness. The media surge further presents the theory of viewpoint, characterization, reader participation, and Coulthard (1981) researched various intended meaning with an aim of creating an effect as.

In relation to the media attempt to elicit sympathetic attitudes towards Cadburys employees who were facing uncertain future after layoffs and closure of facilities they had ‘near traditionally’ depended on for livelihood, we identify a clamor for legislators involvement in taming Kraft Foods and bringing it to book for its un-procedural actions.

An investigation of how these factual events and main characters from the perspective of language, layout, and discourse used in news articles

The complex nature of newspaper texts is equally complex to understand which Dressler (1978) investigated. Complexities observed in newspaper articles structure and the news discourse restricts focus on the contemporary and instead to the most eccentric of the protagonists. Using a text analysis framework for the structure of the news discourse in the press, we identify success in media attempts to sway public perception and cause emphatic lobbying against Kraft Foods as argued by Findhal & Hoijer (1981). We should restrict our focus from mere manipulation to the structure and style employed to achieve this objective. According to Van Dijk (1983), we are not dealing with news, but the structure of a news article as seen in a broadsheet and tabloid, the article beyond its syntax level but the thematic and schematic aspect of the news article structure from a perspective of the broadsheets and the tabloids.

The thematic aspect of the news discourse helps the reader comprehend the context of the news article. We observe dialogue as part of the background of the thematic. This represents, formally, the meaning of the context as observed by Van-Dijk (1984). The schema of the news discourse is a convectional aspect of the news article. The reader is brought to a situation of contextualizing traditionally. The structure, from the schemata perspective covers both syntax and style of the article to send the message. Overall, the relevance of the news article is articulately delivered to the reader and the serious points are depicted using the thematic and schematic.

Using thematic structures, the newspapers are able to inform and elicit the desired emotions. Newspaper readers, especially broadsheet readers have the capacity to understand the context of a news article. The journalists to some point know that, in using a thematic structure they can compel indirectly, a reader who is well informed, to say the subject discourse. Use of intuitive terms and some units of information by the journalists facilitate this.

Journalists outline thematic structures in news discourse in theoretical approaches. This is only observed in broadsheets and authoritative tabloids. In the current case, the major UK tabloids and Broadsheets can be seen as using certain unique macro-structural leads and headlines. The purpose is to infer the meaning of the news to a readership with good cognitive level; obviously, such a readership is equally authoritative and influential at certain levels of the society. There exist other features in the macro-structural aspect of the thematic. According to Van-Dijk, (1984) they exist structurally, cognitively and dynamically.

Analysis of how these techniques used in the articles may influence the readers and their opinions

The themes of these UK broadsheets and tabloids are factual in relationship to general structure and meaning. They play a vital role of activating situation models in the readers mind. The news articles, in general, represent a definition of a situation. They construct a scenario with an ideology. In our examples, the Broadsheets for instance, models the case of the Kraft Foods unscrupulousness and brings out a clearer scenario of how this callous nature as requiring a measure of punishment.

Conversely, the newspaper articles definition of the situation can be comprehensively used to construct an opinion. The model is more specific about the Kraft Foods actions. The news articles highly represent the context of Kraft Foods lack of commitment. Kraft Foods is a culprit and the media is objective about it. The publishing of these articles is as a condition for the tabloids and broadsheets actions. However, it is pretext for demonizing Kraft Foods.

There are various methods newspapers use to drive their point home. The objective of influence is achieved through these means. For instance, the sentence grammar is widely viewed as the most effective way a reader can identify with the news article discourse. Research by Van Dijk (1984) explains how sentence-grammar paradigms easily allow the journalist to drive a point home and even influence a public opinion easily.

There are two major elements of making manipulation become significant; Meaningfulness to the reader and functionality. The focus on news discourse needs enough analysis to identify various levels models, social contexts and dimensions as wished of by the journalist. Coulthard (1981) explains that the structural aspects hardly play the more central role in making the reader identify with the problem at hand, rather compels him to keep reading to get the meaning of the news article.

We need to put in consideration, the disparity between these news articles though all focus on Kraft Foods and Cadburys. All reflect a damaged image of a conglomerate with a history of gross corporate misconduct and bad bosses who do not take responsibility. The analysis of each news article is relevant in bringing out the structural differences between each in the news discourse. What is observed in each is a similar approach brought about spontaneously through dialogue, quotes, and comments. This can inhibit our judgment when providing a general opinion about what the properties of these news articles discourses.

Functionality in news discourse is intricate to outline since if the discourse is taken from an utterances perspective, the discourse is functional. This is observed with respect to the social context and its properties. Kraft Foods and its CEO, Irene Rosenfeld actions are the structure and surface of the discourse. The meaning and the structure of the news are indicators of the protagonist’s character, intentions, mood, and wishes. According to McCombs (2004), the intentions of using functionality are to bring the newsreader in touch with the ideology of the speaker/protagonist/news item main character. The complex nature of identifying the crux of the news discourse from the functional aspect of it brings us to the sensitive nature of newspapers role in informing the masses. This is through providing meaning to issues important to the reader. The meaning of any issue is realized through an expose of moods, wishes of the news article main character, his /her intentions, and the moods. The newspaper articles are able to portray Kraft Foods takeover of Cadburys as ill fated and a complete insult to the British confidence on foreign investors.

Function is observed through lexis, syntax, and style of language the journalist has used. McCombs (2004) argues that these are used to make the newsreader understand the underlying meaning of the news article. Functionality does well in discourse, for it not only expresses the inner meanings of the text but also idealizes course. As such, we sum up functionality as a generative approach to making the newsreader focus on the intended meaning of the news article and further help or compel the newsreader to realize his position about the ideology idealized by this news article. Here, we point out comments and letters to the editor as the outcomes of the manipulation as observed by Sinclair & Coulthard, (1975).

Meaningfulness of the news text distinctively brings out the sequence of sentences and choice of words used by the journalist to bring out a meaning. If a textual sequence is observed, then the sequence should be meaningful both grammatically and concerning the intentions of the journalist or the newspaper. Meaningfulness of a news discourse aims at bringing unity by sequentially outlining, discussing, and suggesting viewpoints as suggested by Abel (1981). This is usually achieved, in our case, in local coherence. This context denotes clauses and sentences that are coherent and draw out meaning using macro-proposition for local coherence of a topic. The meaningfulness of a sentence in a news discourse is observed through specified sequence of words and a set of meaningful sentences that coherently discuss, or are about a specific subject based on observations by Black et al (1979).

Conclusion

The media role in educating the public cannot be over-ruled rather can only be provided for to become effective. In the case of Kraft Foods very inept actions when rolling out the strategy after the Cadbury buyout is very sensitive. The lack of corporate good will exhibited by the CEO Irene Rosenfeld is an indicator of irresponsibility and a deception plot in Kraft Foods board. The board has blatantly failed to provide a roadmap to transition, it has failed to live up to its promise and eventually, repercussions and excess have been noted.

The UK media is right in its attacks on the American company. It is right in its attempt to awaken the British about how they were cheated into a shoddy deal by the America food giant. Jobs have been lost and factories closed. This is not what was agreed earlier but a complete opposite. The media has done well to educate and portray the players, especially Kraft foods as not worthy of the British trust and support. The media should have been more aggressive in advising the British about what to do, maybe ask for lobby groups to force the UK government to seek legal modalities to stop the acquisition and return Cadburys to the British.

References

Abel, E., (1981). What s news. The media in American society. San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies.

Black, J., & Wilensky, R (1979). An evaluation of story grammars. Cognitive Science 3, 213-229.

Coulthard, M., and Montgomery, M. (1981) Studies in Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge & Sr Keagan Paul.

Dressler, W. (1978.) Current Trends in Text Linguistics. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Findahl, O & Höijer, B (1981). Studies of news from the point of view of human comprehension. In G. Cleveland Wilhoit & Harold de Bock, eds. Mass Communication Review Yearbook. 2 (1) Beverly Hills, Ca: Sage, ppr393-403.

Holsti, O., (1969) Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and the Humanities. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley ppr1-34

McCombs, M., (2004) Setting the agenda: the mass media and public opinion. Cambridge, Polity Press ppr 6-23

Semino et al., (1999) Hypothetical Words, and Thoughts in Contemporary. British Narratives. Narrative, 7, (3) pp. 307-334

Sinclair. J. and Coulthard, M (1975) Towards an Analysis of Discourse. London: Oxford University Press.

Van Dijk, Teun. (1983)Discourse Analysis: Its Development and Application to the Structure of News. Journal of Communication. 33 (2) pp 22-68