Media Rhetoric of Human Rights©

Caryn Coatney


This unique case study reveals journalists’ roles in portraying the rhetoric of United States President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as they signaled an end to their military alliance in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2013.


journalism; rhetoric; Barack Obama; Julia Gillard

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Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), “The Hon. Julia Gillard

MP,” 2012,; J. Gillard,

“No safe haven,” 2010,; The White

House Archives, “Remarks by President Obama to the Australian

Parliament,” 2011,; B. Obama,

“Press briefing previewing the president’s trip to Hawaii, Australia and

Indonesia,” 2011,

P. F. Drucker. People and Performance, 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge,

, p. 50.

L. Dash, Rosa Lee: A Mother and her Family in Urban America. New

York: Basic Books, 1996; H. Abd Hamid, A. Azwan Azmawati, J. Hj

Ahmad, and N. Norma Nik Hasan, Communication and Environment:

Sustainability and Risks. USM Pulau Pinang Malaysia: Penerbit

Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2014; K. Kenney, A. Gorelik, and S.

Mwangi, “Interactive features of online newspapers,” First Monday, vol.

, no. 1, 2000,; G. Swanson, Making the

Commitment to Quality Journalism. Port Moresby: Institute of National

Affairs, 2007.

D. Cortright, Ending Obama’s War. Abingdon: Routledge, 2016; A.

Etzioni, “Obama’s implicit human rights doctrine,” Human Rights

Review, vol. 12, no. 1, 2011, pp. 93-107; D. P. Forsythe, “US foreign

policy and human rights: situating Obama,” Human Rights Quarterly,

vol. 33, no. 3, 2011, pp. 767-789; A. C. Hu, “Innovators of inequality:

why the “woman solution” does not work,” Harvard International

Review, vol. 36, no. 2. 2014/2015; S. Khan, “The two faces of Afghan

women: oppressed and exotic,” Women’s Studies International Forum,

vol. 44, 2014, pp. 101-109; K. McBride and A. T. R. Wibben, “The

Gendering of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan,” Humanity, vol. 3, no.

, 2012; A. K. Wing and P. Nadimi, “Transnational law & contemporary

problems,” University of Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper, vol. 20,

no. 11-29, 2011.

Obama, “Press briefing on Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia.”

M. Cameron, “From ‘queue jumpers’ to ‘absolute scum of the earth’:

refugee and organised criminal deviance in Australian asylum policy,”

Australian Journal of Politics & History, vol. 59, no. 2, 2013, pp. 241-

; N. Donaghue, “Who gets played by ‘the gender card?’” Australian

Feminist Studies, vol. 30, no. 84, 2015, pp. 161-178; C. Johnson, “From

Obama to Abbott,” Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 28, no. 75, 2013,

pp. 14–29; J. McKenzie and R. Hasmath, “Deterring the ‘boat people’:

explaining the Australian government’s people swap response to asylum

seekers,” Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 48, no. 2, 2013,

pp. 417-430.

J. Kent, The making of Julia Gillard. Camberwell: Viking, 2010, p. x.

S. Ferguson and P. Drum, The Killing Season Uncut. South Carlton:

Melbourne University Press, 2016; L. Oakes, Remarkable Times.

Sydney: Hachette, 2013.

S. Fahmy, “Picturing Afghan women,” International Communication

Gazette, vol. 66, no. 2, 2004, pp. 91-112; E. G. King, Obama, the Media,

and Framing the U.S. Exit from Iraq and Afghanistan. Farnhamz:

Ashgate, 2014; R. Ottosen, “The war in Aghanistan and peace

journalism in practice,” Media, War & Conflict, vol. 3, no. 3, 2010, pp.

-278; P. M. Ryder, “Beyond critique: global activism and the case of

Malala Yousafzai,” Literary in Composition Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2015,

pp. 175-187.

Obama, “Remarks by president to the Turkish parliament,” 2009,; White House Archives,

“Remarks to Australian parliament;” The Obama White House,

“President Obama speaks to U.S. and Australian service members,”

,; White House

Archives, “After Dinner Remarks by President Obama at Parliamentary

Dinner,” 2011,; White House

Archives, “Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard of

Australia in joint press conference,” 2011,; White House Office of the Press

Secretary, “Remarks of President Obama,” 2009,

White House Archives, “Remarks by the president on the way forward in

Afghanistan,” 2011,; White

House Archives, “The new way forward – the president’s address,”


ASPI, “Gillard;” Gillard, “Address to the Congress of the United States,”

,; Gillard, “Address to Troops,

Tarin Kot, Afghanistan,” 2010,;

Gillard, “Australia will not abandon Afghanistan,” 2010,; Gillard, “Because we are Australian,”

,; Gillard, “Haven;” Gillard, “Our

shared, restless, forward questing” 2011,; Gillard, “Remarks to troops at

Robertson Barracks, Darwin,” 2011,;

Gillard, “Speech at Bali democracy forum opening session,”; Gillard, “Speech to the joint sitting of

Australian Parliament in honour of President Obama, Canberra,” 2011,; Gillard, “Speech to the United Nations

General Assembly,” 2012,;Gillard, “The

inaugural international day of the girl child,” 2012,; White House Archives, “Joint


ABC, The 7.30 report, Oct. 5, 2010,; Al Jazeera English:

“Frost over the world – Julia Gillard,”; Josh Earnest, “Press

Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest,” 2011,; Gillard, “Transcript of interview with

Fran Kelly, ABC Radio National,” 2010,; Gillard, “Transcript of questions and

answers,” 2012,; Obama, “Press

briefing on Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia;” The White House

Archives, “On-the-Record conference call on the president’s upcoming

trip to Asia,” 2012,; The White

House Archives, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, Deputy

National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes

and NSC Senior Director for Asia Danny Russel,” 2011,

Wall Street Journal, “Search Hillary Clinton’s emails,” 2016,

Obama, “Press briefing on Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia.”

The White House Archives, “Briefing by Carney, Rhodes and Russel.”

The White House Archives, “Joint press conference.”

Obama, “Press briefing on Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia;” The

Obama White House, “U.S. and Australian service members.”

The White House, “Remarks by President Obama to U.S. and Australian

service,” 2011,

Obama, “Remarks to Turkish parliament.”

The White House Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks.”

The White House Archives, “Remarks to Australian parliament.”

The White House Archives, “Remarks to Australian parliament.”

C. Middendorp, “Grace under pressure,” Age, Dec. 5, 2011, p. 11.

B. Norington, “Gillard makes a mark in the footy Oval Office,”

Australian, March 9, 2011, p. 5.

T. Igguldon, “Obama: America here to stay in the Pacific,” Nov. 17,

,; C. Stewart, “Entertainer-in-chief hailed,” Nov. 18,


M. Kissel, “Obama in Oz,” Nov. 19, 2011,

Canberra Times, “Time for a presidential Gillard?” Nov. 16, 2011, p. 19;

J. Huxley, “Obama endears,” Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 19, 2011, p.

; Lowy Institute, “Love is enough: Why Australians love Obama (a

lot),” 2012,

W. R. Mead, “America’s play for Pacific prosperity,” Dec. 30, 2011,

J. Sullivan to H. Clinton, Dec. 30, 2011,


Wall Street Journal, “Clinton’s emails.”

K. Campbell to Clinton, July 27, 2011,


D. Shanahan, “Julia Gillard went all out to land visit by Barack Obama,”

March 2, 2016,

J. Gillard, My Story. North Sydney: Knopf, 2014, pp. 147, 151.

ABC, “Gillard in Afghanistan,” Oct. 2, 2010,

ABC, “The 7.30 report.”

Australian, “Foreign policy challenges shape PM’s testing month,” Oct.

, 2011, p. 15; P. Dorling, “Gillard’s shaky foreign steps,” Canberra

Times, March 5, 2011, p. 27.

Al Jazeera English: “Frost.”

Gillard, “No safe haven.”

Gillard, “Australia will not abandon Afghanistan.”

Gillard, “No safe haven.”

Hu, “Innovators;” Khan, “Faces;” McBride and Wibben, “Gendering.”

U.S. Department of State Archives, “Remarks with Afghan women

ministers before their meeting,” 2010, https://2009-

M. Verveer, “Why women are a foreign policy issue,” Foreign Policy,

vol. 193, 2012,

H. Abedin to Clinton, Aug. 24, 2012; Verveer to Clinton, Oct. 27, 2010,

Aug. 24, 2012.

Gillard, “Because we are Australian.”

Gillard, “Girl child.”

Verveer to Clinton, Oct. 27, 2010.

Verveer to Clinton, Aug. 24, 2012.

Gillard, “United Nations General Assembly.”

Gillard, Speech at Bali forum.”

U. Moore, “The top ten Twitter users to follow for news in Afghanistan,”

July 15, 2011,

U. Friedman, “Twitter crowdsource – investigates another Kabul

explosion,” June 21, 2011,

R. Mackey, “Afghans report on Kabul attack via Twitter,” June 8, 2011,

ABC News, “Should Australia stay in Afghanistan?” Oct. 26, 2010,

ABC BTN, “Afghanistan,” 15 June 2010,

M. Abi-Habib, “Afghan women fear rights will erode as U.S. leaves,”

Nov. 13, 2012,; E. Alberici, “Give Afghans selfdetermination:

Joya,” 9 April 2012,; C. Brothers, “An Afghan

politician pushes for a comeback,” March 15, 2010,; E.

Hall, “‘Bravest woman in Afghanistan’ tells why she wears the hated

burqa,” April 5, 2012,; H. Kumar, “A conversation with,”

Oct. 25, 2013,; R. Nordland, “Afghan rights groups shift

focus to Taliban,” Feb. 9, 2011,

Hall, “Bravest woman;” Kumar, “Conversation.”

S. Boniface, “Unseen Afghanistan,” May 27, 2012,; D. Higgerson, “How the

#TheAfghanistanYouNeverSee hashtag proves the worth of

crowdsourcing,” 2012,

. R. Frere, “Photo tip 21,” May 31, 2012, #TheAfghanistanYouNeverSee.

“Children reading,” May 10, 2012, “The innocents of the conflict,” May

, 2012, #TheAfghanistanYouNeverSee

L. Addario, “Reaching out,” May 29, 2010,

The White House Archives, “The way forward in Afghanistan.”

ASPI, “Gillard.”

Gillard, “Interview with Fran Kelly;” Gillard, “Transcript,” 2012.

A. Hodge, “Brave hearts in school Aussies built,” Aug. 2, 2011,; A. Khan, “Ghost students, ghost teachers, ghost

schools,” July 9, 2015,; P. McGeough, “Taliban returns,”

June 27, 2015,; R. Nordland, “Despite education advances,

a host of Afghan school woes,” July 20, 2013,


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