Manipulative language in corporate discourse
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Two main purposes motivated this research: 1) to demonstrate deliberate manipulation and intent to deceive in a document that is exemplary of tobacco industry language ; and 2) to demonstrate that authorial intent can be uncovered by applying tools and methods from different linguistic perspectives, especially draft analysis. The document analyzed, a taped speech by Philip Morris CEO Geoff Bible to worldwide employees, was written in early April, 1996 when the industry was at its most vulnerable. It covers topics crucial in tobacco control research (e.g. controversial FDA investigations, industry insiders turned whistleblowers, and mounting litigation). Four sequential drafts were available for analysis. Analytic methods draw from discourse analysis, computer programming, cognitive linguistics, and corpus linguistics. Utilizing a draft analysis computer program, paragraph-by-paragraph comparisons of the speech were conducted. These comparisons involved both lexical semantics and a pragmatics-based approach to deception. Results demonstrated that the difficult issue of determining author/speaker intent to manipulate an audience can be overcome when concrete textual evidence via draft comparison is used. For example, the word 'addiction' appears in the first three drafts but is omitted from the final draft demonstrating the authors' knowledge of and intent to avoid discussing such a crucial public health topic. The methodology offers another avenue for tobacco control research and practice by demon-strating that purely textual analysis of tobacco industry documents can provide evidence of manipulation and deception.