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This study aimed to address the dearth of knowledge regarding the portrayal of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenyan print media, focusing specifically on newspaper headlines. Employing Van Dijk's Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Lakoff & Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), the research examined 39 headlines from The Standard and The Daily Nation newspapers, applying inferential statistics via STATA version 15. Van Dijk's categorization of texts into micro and macro levels and Lakoff and Johnson's assertion that our ordinary conceptual system relies heavily on metaphors underpin the methodology. The analysis combined CDA with Pragglejazz Group's Metaphor Identification Procedure (MIP) to uncover that the majority of metaphors in these headlines constructed COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya in a grim light, associating it with war, death, and bondage. While these metaphors serve as cautionary messages, they fall short in capturing the proactive measures employed to combat the pandemic. This study's significance lies in its fusion of insights from CDA and CMT, shedding light on how media language exposes cognition and ideology while also revealing the media's influence on public perception of the pandemic.
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