This study examines the ideological inflection of the ‘farm killings’ discourse in the Eastern Province Herald articles published in August 1998. ‘Farm killings’ is a media frame which was applied to a spate of killings of people on the country’s farms since 1994. Heightened and sustained media attention on the ‘farm killings’ has lifted the phenomenon from the other ‘run-of-the-mill’ murder crimes, and located it firmly as a matter of public concern and a subject of a broad political and economic debate. In this study I investigate the media coverage of the ‘farm killings’ within the context of these debates.The cultural studies approach to the study of the media provides a fruitful theoretical framework within which this study is located. The ideological examination of the articles is done using the critical linguistics method - a brand of reflexive, interpretative style of analysis which enables a sustained examination of media texts within their social, cultural and historical context. This study’s conclusions pose a challenge to the ‘Fourth Estate’ role often claimed for the media.