State of the Union: Part Two

Pat Curtin, my J453 instructor, passed this image around class on Thursday. It was published by The Guardian earlier this week. I like this copy because you can examine it and compare Obama’s speech on Tuesday to State of the Union speeches from other famous presidents. The connotative difference between “Americans” and “America” is interesting – note that these were the most commonly used words from Obama’s and Bush’s speeches. “America” is a rally cry, used to evoke feelings of unity and patriotism; “Americans” is more appropriate for the current state of affairs in our country. In 2002, the country was desperate for unity in the aftermath of 9/11 and Bush needed to garner support for his foreign policy initiatives in Afghanistan and Iraq. The overwhelming usage of “Americans” in Obama’s speech stems from the economic and financial hardships that many individuals have endured for the last several years. It’s amazing that we have seen such a huge shift in the last decade from “war” and “weapons” to “economy” and “businesses.” Unfortunately, the implied need for economic stability from Obama wasn’t supported in his speech by concrete plans for the future. I couldn’t even find the word “programs” on Obama’s word cloud, whereas it is one of the largest in Kennedy’s and Reagan’s. There’s a lot more to take away from it, so feel free to browse and leave a comment about any conclusions you were able to draw.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “State of the Union: Part Two

  1. James,

    These word clouds are really interesting; I hadn’t seen them before I navigated to your blog! I’m glad you posted this. It’s crazy how the word “America” and the word “Americans” can significantly alter the message in a speech. As journalism/PR majors, we really appreciate the value of every single word.

    You’ve managed to explore some really intriguing concepts in a clear, concise blog post. Good job!

    Sarah

  2. Pingback: Top Student Posts from Winter 2010 « The PR Post

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