Obama: du candidat super star au président mal aimé


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La couverture de l’élection de Barack Obama a été sans commune mesure avec les élections présidentielles de 2000 et 2004. Jacques Portes explique pourquoi le président des Etats-Unis n’a pas réussi à transformer ce succès planétaire en atout au cours de son mandat. Extraits de “Obama, vers un deuxième mandat ?” (1/2).



Top Political Buzzwords Paint a Different Picture than the Campaigns

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AUSTIN, Texas, July 12, 2012 —  The Top Political Buzzwords are telling a far different story than either campaign is presenting to the American people, One hundred and twenty-days before the presidential election, the Global Language Monitor has found profound differences between the actual concerns of the public and the political narratives of both parties.  The Top Political Buzzwords 120 Days Before the Vote, was released earlier today.   GLM has tracked political buzzwords associated with the national political scene since 2003 in the process compiling perhaps the largest statistical database of the kind.
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The “War Against Women” is next to last at No. 52 even though it figures quite heavily in the Democratic narrative.  It ranks just below No. 51 Outsourcing, which is key to the narratives of  both parties.  Other political buzzwords on the top of mind in the campaigns but in the bottom ten in the survey include:  the Bush Tax Cuts, Progressive Politics, the Decline in US Manufacturing, Political Stalemate (in Congress), Angry White Males, and the Obstructionist Congress.

The electorate definitely has a sense that the American Dream Still Alive (No.5.) though it is clearly Disappointed in the Obama Administration (No. 6).

The public is quite mindful of the negative tenor of the debate, reflected in the rankings of Toxic Politics (No.2), Haters and those who label their opponents as -phobic (such as Christophobic), (No. 15), and the Politics of Fear (No. 23). Perhaps this helps account for the fact that enthusiasm for the campaign is tempered by non-enthusiasm (Nos. 17 and 18).

The Top Social Issue in the survey was Pregnancy Reduction and Sex-selective Abortion at No. 25, the debate on which crosses the Progressive/Conservative chasm, though neither seems much discussed on the campaign trail.
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Both parties would do well to note that Romney’s Wealth is dead last; the electorate no-doubt inured to the fact that US presidential candidates are frequently wealthy (for example, the Bushes and John Kerry each had fortunes equal to or larger than that of Mitt Romney). Though Mr. Romney should note that Mormonism in Politics is No. 11.
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“The narratives of both political parties are becoming further and further removed from the actual concerns of the American voters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “This is happening because they focus on smaller and smaller segments of voting population, writing off states, demographic segments, and entire geographic regions in the process.”
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Highlights from the analysis include:
  • The top priority is the Current US Economy (1)
  • Responsibility for the Current US Economy is assigned to Obama (1)
  • Responsibility for Great Recession is assigned to Bush (7)
  • The name Obamacare is favored over the Affordable Healthcare Act by a 25:1 margin (3, 42)
  • The hot button top Illegal Aliens is relegated to the No. 21 position
  • The Affordable Healthcare Act [is recognized] as a Middle-class tax (25)
  • Bain Capital is pushed into the background at No. 27
  • The recent Supreme Court Affordable Healthcare Act ruling and Chief Justice John Roberts appears at a modest No. 32 just below Hydraulic Fracturing (31).
  • The issues of the The 1% registers at No. 36, Super Pacs at No.37, and Teachers Unions at No.38.

The Top Political Buzzwords follow:

  1. Current US Economy (with Obama Ownership)
  2. Toxic Politics
  3. ObamaCare
  4. Out-of-control Spending
  5. The American Dream Still alive
  6. Disappointment in Obama Administration
  7. Bush Responsible for Great Recession
  8. The Iraq War
  9. Stimulus Package
  10. Wall Street Bailout
  11. Mormonism in Politics
  12. Rise of China
  13. US Debt Crisis
  14. Middle Class Whites
  15. Identifying opponents as Haters (or -phobic)
  16. Transparency in Government
  17. Excited about Presidential Election
  18. Not Excited about Presidential Election
  19. The Euro Crisis affecting US
  20. Hilary Clinton
  21. Illegal Aliens
  22. Climate Change
  23. Politics of Fear
  24. Afghanistan War
  25. Middle-class tax (Affordable Care Act)
  26. Wall Street Occupy Movement
  27. Bain Capital
  28. Pregnancy Reduction and sex selective abortion
  29. Drone Strikes
  30. Birther
  31. Hydraulic Fracturing
  32. John Roberts Healthcare
  33. George Bush Responsible for US Economy
  34. Keystone Pipeline
  35. Obama responsible for Great Recession
  36. Deficit Spending
  37. The 1%
  38. Super Pacs
  39. Teachers Unions
  40. Global Terrorism
  41. Nuclear Iran
  42. Affordabe Healthcare Act
  43. Long-term Unemployment
  44. Bush Tax Cuts Affecting Middle Class
  45. Progressive politics
  46. Decline US Manufacturing
  47. Political Stalement
  48. Angry White Males
  49. Obstructionist Congress
  50. Obamamania
  51. Outsourcing
  52. War Against Women
  53. Romney Wealth

Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspired a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, Twitter and other social media outlets, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted index that factors in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.  Because PQI is based on the national discourse, it provides a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time.

Evolving Narrative of Barack Obama

Three Distinct Narratives during Presidency

President Obama’s State of the Union Address earlier this week provided the Global Language Monitor the opportunity to analyze the changing Obama Narrative since he rose to the national prominence some five years ago. GLM found three distinct narratives with the communication styles supporting each narrative forming arcs of their own, characterized by their specific word choices, styles of delivery, rhetoric, and diction.

Obama 1.0 Narrative
We had Obama 1.0 whose narrative was that of soaring rhetoric, of hope and inclusiveness, and meeting ourselves in the future.

Reprinted from The Hill, Washington, D.C.
Reprinted from The Hill, Washington, D.C.

This was the “Yes, We Can!” presidential hopeful who would lead us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, harness Iran, close down Git-mo, bring peace to the Holy Land and then get elected to the presidency. This was the time of short declarative sentences or finely honed sentences that would never end, but who cared? This was the un-Bush and proud to say it. This was yet another ‘New Order for the Ages’”.

Obama 1.0 Frequent Word Choices: Americans, Change, Hope, Dreams, Unity

Then the Bush Iraq war policies were kept in place (or even expanded), Guantanamo remained (and still remains) open. This transformation occurred as the hopes and dreams that Obama represented collided with a very real political reality, of war and terrorism, of K-Street operatives, and healthcare plans that had to be passed it in order to know what was in them.

This was the era when the top political buzzwords included ‘anger and rage’, the residue remaining from the (still-ongoing both then and now) global economic restructuring. GLM tested out the new meme and found that what had been characterized as ‘anger and rage’ was actually better represented as ‘frustration and disappointment’.

Obama 2.0 Narrative
The Obama 2.0 Narrative that emerged from the bitter and prolonged healthcare battle, where the behind the scenes wheeling-and-dealing seemed to equal (or even surpass) the worst in memory. Obama 2.0 was now viewed as an ‘aloof’ president who presided over the decision to ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, expanded Bush’s drone warfare, culminating in the president’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and the nationwide speech he then delivered.

Obama’s speech was considered a turning point by many supporters who longed for a leader who would demonstrate how an engaged president would quickly and effectively reach out to those in dire need during such an event (the direct opposite of the Bush response to Katrina). This was to prove not be the case – and the ‘Spill-Cam’ made it all the worse as the oil spouted forth, 24 x 7, for weeks on end.

The voters delivered their verdict on Obama 2.0 in early November 2010, where Obama’s party was pommelled by historic proportions.

Obama 2.0 frequent word choices: surge, Tea Party, deficit, oil spill, healthcare.

The Obama 3.0 Narrative

When President Obama delivered his third and possibly final State of the Union address, he used language that seemed to introduce yet another public persona. This would be his third since his emergence into the spotlight in 2007.

Judging from the language used during his recent State of the Union address, the Obama 3.0 Narrative will be very much like those of George W. Bush, with equal portions of the second term Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and even a sprinkling of JFK. The Obama 3.0 Narrative’s word choices are only remotely attached to those of Ted Kennedy (and even Al Gore). Those of Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter were definitely eschewed.

Obama 3.0’s Narrative, according to his word choices and focus was on “American Values,” even citing “America as the indispensable nation” (Madeline Albright’s phrasing) apparently an updated reference to ‘American exceptionalism’, a phrase normally verboten to the American Left, since it can represent cultural imperialism and American political hegemony.

The president also emphasized phrases and buzzwords that are generally considered to skew right:

  • Mentioned America and Americans nearly fifty times (vs. 11 times in his Inaugural Address)
  • Defining issue was reclaiming American values.
  • Offered unvarnished praise for the military
  • Praised increased oil and oil production.
  • Preaching fiscal and individual responsibility
  • Highlighted “More feet on the border than ever before”

Finally, the use of negative words and phrases nearly surpassing that of positive words phrases in the State of the Union address.

  • Weakened
  • Shrinking
  • Bailouts
  • Handouts
  • Cop-outs
  • Fraud
  • Dumping
  • Out-dated
  • Unnecessary
  • Phony
  • Obstruction
  • Fiasco
  • Plunged
  • Unstable
  • Corrosive
  • Loopholes

Summary

Obama Narrative 3.0 is strikingly different than that of his campaign and early administration.

In some ways this could be the Left’s worst nightmare: a potentially transformative president, now turning into a Bill Clinton/Ronald Reagan hybrid.

In other ways this could be the Right’s worst nightmare: Obama as the 1996 Bill Clinton, adjusting to his Mid-term ‘thumpin’ and rushing to the center to win a second term.

GLM used NarrativeTracker Technology in this study. NarrativeTracker is based on the global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what any audience is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, the top global print and electronic media, as well as new media sources as they emerge.

Paul JJ Payack is the president of Global Language Monitor.

All Things Sarah …

NY Times attributes ‘How’s that Working Out for You? to Sarah Palin?

According to Tom Kuntz in the New York Times’ Week in Review (June 18, 2011):

Refudiate this: Sarah Palin’s undeniable impact on the English language. Exhibit A, of course, is the idiom she lent wildfire currency to only last year, by asking at a Tea Party convention on Feb. 6, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya?” Witness the meme’s broad cultural reach ever since and — perhaps unfortunate in some cases — its seemingly limitless versatility.

“How’s that working out for ya?” — Herman Cain in the first Republican presidential debate on May 5, belittling rule by Washington politicians.


“Someone really should borrow Sarah Palin’s question and ask [Prime Minister] David Cameron: ‘How’s that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?’ ” — The Observer, London, March 27

“Hey, seniors, how’s that no-tax thing been working out for ya?” — Letter to the editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 10 …

[and it goes on to cite another half dozen instances]

The Global Language Monitor has traced back the meme at least to the 1999 film Fight Club; the phrase, no doubt, can be traced much earlier.



Proof of Literary Greatness?

GLM Comment :  We think not.  But perhaps an unexpected ability to fashion an English Sentence.

One week ago today, the MoJo DC bureau was consumed by the arrival of Sarah Palin’s emails covering the first half of her half-term as Alaska’s governor. As David Corn detailed, there were plenty of interesting discoveries—a less than chilly attitude toward climate change, for instance, and a sometimes obsessive attitude toward media critics (marginal and otherwise).

While we were poring over the documents, though, Michael McLaughlin of AOL’s Weird News was taking a different approach:

AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an [8.5] level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said…

“She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.”

Although it’s like comparing apples to oranges, Payack said that famous speeches like Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was a 9.1 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” oration rated a 8.8 on the scale.

Having read several thousand pages of the Palin emails, I think apples and oranges might be a bit of an understatement here. But there’s also a bit of truth there: Palin’s written communications are noticeably more coherent than her efforts to explain herself verbally (witness: Paul Revere-gate).



John McWhorter on Palin’s ‘remarkedly lucid prose’

 

Palin’s Emails: What Her Remarkably Lucid Prose Says About the Art of Teaching Writi

  • John McWhorter
  • June 16, 2011 | 12:00 am

Sarah Palin’s emails are telling us something about remedial writing classes at our universities and colleges, and it’s not what you think. Call her defensive or parochial based on the cache of her spontaneous writings while serving as governor of Alaska, but

something easy to miss is that Palin, in contrast to her meandering, involuted speaking style, is a thoroughly competent writer—more so than a great many people most of us likely know, including college graduates.

Indeed, her facility in writing proves something one might be pardoned for supposing she was exaggerating about in Going Rogue, her autobiography, in which she limns a childhood portrait of herself as a bibliophilic sort of tot:

Reading was a special bond between my mother and me. Mom read aloud to me – poetry by Ogden Nash and the Alaska poet Robert Service, along with snippets of prose …. My siblings were better athletes, cuter and more sociable than I, and the only thing they had to envy about me was the special passion for reading that I shared with our mother.

That’s right, Sarah “you betcha” Palin was, of all things, a bookworm, excited to learn to spell “different” and winning a poetry contest for a poem about Betsy Ross. And as such, it is predictable that her emails would evidence such casually solid command of the language—even if her oral rendition of it is a different matter entirely.

Once we understand that, it leads to some serious questions, as posed by books getting buzz at present such as Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s Academically Adrift and In the Basement of the Ivory Tower by the anonymous “Professor X.” How sensible is our assigning millions of freshmen each year to classes intended to teach them a skill so deeply rooted in unconscious facilitation at an early age?

To get a sense, it helps to see a few of these emails. Because email is written speech, it’s easy to miss artfulness in them. Yet, take this Palin passage: “Even CP has admitted locking up tax rates as Glenn suggests is unacceptable to the legislature, the Alaskan public, this administration, and the Constitution.”

The spelling is flawless—and unlikely to be completely a product of spell-check, which misses errors and often creates others. More to the point, she has an embedded clause (“locking up tax rates”) nested into a main one, with another clause “as Glenn suggests” nested within the embedded one. That’s good old-fashioned grammar school “syntax.” I have known plenty of people with B.A.s who could barely pull it off properly at gunpoint, and several others who would only bother to at gunpoint.

Equally graceful despite its mundane content: “Cowdery telling a kid what’s acceptable and what isn’t inside these four walls??? Puleeeze. A three-pound puppy vs. all the CBC crap that he helped dump around here?” You hear an actual human voice here. We tell some people “I can hear your voice in the way you write”—because it’s unusual for people to be able to “write” themselves. Palin is one of the people who can. [Read More.]

Palinpalooza: GLM analysis for Huffington Post

Sarah Palin’s Emails Written At 8th Grade Level — Better Than Some CEOs

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The huge cache of Sarah Palin’s emails released Friday offered not only a chance to see what she was writing about during her uncompleted term as Alaska’s governor, but also an opportunity to see how well she writes.

AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an eighth-grade level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said.

“I’m a centrist Democrat, and would have loved to support my hunch that Ms. Palin is illiterate,” said2tor Chief Executive Officer John Katzman.

“However, the emails say something else. Ms. Palin writes emails on her Blackberry at a grade level of 8.5.

“If she were a student and showing me her work, I’d say ‘It’s fine, clear writing,’” he said, admitting that emails he wrote scored lower than Palin’s on the widely used Flesch-Kincaid readability test.

“She came in as a solid communicator,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. The emails registered as an 8.2 on his version of the test. “That’s typical for a corporate executive.”

An example of Palin’s strongest writing came on Jul. 17, 2007 in an email to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell about the controversial Gravina Island Bridge, infamously called the “Bridge to Nowhere.”

“We cant afford it, the Feds won’t pay for it, the general populace isn’t placing it as a high priority … can you diplomatically express that?! Of course we want infrastructure — and this is NOT a “bridge to nowhere” (that is so offensive), but as it stands today with the highest-cost bridge design selected by the Ketchikan community, we need to find a lower-cost alternative [if] a bridge will be built.”

“She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.” [Read More.]




Make No Mistake: Obama’s Favorite Buzzwords

You Don’t Say

This article has been shared from The Daily iPad app

 

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‘Make no mistake,’ Obama is a big fan of his own catchphrases

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BY ANTHONY DECEGLIE AND JENNY MERKINMONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011

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Statistics gathered by the Global Language Monitor reveal that Obama has said it 2,924 times since he was sworn into office more than two years ago.

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Other signature Obama sayings include “Here’s the deal” (1,450 times) and “Let me be clear,” (1,066 times). In a nod to the tough financial times he has faced, the president’s fifth most popular motto is “It will not be easy.”

Obama’s reheated rhetoric has recently come under fresh scrutiny. Parts of his speech warning Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to honor the United Nations’ cease-fire pact were strikingly similar to the words spoken by President George W. Bush when he launched military strikes in Afghanistan.

“Our goal is focused. Our cause is just. And our coalition is strong,” Obama said. Bush, nearly a decade earlier: “Your mission is defined. Your objectives are clear. Your goal is just.”

Make no mistake, The Daily is hoping Obama lifts his creative game and “wins the future” (another rhetorical crutch) when it comes to this public speaking deal. Although we understand it will not be easy.

Scale of Top Sayings (Source: The Global Language Monitor, as of March 25)

#1 “Make no mistake” — 2,924 times

#2 “Win the future” — 1,861 times; 9 times in his 2011 State of the Union address

#3 “Here’s the deal” — 1,450 times

$4 “Let me be clear” — 1,066 times

#5 “It will not be easy” — 1,059 times

Not a Recession but a Global Economic Restructuring …

Summary:  What we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level.  (This article, which appeared in a slightly differing form earlier this year, is written by Paul JJ Payack and Edward ML Peters.)

Austin, Texas, September 7, 2010 — Originally alluded to as a ‘Financial Tsunami’ or ‘Financial Meltdown,’ the major global media continue to call our current economic condition  ‘The Great Recession’.  In the beginning, most comparisons were being made to the Great Economic Depression of the 1930s, more familiarly known, simply, as ‘The Depression’ in the same way that many still refer to World War II as ‘The War’.  But even these comparisons frequently ended up referring to the recession of 1982, yet another so-called ‘Great Recession’.

The difficulty here stems from the fact that this economic crisis is difficult to express in words because it does not resemble any economic crisis of the past — but rather a crisis of another sort.

In On War, one of the most influential books on military strategy of all time, the Prussian career soldier Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831) stated one of his most respected tenets, “War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means,” which is frequently abbreviated to “War is diplomacy carried out by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.

We believe that the reason the “Great Recession” label doesn’t fit now is because what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out ‘by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.

This fact is entrapping two US presidents, from radically diverging political viewpoints, in the same dilemma:  describing an economic phenomenon, that doesn’t play by the old rules.  Therefore the difficulty experienced by President Bush as he struggled to describe how the US economy was not in a recession since the GDP had not declined for two consecutive quarters, the traditional definition of a recession, even though jobs were being shed by the millions and the global banking system teetered on the brink of collapse.  Now we have President Obama, attempting to describe how the US economy is emerging out of a recession, though the collateral damage in terms of the evaporation of wealth, mortgages, and jobs remains apparently undaunted and unabated.

The regional or global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries and the so-called collateral (or human) damage are all hallmarks of what is now being experienced in the West.

If you carefully disassemble the events of the last decade or two, one can see them as the almost inevitable conclusion of a nameless war that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the embrace of a form of the free-market system by China, India and the other rising states, an almost unprecedented transfer of wealth from the Western Economies to the Middle East (Energy) and South and East Asia (manufactured good and services), and the substantial transfer of political power and influence that  inevitably follows.

It currently appears that the Western Powers most affected by these transfers cannot adequately understand, or even explain, their present circumstances in a way that makes sense to the citizenry, let alone actually reverse (or even impede) the course of history.  In fact the larger realities are playing out while the affected societies seemingly default to the hope that they ultimately can exert some sort of control over a reality that is out of their grasp and control.

The good news here is that the transfers of wealth, power and influence has proven relatively bloodless but nonetheless destructive for the hundreds of millions of those on the front lines of the economic dislocations.

And it is in this context that the perceived resentment of the Islamic and Arab states should be more clearly viewed.  This is especially so as they watch helplessly as the new global reality and re-alignments unfold.

In conclusion, it can be argued that the difficulty in naming the current economic crisis is the fact that is not an economic crisis at all but rather a transformational event involving the global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries along with the associated collateral (or human) damage.

[Read More.]



Obama’s Acceptance Speech at 9th Grade Level

 

Barak Obama\'s Acceptance Speech Delivered at 9th Grade Level

 

Delivered in more accessible language than past efforts

Global Economic Restructuring


Name current crisis, ‘Global Economic Restructuring’

To more precisely describe current economic condition

To remove emotional freight from the debate

Austin, TX February 17, 2009 – Earlier this month we noted that words of despair and fear of the Global Economic Meltdown have been drowning out those of ‘Hope’ in the Global Media since Obama’s Election as President of the United States on November 4, 2008.The period of the analysis covered 90 days, ending February 3, 2009.

Since that time, the language describing the current financial situation from the administration, the congress and the pundits as reflected in the Global Media has become even more severe.Even a cursory review of the contemporary media bears this out.The favored descriptions include:

  • Catastrophe,
  • Depression, as in full-blown or impending
  • Disaster,
  • Collapse, asin Total
  • Meltdown,
  • Tsunami, as in Financial Tsunami,
  • Crisis,
  • Unprecedented, and
  • Panic, among others.

When describing the entire cycle — from years of deregulation to the housing bubble to the banking bailout and credit squeeze — the emerging consensus seems to be ‘financial meltdown’.Earlier, ‘financial tsunami,’ was favored by some because it aptly described the suddenness, the violence, and the unexpected nature of the potential ‘collapse’ of the global financial system.

However, thus far no description satisfies the two criteria that are called for here: 1) to adequately describe the enormity of the situation, and (2) to do so in an objective, non-emotional manner.

History, of course, will have the ultimate say in the matter.And History usually settles on the dispassionate.All the contemporary names for the conflict between the American North and the South in 1861-1865 yielded simply to the Civil War over time, Just as The Great War yielded to World War I, and subsequently, World War II.

GLM was founded, in part, to identify political buzzwords as ordinary words that become ‘loaded’ or fraught with emotional content far beyond the normal definition of the word.

In this case we also feel it incumbent to note that calling our current economic plight a Depression, certainly might be true – if after 12 years our unemployment rate hovers around 25%, some 10,000 banks have collapsed, and the Dow Jones suffers a 90% decline as was the case in the Great depression.

Also, there was a real question if Western Capitalism would survive at all.At that time Communism (and not garden-variety Socialism) and Fascism were considered to be in competition with free enterprise Capitalism, and the outcome was by no means settled.(Such was the nature of the ‘fear’ to which President Roosevelt referred.) This is certainly, not the case today, where the global consensus overwhelmingly favors free enterprise, in its various shapes and forms, to be the key to long-lasting global prosperity.

Therefore, GLM is suggesting that the current crisis be labeled, simply, the Global Economic Restructuring, thereby more precisely describing the current global economic condition and, at the same time, to removing some of the emotional freight from the debate.

– Paul JJ Payack, Editor

‘Despair’ & ‘fear’ drowning out ‘Hope’ in Global Media

Comparison of 90-days since election to 9/11 and Start of Iraq War

Austin, TX February 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has found that words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown are drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008.

With thousands of global headlines centering on the deteriorating global economy followed by news of the human toll of people driven to despair and committing acts of desperation, GLM undertook an analysis of the language used in the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election.GLM then compared their frequency of use to the ninety days following the 9/11 Terrorists attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 and the 90-day period following the outbreak of the Iraq War in 2003.The representative fear-related words chosen:Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate/Desperation.

The analysis found that these words were used in the last ninety days with 18-23% more frequency since the historic Obama election than when compared to their use in the ninety days following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 of 2001 and 90-days following the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003.The one exception was that of the word fear, itself, though its use in relation to the economic meltdown was still some 85% of its use in the case of 9/11 and the Iraq War.

“The results are striking, especially, in contrast to the immense outpouring of global goodwill in response to the inauguration of Barack Omama, since the survey included the ten days immediately following Obama’s swearing in,” ” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

The specific breakdown of the keywords (and related variations) follows:

1.Abandoned — Abandoned appeared some 23% more frequently

2.Despair — Despair appeared some 18% more frequently

3.Desperation – Desperation appeared some 18% more frequently

4.Fear – Fear appeared some 85% of the frequency

 
Media and Analysts:  Call for Graphics

The US Presidential Election and the Financial Tsunami

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality

A Historical Inflection Point

Austin, Texas, USA.October 13, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era.No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.

The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections.

There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace.Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t change at all.It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality:News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore.What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometers in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometers per hour.Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).

In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.

The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.

In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface.They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the de-regulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of ‘99) that are being all but over-shadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but irresistible forces.

There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.

What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference.We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully contradicting earlier sound bites.Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change?(Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!)Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean.(Yes or no.)Are you for or against atom smashers creating miniscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth?(Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.)Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)?Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?

Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.

For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language.

The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle.

Our goal was, and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind.

For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.

In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed.

The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point.

We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before.Of course not.Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type.What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid?No one had ever seen anything like that before!Indeed.

And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds.

– Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor

‘Despair’ & ‘fear’ drowning out ‘Hope’ in Global Media

Comparison of 90-days since election to 9/11 and Start of Iraq War

 

Austin, TX February 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has found that words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown are drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008. 

With thousands of global headlines centering on the deteriorating global economy followed by news of the human toll of people driven to despair and committing acts of desperation, GLM undertook an analysis of the language used in the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election.  GLM then compared their frequency of use to the ninety days following the 9/11 Terrorists attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 and the 90-day period following the outbreak of the Iraq War in 2003.  The representative fear-related words chosen:  Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate/Desperation.

The analysis found that these words were used in the last ninety days with 18-23% more frequency since the historic Obama election than when compared to their use in the ninety days following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 of 2001 and 90-days following the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003.  The one exception was that of the word fear, itself, though its use in relation to the economic meltdown was still some 85% of its use in the case of 9/11 and the Iraq War.

“The results are striking, especially, in contrast to the immense outpouring of global goodwill in response to the inauguration of Barack Omama, since the survey included the ten days immediately following Obama’s swearing in,” ” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. 

 

The specific breakdown of the keywords (and related variations) follows:

 

1. Abandoned — Abandoned appeared some 23% more frequently

2. Despair — Despair appeared some 18% more frequently

3. Desperation – Desperation appeared some 18% more frequently

4. Fear – Fear appeared some 85% of the frequency

Media and Analysts:  Call for Graphics



ObamaSpeak

Textbook Obama

New York Magazine, September 21, 2009

Which Presidential Orator Did Obama Mimic for His Health-Care Speech?

According to Paul J. J. Payack, a speech analyst with the Austin-based Global Language Monitor, Obama’s health-care speech this week was constructed at a ninth-grade reading level, which was the level at which Lincoln crafted the Gettysburg Address. But that was back when rhetorical flourishes were in vogue. The closest modern equivalent has been Ronald Reagan, whose folksy speeches belied their own competent, clever construction.

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Obama election tops all news stories since Year 2000

More than double all the other major news events COMBINED

Austin, TX December 29, 2008 (MetaNewswire) – The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States tops all major news stories since the year 2000 according to a analysis released by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In fact citations of Barack Obama in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, and throughout the blogosphere more than double the other main stories of the last decade combined.  These include in descending order:  the Iraq War, the Beijing Olympics, the Financial Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the Asian Tsunami.

Media, Internet & Blogosphere
Rank Story
1 Obama
2 Iraq War
3 Beijing Olympics
4 Financial Tsunami
5 Hurricane Katrina
6 Pope John Paul II
7 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
8 S. Asian Tsunami

When separating out the global print and electronic media alone, GLM found that more stories have appeared about the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States than the number of stories about Hurricane Katrina (No. 2), the Financial Tsunami (No. 3), and the Iraq War (No. 4) combined. Next on the list of top stories since the Year 2000 include The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks (No. 5), the Beijing Olympics (No. 6), the Death of Pope John Paul II (No.7), and the South Asian Tsunami (No.8) 

The stories were measured in the print and electronic media for a one year period after the event.


Print and Electronic Media
Rank Story
1 Obama
2 Hurricane Katrina
3 Financial Tsunami
4 Iraq War
5 9/11 Terrorist  Attacks
6 Beijing Olympics
7 Pope John Paul II
8 S. Asian Tsunami

“The historical confluence of events in the year 2008 is unprecedented. Aside from Obama’s election, we witnessed the Financial Tsunami which appears to be a vast restructuring of the world economic order, and the Beijing Olympics, which can be viewed as the unofficial welcoming of China into the world community as a nation of the first rank,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. “This lends some credence to the idea that on January 20th, 2009 we are about to embark on the second decade of the second millennium.

To the popular mind, History rarely follows chronology: the Fifties ended with JFK’s Assassination in 1963; the Sixties with the Nixon’s resignation in ‘74; the Eighties with the fall of the Berlin Wall; while the Nineties, as well as the 20th century persisted until 9/11/2001.

Obama as a Top Word of the Year

Austin, TX December 5 2008 – In an election cycle known for its many twists and turns, another unexpected result pops up in calculating the Top Words of 2008. According to the analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor’s (www.Languagemonitor.com), the word ‘change’ was the Top Word of 2008, followed by ‘bailout’ and ‘Obamamania’.

“However, it is interesting to note,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “that if you included ‘obama-’ as a root word or word stem, Obama- in its many forms (ObamaMania, Obamamentum, Obmanomics, Obamacize, Obamanation, and even O-phoria and Obamalot as a stand-in for JFK’s Camelot, etc.), would have overtaken both change, and bailout for the top spot. In a year of footnotes, GLM felt it important to add this interesting linguistic twist to the historical record.”

Obama’s oft cited refrain, “Yes, we can!” was ranked third as Phrase of the Year, following “financial tsunami” and “global warming.”  Barack Obama was ranked the Top Name of the Year, followed by George W. Bush and Michael Phelps, the Olympic 8-time gold medal winner.

The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

See also:  Obama as a Top Word of 2008

See also:  ObamaSpeak

See also:  Obama Victory Speach Ranked

See also:  Final Debate — Candidates Differ Sharply

See also:  Obama Acceptance at 9th Grade Level

‘Obama’ as a Word Enters English Language



Watch the Jeanne Moos’ CNN Segment

Presidential names that have made the leap include Jeffersonian,
Lincolnesque, Nixonian, and Clintonesque
San Diego, California, (February 18, 2007) The latest word to enter the English language is ‘obama’ in its many variations, according to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), (www.LanguageMonitor.com). GLM tracks the growth and evolution of the English language around the globe. The word is derived from the name, Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, and a top contender for the Democratic nomination for the US Presidency. Obama- is used as a ‘root’ for an ever-expanding number of words, including:
  • obamamentum,
  • obamaBot (new!)
  • obamacize,
  • obamarama,
  • obamaNation,
  • obamanomics,
  • obamican,
  • obamafy,
  • obamamania, and
  • obamacam.
The list is growing. In August 2007, GLM noted that ‘obama’ had become a political buzzword, ranking No. 2 on its Top Political Buzzwords list of the 2008 Presidential Campaign.
Presidential names that have made the leap include Jeffersonian, Lincolnesque, Nixonian, and Clintonesque (referring to former president Bill Clinton).
According to Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s president and chief word analyst, “To enter the English language, a word has to meet certain criteria, including: frequency of appearance in the written and spoken language, in the media, have a large geographic footprint, and to stand the test of time. In the past, this process would unfold over many years, even decades or centuries. However, the Internet, with instant global communication to billions of people has radically accelerated the cycle.”
Many names have made the leap into the language including OK (from the nickname US President Martin Van Buren “Old Kinderhook”); jacuzzi, kodak, macadam,
Caesarian section (after Julius Caesar); decibel (the measure of sound), Hertz, and frisbee.
The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.
Currently, GLM is counting the number of words in the English Language. The Million Word March currently stands just short of the million-word mark at 995,118.
The English Language has some 1.35 billion speakers as a first, second or auxiliary language.

See also:  Obama as a Top Word of 2008

See also:  Obama Victory Speach Ranked

See also: Final Debate — Candidates Differ Sharply

See also:  Obama Acceptance at 9th Grade Level



Obama as a Top Word of the Year

Austin, TX December 5 2008 – In an election cycle known for its many twists and turns, another unexpected result pops up in calculating the Top Words of 2008.  According to the analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor’s (www.Languagemonitor.com), the word ‘change’ was the Top Word of 2008, followed by ‘bailout’ and ‘Obamamania’.

 

“However, it is interesting to note,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “that if you included ‘obama-’ as a root word or word stem, Obama- in its many forms (ObamaMania, Obamamentum, Obmanomics, Obamacize, Obamanation, and even O-phoria and Obamalot as a stand-in for JFK’s Camelot, etc.), would have overtaken both change, and bailout for the top spot.

 

In a year of footnotes, GLM felt it important to add this interesting linguistic twist to the historical record.”

 

Obama’s oft cited refrain, “Yes, we can!”  was ranked third as Phrase of the Year, following “financial tsunami” and “global warming.”

 

Barack Obama was ranked the Top Name of the Year, followed by George W. Bush and Michael Phelps, the Olympic 8-time gold medal winner.

 

The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

 

For more information on the Top Words of the Year, go here.

 

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.  For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

 

Obama YES WE CAN Victory Speech Ranked

Obama “Yes, We Can” Speech Ranked With “I have a Dream,” “Tear Down this Wall,” and JFK Inaugural

 

Austin, TX, USA November 7, 2008 – In an analysis completed earlier today, the Global Language Monitor has found that Barak Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech delivered Tuesday night in Chicago’s Grant Park ranked favorably in tone, tenor and rhetorical flourishes with memorable political addresses of the recent past including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s   “I have a Dream” speech, “Tear Down his Wall,” by Ronald  Reagan and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.  GLM, has been tracking the language used in the debates and speeches of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates throughout the bruising 2008 campaign.  In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words he chose, Obama’s Victory Speech was very similar in construction to the speeches of King, Reagan and Kennedy.

 

“As is appropriate for a forward-looking message of hope and reconciliation, words of change and hope, as well as future-related constructions dominated the address,” said Paul JJ Payack President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “Evidently, Obama is at his best at connecting with people at the 7th to 8th grade range, communicating directly to his audience using simple yet powerful rhetorical devices, such as the repetition of the cadenced phrase ‘Yes, we can’, which built to a powerful conclusion.”

 

Obama’s Victory Speech also was similar in construction to his 2004 Democratic Convention address, which first brought him to widespread national attention.

 

The statistical breakdown follows.

 


  

 

  Obama Victory Speech   Obama 2004 Convention
Words 2049   2238
Sentences/Paragraph 1.8   2
Words/Sentence 18.9   20.0
Characters/Word 4.2   4.3
Reading Ease 72.4   67.5
Passive 11%   8%
Grade Level 7.4   8.3

 

For a future-oriented message of hope and vision the passive voice was used frequently but effectively. 

Examples include:  “There will be setbacks and false starts.”

It was also noted that Obama spoke in the authoritative voice of the future Commander-in-Chief with such phrasings as, “To those who would tear the world down – We will defeat you.”

Some commentators noticed the absence of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in the 2001 terrorist attacks from Obama’s catalogue of significant events of last 106 years.

Historical comparisons follow.

 

 

Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan ‘Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King:  ”I have a dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, we can” 7.4

 

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, email info@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

       

 

 

See also:  Obama as a Top Word of 2008

See also:  ObamaSpeak

See also: Final Debate — Candidates Differ Sharply

See also:  Obama Acceptance at 9th Grade Level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

’08 Election

Complete Coverage of the 2008 Elections

Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama and the war on brains

Obama “Yes, We Can” Speech Ranked With “I have a Dream,” “Tear Down this Wall,” and JFK Inaugural
Austin, TX, USA November 7, 2008 – In an analysis completed earlier today, the Global Language Monitor has found that Barak Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech delivered Tuesday night in Chicago’s Grant Park ranked favorably in tone, tenor and rhetorical flourishes with memorable political addresses of the recent past including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s“I have a Dream” speech, “Tear Down his Wall,” by RonaldReagan and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.GLM, has been tracking the language used in the debates and speeches of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates throughout the bruising 2008 campaign.In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words he chose, Obama’s Victory Speech was very similar in construction to the speeches of King, Reagan and Kennedy.
Obama Speech a Winner
“As is appropriate for a forward-looking message of hope and reconciliation, words of change and hope, as well as future-related constructions dominated the address,” said Paul JJ Payack President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.“Evidently, Obama is at his best at connecting with people at the 7th to 8th grade range, communicating directly to his audience using simple yet powerful rhetorical devices, such as the repetition of the cadenced phrase ‘Yes, we can’, which built to a powerful conclusion.”
Obama’s Victory Speech also was similar in construction to his 2004 Democratic Convention address, which first brought him to widespread national attention.
The statistical breakdown follows.
Obama Victory Speech Obama 2004 Convention
Words 2049 2238
Sentences/Paragraph 1.8 2
Words/Sentence 18.9 20.0
Characters/Word 4.2 4.3
Reading Ease 72.4 67.5
Passive 11% 8%
Grade Level 7.4 8.3
For a future-oriented message of hope and vision the passive voice was used frequently but effectively. Examples include:”There will be setbacks and false starts. It was also noted that Obama spoke in the authoritative voice of the future Commander-in-Chief with such phrasings as, “To those who would tear the world down – We will defeat you. Some commentators noticed the absence of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in the 2001 terrorist attacks from Obama’s catalogue of significant events of last 106 years. Historical comparisons follow.
Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan ‘Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King:”I have a dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, we can” 7.4
‘Change’, ‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ Dominate Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4
Austin, TX, USA November 4, 2008 – In an analysis completed just hours before voting began for the 2008 the USPresidential Elections, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor has found that ‘Change’, ‘‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ related words and phrases dominate the Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4, 2008.
The results are based on an on-going 18-month analysis of the political language and buzzwords used throughout the presidential since before the primaries began. GLM’s uses its PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.
Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on November 4, 2008.
1.Change is key.Change favors Obama over McCain 3:2.
2.Cataclysmic events, global warming and climate change rank higher than all other issues except change.
3.The Global Financial Tsunami and related terms permeate the Election and is that persistent low-humming heard in the background.
4.Experience counts.Experience favors McCain over Obama 4:3.
5.Concerns persist about Obama’s experience, background, and past and current associations.
6.Gender is ongoing issue:it began with Hillary and continues with Palin though it is disguised in all sorts of well-meaning platitudes.
7.For many in this campaign, gender actually trumps race.
8.For all the concern about race, it actually seems to be having a positive effect on the Obama campaign, in its an ongoing, just beneath the surface dialogue, with millions (both black and white) voting for Obama precisely BECAUSE he is a black man.This is viewed as separating us (and in some sense liberating us) from a long, painful history.
9.Working Class Whites IS used as a code word for whites who are working class.No other moniker, such as Reagan Democrats or Soccer Moms has caught on in this election cycle.
10. Obama, to his great credit, is no longer perceived as ‘aloof’.
What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?
According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor:
The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment.The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere.It is by its very nature non-biased.When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities.Rather we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and) and publish our results. In other words, it is what it is. Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.”
The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included: Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included: Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!
Top 10 Things Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote
Austin, TX, USA November 3, 2008 – In an analysis completed just 48 hours before the US Presidential Elections theGlobal Language Monitor has announced the final installment of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign.GLM, has been tracking the buzzwords in this election cycle for some eighteen months.Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial. However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.
According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of Global Language Monitor:
The electorate appears to be more advanced in its thinking than either party (or platform).Taken as a whole their concerns center upon uncontrollable, cataclysmic events such as the global financial meltdown and climate change (Nos. 1 and 2), while raising taxes (No. 22) or cutting taxes (No. 27) are lesser (though still important) concerns.
The phrase ‘Financial Meltdown’ has broken into the Top 20, jumping some 2600% in usage over the last month.
Change is the topmost concern.Though change from what to what remains a good question.‘Change’ is,without question the top word of this campaign.Both candidates are benefitting from the mantra; however Obama holds a 3:2 edge over McCain in this regard.
The second-most discussed term of the campaign barely surfaces in most media reports, and this is the combination of ‘Climate Change’ and/or ‘Global Warming’.
Experience (No. 5) counts.A lot. Especially, if that experience can serve as a guide through the current series of cataclysmic events.McCain edges Obama 4:3 in the experience category. But Obama is given significant credit as a quick (and judicious) study.
Everyone is talking about race (No. 16) except, apparently, the electorate.It is a Top Twenty issue, but it’s nestled between Joe the Plumber and Obama’s smoking.
Iraq is now a non-issue. No. 8, Surge,and its apparent success has settled the argument, so it is no longer a question of victory or defeat.Even Al Qaeda has lost its grip on the electorate, falling some 11 spots in two weeks.
Palin (Nos 14 and 21) is a ‘go-to’ subject for the media and campaigns alike, with both sides thinking they gain tremendous leverage in her disparagement or apotheosis.
Tony Rezko (No. 23), Acorn (No. 24) and Jeremiah Wright (No. 26) are indeed issues, but are viewed as minor, settled or both for the Obama campaign.
The word, aloof, as related to Obama is no longer on the list. At the end of the Primary season in June, it was No 14 and a major concern of the Obama campaign. Obama has apparently overcome this sense of aloofness.
The ranking of Top Election Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign and commentary follow.
Presidential Campaign PQI 11.2.08 Comment
Rank
1 Change Obama has a 3:2 Edge over McCain with Change
2 Climate Change Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
3 Gasoline Up 2 this week as prices fall
4 Recession Does a global financial meltdown count as a recession?
5 Experience Down 2; McCain has 4:3 Edge Here
6 Obama Muslim A continued presence in Cyberspace
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Surge One of the Top Words from ’07 now taking a victory lap
9 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
10 “Just Words” Oh Hillary, what hath thou wrought?
11 Gender Up dramatically since fall campaign though down for week
12 Working Class Whites Still the object of much affection AND derision
13 Price of oil More discussion as price declines; up 5
14 Palin Swimsuit On SNL Alec Baldwin claimed Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
15 Joe the Plumber Now making appearances with McCain; up 5
16 Racism (election) Belies all the media buzz; now in top 20
17 Obama smoking Down 5 but still in Top Twenty
18 Financial meltdown Now buzzworthy, indeed.
19 Wall Street Bailout As reality of global financial meltdown sets in, down 6
20 Internet fundraising Hangs in there as a hot buzzword at 20
21 Lipstick Drops dramatically over the last survey; down 10
22 Raise taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27. Ho Hum.
23 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko gains one
24 Acorn Voter Reg Loses a couple as interest apparently wanes
25 Al Qaeda election Lurking beneath the surface but falls out of Top Twenty
26 Jeremiah Wright Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling five more spots
27 Cut taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27. Ho Hum.
28 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
29 Nuclear Iran Drops one more spot since last survey
30 Wash Talking Heads Not a good week for the Cognoscenti; down 15
The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum. Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.
The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included: Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included: Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

Listen to the Interview on WNYC/PRI
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The Final Debate: Obama & McCain Differ Sharply
Obama Doubles Use of Passive Voice Over McCain

Memorable quotes: ‘Joe the Plumber’; ‘I am not President Bush’

Austin, Texas, USA. October 16, 2008. In a linguistic analysis of the final Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Global Language Monitor has found that in sharp contrast to prior debates, Obama’s use of the passive voice doubled that of McCain (and was significantly higher than he typically uses). The use of the passive voice is considered significant in political speech because audiences generally respond better to active voice, which they tend to view asmore direct. On a grade-level basis, Obama came in at 9.3 with McCain scoring grade level, while McCain came in at 7.4, a difference of nearly two grade levels. The debate took place at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. The statistical breakdown follows.

Obama McCain Difference

Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9
Using industry-standard tools and techniques, GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, a reading ease score (the higher, the easiest to understand), the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, among others.

“Again, word choice and usage speaks volumes,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President & Chief Word Analyst. “Obama came in at a higher grade level than his previous efforts, but McCain was somewhat easier to understand. Obama’s significantly higher use of the passive voice combined with his frequent use of the word ‘I’ perhaps indicated an impatience with his opponent last witnessed in his debates with Hillary Clinton.”
Read: L’Histoire’s La Langue des Campagnes
Obama used the personal pronoun, ‘I’ about 158 times in the debate, while McCain used the word some 119 times.
Memorable phrases include more than a dozen references to ‘Joe the Plumber,’ one Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, and John McCain’s ‘I am not President Bush’ retort to Sen. Obama’s attempt to link his policies to those of the current president.

Obama the Intellectual

Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

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For comparison purposes, here are the results last week’s Town-hall style debate. That debate was notable in the fact that the questions asked by the audience outdistanced both Obama and McCain in the grade-level ranking category. Perhaps, the most memorable phrase from that debate is perhaps ‘’That one!” the term McCain used to refer to Obama. “That One” has already joined GLM’s analysis of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Campaign.

Obama McCain Difference

Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9
Top Buzzwords of Presidential Campaign: Two Weeks Out
Bailout falls dramatically; Experience and Gender Rise
‘Change’ and ’Global Warming/Climate Change’ in statistical tie for top
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Austin, TX, USA October 21, 2008 – In an analysis completed just two weeks before the US Presidential Elections the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change and Climate Change remain in a statistical tie for top spot in its list of Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, with Bailout falling dramatically to No. 13.
“In the Change ranking, Obama outdistanced McCain by a 3:2 ratio, while in the No. 2 Experience ranking, McCain held a 3:2 edge over Obama,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Joe the Plumber and ACORN voter registration references broke into the Top 25, at No. 19 and No. 22, respectively.In a related finding, Gender (No. 10) continued to rise as Race (No. 20) continued to fall, raising the question if gender is the new race?”
Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial. However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm. The rank of Top Election Buzzwords, past rank, and commentary follow.
1. Change (1) — Obama has a 3:2 edge over McCain with Change
2.Climate Change(2) — Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
3.Experience (5) — McCain has 3:2 edge over Obama with Experience
4.Recession (4) — World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’
5.Gasoline (6) — Up one as the price dropsa1
6.Obama Muslim Connection (8) — A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 2
7.Subprime (7) — How we got into this mess in the first place
8.Surge (10) — One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart
9.“That one” (12) – The remark has spurred the Obama base: ‘I’m for That One’
10.Gender(9) – Is ‘gender’ the new ‘race’?
11.Lipstick(13) — Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base
12.Obama smoking (11) – Surprise here; continues to draw interest
13.Bailout (3) – Bailout, as a word, dramatically slipping as reality of the entire debacle sets in
14.“Just Words” (20) — Hillary’s comment on Obama still echoes through the media
15.Washington Talking Heads (21) – Up six this past week alone
16.Palin Swimsuit (24) – Fueled by Alec Baldwin on SNL:Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
17.Al Qaeda (14) — Always lurking beneath the surface
18.Price of oil (15) – Weakens as price declines
19.Joe the Plumber (NR) – Breaks into Top 25 in debut
20.Race (16) – Continues to drop in media buzz
21.Jeremiah Wright (19) — Dr. Wright remains on the radar, down from No.2 at start
22.Acorn Voter Registration (NR) –Debuts in Top 25; dramatic move over last week
23.Internet fundraising (17) — Loses luster as story; down 6 more spots
24.Rezko (25) — Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25
25.Raise taxes (18) Raise Taxes No 25; cut taxes No. 27:Are you Listening
Others
26.Hockey Mom (22) – Loses a bit of steam
27.Cut taxes (26) Both ‘cut’ and ‘raise’ down this week, again
28.Nuclear Iran (23) Peaked out at No. 18
The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum. Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.
The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included: Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included: Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!
The US Presidential Election and the Financial Tsunami

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality

A Historical Inflection Point

Austin, Texas, USA.October 13, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era.No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.
The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections.
There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.
Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.
We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace.Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t change at all.It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality:News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.
The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore.What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometers in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometers per hour.Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).
In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.
The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.
In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface.They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the de-regulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of ‘99) that are being all but over-shadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but irresistible forces.
There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.
What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference.We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully contradicting earlier sound bites.Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change?(Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!)Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean.(Yes or no.)Are you for or against atom smashers creating miniscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth?(Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.)Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)?Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?
Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.
For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language. The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle. Our goal was, and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind. For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.
In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed. The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point. We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before.Of course not.Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type.What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid?No one had ever seen anything like that before!Indeed. And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds.
– Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor
Vice Presidential Debate Linguistic Analysis:

Palin at 10th Grade-level; Biden at 8th Grade-level

Palin’s use of passive voice highest of the 2008 Debates

Read about CNN’s take on the GLM debate analysis.

The Debate on the Debate on the

An Analysis of the Analysis

Austin, Texas, USA. October 3, 2008. The first and only vice presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign has resulted in Governor Sarah Palin, the republican nominee for vice president speaking at a 10th grade level, with Senator Joe Biden coming in at an 8th grade level. Also noteworthy was the fact that Gov. Palin’s use of passive voice was the highest (at 8%) of the 2008 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates thus far. The analysis was performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com), the Austin, Texas-based media analytics and analysis company.

GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, ‘a readability’ score (the closer to one hundred the easiest to understand, the number of words per sentence, even the number of characters per word.

The statistical breakdown follows.

Vice Presidential Debate

Biden Palin Comment

Grade Level 7.8 9.5 Palin raises a few eyebrows here.
No. of Words 5,492 5235 This is a surprise; shows tremendous restraint on the normally loquacious Biden.Obama used 20 more words per minute than McCain.
Sentences/Paragraph 2.7 2.6 A statistical tie.
Words/Sentence 15.8 19.9 Palin even outdistances professorial Obama on this one; Obama scored 17.4
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 Everyone has apparently learned that shorter words are easier to understand (rather than monosylablic words facilitate comprehension).
Passive Voice 5% 8% Passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility;Biden used active voice when referring to Cheney and Bush;Palin countered with passive deflections.
Ease of Reading 66.7 62.4 100 is the easiest to read (or hear).
Notes: The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility, since there is no ‘doer of the action’. For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction. Five percent is considered average; low for a politician.

By way of comparison, the ranking by grade-levels for historical debates follow.

Historical Contrasts Grade level

Lincoln in Lincoln-Douglas Debates 11.2
Joseph Lieberman 9.9
Ronald Reagan 9.8
John F. Kennedy 9.6
Sarah Palin 9.5
Richard Nixon 9.1
Dick Cheney 9.1
Michael Dukakis 8.9
Bill Clinton 8.5
Al Gore 8.4
George W. Bush 7.1
George H.W. Bush 6.6
Ross Perot 6.3
The number of words is considered approximate, since transcripts vary.

The methodology employed is a modified Flesch-Kincaid formulation.

The First Presidential Debate:

A ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ — with One Exception

In true professorial fashion, Obama averages some 20 more words per minute

Austin, Texas, USA. September 28, 2008. The first presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign resulted in a ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ according to an analysis performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words they chose, the candidates remained within the statistical margin of error with one major exception. In the Number of Words category that the candidates used to convey their messages, Obama, in true professorial style, outdistanced McCain by some thousand words, which breaks down to an average of about 20 more words per minute.

“As in the famous Harvard-Yale game back in 1968, Harvard declared a victory after securing a come-from-behind 29-29 tie. In the same manner, both sides in the debate have declared victory in an essential deadlocked outcome,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “Look at the debate as a football game. Both teams effectively moved the ball. However, the scoring was low, and the quarterbacks performed as expected, with McCain completing some excellently thrown passes only to have others blocked by Obama. Obama’s ground game was more impressive, churning out the yards — but he had difficulty getting the ball over the goal line.”

The statistical breakdown follows.

McCain Obama

Sentences per paragraph 2.2 2.1
Words per sentence 15.9 17.4
Characters per word 4.4 4.3
Passive voice 5% 5%
Ease of Reading (100 Top) 63.7 66.8
Grade Level 8.3 8.2
Number of words (approximate) 7,150 8,068

Notes: The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility, since there is no ‘doer of the action’. For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction. Five percent is considered low.

What are they saying in China?

McCain’s Speech Comes in at the Third Grade Level

Most Direct of all Speakers at Either Convention

Palin & Obama Speech Score Nearly Identical

Austin, Texas, USA.September 7, 2008. (Updated) In an exclusive analysis of the speeches made at the recently concluded Political Conventions, the Global Language Monitor found that John McCain spoke at a third grade reading level, meaning that his speech was the easiest to comprehend of any delivered at either convention.GLM also found that McCain scored the lowest of all convention speakers in use of the passive voice, an indication of ‘direct’ talk.Higher use of the passive voice is often view as an indicator of ‘indirect’ and more easily confused speech because the doer of the action is obscured:‘Taxes will be raised’ rather than ‘I will raise taxes’.

In another finding, GLM found that both Sarah Palin’s and Barack Obama’s widely viewed (38 and 37 million viewers respectively), and much acclaimed acceptance speeches were closely similar, delivered in language that reflected a ninth grade (9.2 and 9.3 respectively) ‘reading level’.
The basic language evaluation stats are shown below.
John McCain Sarah Palin Barack Obama
3.7 9.2 9.3 Grade Level
1.9 1.3 1.5 Sentences / Paragraph
4.4 4.4 4.4 Letters / Word
79.1 63.8 64.4 Reading Ease (100 is easiest)
6.4 19.5 22.1 Words / Sentence
2% 8% 5% Passive Sentences

It is widely believed that shorter sentences, words and paragraphs are easier to comprehend.
The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor, the media analysis and analytics agency.
GLM used a modified Flesch-Kincaid formula for its analysis, which measures factors such as number of words in a sentence, number of letters in a word, the percentage of sentences in passive voice, and other indicators of making things easier to read and, hence, understand.

This release comes in at the second year of college level (14+).
Warning: do not incorporate these words into presidential addresses.

2008 Election Overview

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Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama and the war on brains

.Obama “Yes, We Can” Speech Ranked With “I have a Dream,” “Tear Down this Wall,” and JFK Inaugural

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Austin, TX, USA November 7, 2008 – In an analysis completed earlier today, the Global Language Monitor has found that Barak Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech delivered Tuesday night in Chicago’s Grant Park ranked favorably in tone, tenor and rhetorical flourishes with memorable political addresses of the recent past including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s“I have a Dream” speech, “Tear Down his Wall,” by RonaldReagan and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.GLM, has been tracking the language used in the debates and speeches of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates throughout the bruising 2008 campaign.In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words he chose, Obama’s Victory Speech was very similar in construction to the speeches of King, Reagan and Kennedy.

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Obama Speech a Winner

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“As is appropriate for a forward-looking message of hope and reconciliation, words of change and hope, as well as future-related constructions dominated the address,” said Paul JJ Payack President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.“Evidently, Obama is at his best at connecting with people at the 7th to 8th grade range, communicating directly to his audience using simple yet powerful rhetorical devices, such as the repetition of the cadenced phrase ‘Yes, we can’, which built to a powerful conclusion.”


Obama’s Victory Speech also was similar in construction to his 2004 Democratic Convention address, which first brought him to widespread national attention.


The statistical breakdown follows.

Obama Victory Speech Obama 2004 Convention
Words 2049 2238
Sentences/Paragraph 1.8 2
Words/Sentence 18.9 20.0
Characters/Word 4.2 4.3
Reading Ease 72.4 67.5
Passive 11% 8%
Grade Level 7.4 8.3

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For a future-oriented message of hope and vision the passive voice was used frequently but effectively. Examples include:”There will be setbacks and false starts. It was also noted that Obama spoke in the authoritative voice of the future Commander-in-Chief with such phrasings as, “To those who would tear the world down – We will defeat you. Some commentators noticed the absence of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in the 2001 terrorist attacks from Obama’s catalogue of significant events of last 106 years.

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Historical comparisons follow.

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Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan ‘Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King:”I have a dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, we can” 7.4
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UPDATE:

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Change’, ‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ Dominate Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4

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Austin, TX, USA November 4, 2008 – In an analysis completed just hours before voting began for the 2008 the USPresidential Elections, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor has found that ‘Change’, ‘‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ related words and phrases dominate the Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4, 2008.

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The results are based on an on-going 18-month analysis of the political language and buzzwords used throughout the presidential since before the primaries began. GLM’s uses its PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.

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Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.

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Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on November 4, 2008.


1.Change is key.Change favors Obama over McCain 3:2.

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2.Cataclysmic events, global warming and climate change rank higher than all other issues except change.

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3.The Global Financial Tsunami and related terms permeate the Election and is that persistent low-humming heard in the background.

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4.Experience counts.Experience favors McCain over Obama 4:3.

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5.Concerns persist about Obama’s experience, background, and past and current associations.

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6.Gender is ongoing issue:it began with Hillary and continues with Palin though it is disguised in all sorts of well-meaning platitudes.

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7.For many in this campaign, gender actually trumps race.

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8.For all the concern about race, it actually seems to be having a positive effect on the Obama campaign, in its an ongoing, just beneath the surface dialogue, with millions (both black and white) voting for Obama precisely BECAUSE he is a black man.This is viewed as separating us (and in some sense liberating us) from a long, painful history.

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9.Working Class Whites IS used as a code word for whites who are working class.No other moniker, such as Reagan Democrats or Soccer Moms has caught on in this election cycle.

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10.  Obama, to his great credit, is no longer perceived as ‘aloof’.

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What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

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The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment.The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere.It is by its very nature non-biased.When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities.Rather we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and) and publish our results. In other words, it is what it is. Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.”


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The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!


Top 10 Things Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote


Austin, TX, USA November 3, 2008 – In an analysis completed just 48 hours before the US Presidential Elections theGlobal Language Monitor has announced the final installment of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign.GLM, has been tracking the buzzwords in this election cycle for some eighteen months.

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Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.


  1. The electorate appears to be more advanced in its thinking than either party (or platform).Taken as a whole their concerns center upon uncontrollable, cataclysmic events such as the global financial meltdown and climate change (Nos. 1 and 2), while raising taxes (No. 22) or cutting taxes (No. 27) are lesser (though still important) concerns.

  2. The phrase ‘Financial Meltdown’ has broken into the Top 20, jumping some 2600% in usage over the last month.

  3. Change is the topmost concern.Though change from what to what remains a good question.‘Change’ is,without question the top word of this campaign.Both candidates are benefitting from the mantra; however Obama holds a 3:2 edge over McCain in this regard.

  4. The second-most discussed term of the campaign barely surfaces in most media reports, and this is the combination of ‘Climate Change’ and/or ‘Global Warming’.

  5. Experience (No. 5) counts.A lot. Especially, if that experience can serve as a guide through the current series of cataclysmic events.McCain edges Obama 4:3 in the experience category. But Obama is given significant credit as a quick (and judicious) study.

  6. Everyone is talking about race (No. 16) except, apparently, the electorate.It is a Top Twenty issue, but it’s nestled between Joe the Plumber and Obama’s smoking.

  7. Iraq is now a non-issue. No. 8, Surge,and its apparent success has settled the argument, so it is no longer a question of victory or defeat.Even Al Qaeda has lost its grip on the electorate, falling some 11 spots in two weeks.

  8. Palin (Nos 14 and 21) is a ‘go-to’ subject for the media and campaigns alike, with both sides thinking they gain tremendous leverage in her disparagement or apotheosis.

  9. Tony Rezko (No. 23), Acorn (No. 24) and Jeremiah Wright (No. 26) are indeed issues, but are viewed as minor, settled or both for the Obama campaign.

  10. The word, aloof, as related to Obama is no longer on the list.  At the end of the Primary season in June, it was No 14 and a major concern of the Obama campaign.  Obama has apparently overcome this sense of aloofness.

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The ranking of Top Election Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign and commentary follow.

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Rank Comment
1 Change Obama has a 3:2 Edge over McCain with Change
2 Climate Change Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
3 Gasoline Up 2 this week as prices fall
4 Recession Does a global financial meltdown count as a recession?
5 Experience Down 2; McCain has 4:3 Edge Here
6 Obama Muslim A continued presence in Cyberspace
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Surge One of the Top Words from ’07 now taking a victory lap
9 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
10 “Just Words” Oh Hillary, what hath thou wrought?
11 Gender Up dramatically since fall campaign though down for week
12 Working Class Whites Still the object of much affection AND derision
13 Price of oil More discussion as price declines; up 5
14 Palin Swimsuit On SNL Alec Baldwin claimed Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
15 Joe the Plumber Now making appearances with McCain; up 5
16 Racism (election) Belies all the media buzz; now in top 20
17 Obama smoking Down 5 but still in Top Twenty
18 Financial meltdown Now buzzworthy, indeed.
19 Wall Street Bailout As reality of global financial meltdown sets in, down 6
20 Internet fundraising Hangs in there as a hot buzzword at 20
21 Lipstick Drops dramatically over the last survey; down 10
22 Raise taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
23 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko gains one
24 Acorn Voter Reg Loses a couple as interest apparently wanes
25 Al Qaeda election Lurking beneath the surface but falls out of Top Twenty
26 Jeremiah Wright Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling five more spots
27 Cut taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
28 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
29 Nuclear Iran Drops one more spot since last survey
30 Wash Talking Heads Not a good week for the Cognoscenti; down 15

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The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.

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The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

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Listen to the Interview on WNYC/PRI

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The Final Debate:  Obama & McCain Differ Sharply

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Obama Doubles Use of Passive Voice Over McCain

Memorable quotes: ‘Joe the Plumber’; ‘I am not President Bush’

Austin, Texas, USA.   October 16, 2008.  In a linguistic analysis of the final Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Global Language Monitor has found that in sharp contrast to prior debates, Obama’s use of the passive voice doubled that of McCain (and was significantly higher than he typically uses).  The use of the passive voice is considered significant in political speech because audiences generally respond better to active voice, which they tend to view asmore direct.  On a grade-level basis, Obama came in at 9.3 with McCain scoring grade level, while McCain came in at 7.4, a difference of nearly two grade levels.  The debate took place at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York.

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The statistical breakdown follows.

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Obama McCain Difference
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

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Using industry-standard tools and techniques, GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, a reading ease score (the higher, the easiest to understand), the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, among others.

“Again, word choice and usage speaks volumes,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President & Chief Word Analyst. “Obama came in at a higher grade level than his previous efforts, but McCain was somewhat easier to understand.  Obama’s significantly higher use of the passive voice combined with his frequent use of the word ‘I’ perhaps indicated an impatience with his opponent  last witnessed in his debates with Hillary Clinton.”

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Read:   L’Histoire’s    La Langue des Campagnes

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Obama used the personal pronoun, ‘I’ about 158 times in the debate, while McCain used the word some 119 times.

Memorable phrases include more than a dozen references to ‘Joe the Plumber,’ one Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, and John McCain’s ‘I am not President Bush’ retort to Sen. Obama’s attempt to link his policies to those of the current president.

Obama the Intellectual

Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

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For comparison purposes, here are the results last week’s Town-hall style debate. That debate was notable in the fact that the questions asked by the audience outdistanced both Obama and McCain in the grade-level ranking category.  Perhaps, the most memorable phrase from that debate is perhaps ‘’That one!” the term McCain used to refer to Obama.  “That One” has already joined GLM’s analysis of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Campaign.


Obama McCain Difference
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

Top Buzzwords of Presidential Campaign: Two Weeks Out

  • Bailout falls dramatically; Experience and Gender Rise
  • ‘Change’ and ’Global Warming/Climate Change’ in statistical tie for top

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Austin, TX, USA October 21, 2008 – In an analysis completed just two weeks before the US Presidential Elections the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change and Climate Change remain in a statistical tie for top spot in its list of Political Buzzwords of 

the 2008 Presidential Campaign, with Bailout falling dramatically to No. 13.

“In the Change ranking, Obama outdistanced McCain by a 3:2 ratio, while in the No. 2 Experience ranking, McCain held a 3:2 edge over Obama,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Joe the Plumber and ACORN voter registration references broke into the Top 25, at No. 19 and No. 22, respectively.In a related finding, Gender (No. 10) continued to rise as Race (No. 20) continued to fall, raising the question if gender is the new race?”

Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

The rank of Top Election Buzzwords, past rank, and commentary follow.


1. Change (1) — Obama has a 3:2 edge over McCain with Change

2.Climate Change(2) — Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead

3.Experience (5) — McCain has 3:2 edge over Obama with Experience

4.Recession (4) — World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’

5.Gasoline (6) — Up one as the price dropsa1

6.Obama Muslim Connection (8) — A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 2

7.Subprime (7) — How we got into this mess in the first place

8.Surge (10) — One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart

9.“That one” (12) – The remark has spurred the Obama base: ‘I’m for That One’

10.Gender(9) – Is ‘gender’ the new ‘race’?

11.Lipstick(13) — Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base

12.Obama smoking (11) – Surprise here; continues to draw interest

13.Bailout (3) – Bailout, as a word, dramatically slipping as reality of the entire debacle sets in

14.“Just Words” (20) — Hillary’s comment on Obama still echoes through the media

15.Washington Talking Heads (21) – Up six this past week alone

16.Palin Swimsuit (24) – Fueled by Alec Baldwin on SNL:Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’

17.Al Qaeda (14) — Always lurking beneath the surface

18.Price of oil (15) – Weakens as price declines

19.Joe the Plumber (NR) – Breaks into Top 25 in debut

20.Race (16) – Continues to drop in media buzz

21.Jeremiah Wright (19) — Dr. Wright remains on the radar, down from No.2 at start

22.Acorn Voter Registration (NR) –Debuts in Top 25; dramatic move over last week

23.Internet fundraising (17) — Loses luster as story; down 6 more spots

24.Rezko (25) — Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25

25.Raise taxes (18) Raise Taxes No 25; cut taxes No. 27:Are you Listening

Others

26.Hockey Mom (22) – Loses a bit of steam

27.Cut taxes (26) Both ‘cut’ and ‘raise’ down this week, again

28.Nuclear Iran (23) Peaked out at No. 18

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.


The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

.

The US Presidential Election and the Financial Tsunami

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality


A Historical Inflection Point

Austin, Texas, USA.October 13, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era.No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.

The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections.

There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace.Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t change at all.It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality:News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore.What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometers in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometers per hour.Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).

In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.

The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.

In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface.They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the de-regulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of ‘99) that are being all but over-shadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but irresistible forces.

There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.

What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference.We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully contradicting earlier sound bites.Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change?(Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!)Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean.(Yes or no.)Are you for or against atom smashers creating miniscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth?(Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.)Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)?Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?

Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.

For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language. The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle. Our goal was, and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind. For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.

In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed. The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point. We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before.Of course not.Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type.What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid?No one had ever seen anything like that before!Indeed. And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds.

– Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor

Vice Presidential Debate Linguistic Analysis:

Palin at 10th Grade-level; Biden at 8th Grade-level

Palin’s use of passive voice highest of the 2008 Debates

Read about CNN’s take on the GLM debate analysis.

The Debate on the Debate on the

An Analysis of the Analysis

Austin, Texas, USA.   October 3, 2008. The first and only vice presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign has resulted in Governor Sarah Palin, the republican nominee for vice president speaking at a 10th grade level, with Senator Joe Biden coming in at an 8th grade level.  Also noteworthy was the fact that Gov. Palin’s use of passive voice was the highest (at 8%) of the 2008 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates thus far.  The analysis was performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com), the Austin, Texas-based media analytics and analysis company.

GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, ‘a readability’ score (the closer to one hundred the easiest to understand, the number of words per sentence, even the number of characters per word.

The statistical breakdown follows.

Vice Presidential Debate
Biden Palin Comment
Grade Level 7.8 9.5 Palin raises a few eyebrows here.
No. of Words 5,492 5235 This is a surprise; shows tremendous restraint on the normally loquacious Biden.Obama used 20 more words per minute than McCain.
Sentences/Paragraph 2.7 2.6 A statistical tie.
Words/Sentence 15.8 19.9 Palin even outdistances professorial Obama on this one; Obama scored 17.4
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 Everyone has apparently learned that shorter words are easier to understand (rather than monosylablic words facilitate comprehension).
Passive Voice 5% 8% Passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility;Biden used active voice when referring to Cheney and Bush;Palin countered with passive deflections.
Ease of Reading 66.7 62.4 100 is the easiest to read (or hear).

Notes:  The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility, since there is no ‘doer of the action’.  For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction.  Five percent is considered average; low for a politician.

By way of comparison, the ranking by grade-levels for historical debates follow.

Historical Contrasts Grade level
Lincoln in Lincoln-Douglas Debates 11.2
Joseph Lieberman 9.9
Ronald Reagan 9.8
John F. Kennedy 9.6
Sarah Palin 9.5
Richard Nixon 9.1
Dick Cheney 9.1
Michael Dukakis 8.9
Bill Clinton 8.5
Al Gore 8.4
George W. Bush 7.1
George H.W. Bush 6.6
Ross Perot 6.3

The number of words is considered approximate, since transcripts vary.

The methodology employed is a modified Flesch-Kincaid formulation.

The First Presidential Debate:

A ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ — with One Exception

In true professorial fashion, Obama averages some 20 more words per minute

Austin, Texas, USA.   September 28, 2008. The first presidential debate of the 2008 Campaign resulted in a ‘Linguistic Dead Heat’ according to an analysis performed by The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com).  In nearly every category, from grade level to the use of passive voice, even the average numbers of letters in the words they chose, the candidates remained within the statistical margin of error with one major exception.  In the Number of Words category that the candidates used to convey their messages, Obama, in true professorial style, outdistanced McCain by some thousand words, which breaks down to an average of about 20 more words per minute.

“As in the famous Harvard-Yale game back in 1968, Harvard declared a victory after securing a come-from-behind 29-29 tie.   In the same manner, both sides in the debate have declared victory in an essential deadlocked outcome,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “Look at the debate as a football game.  Both teams effectively moved the ball.  However, the scoring was low, and the quarterbacks performed as expected, with McCain completing some excellently thrown passes only to have others blocked by Obama.  Obama’s ground game was more impressive, churning out the yards — but he had difficulty getting the ball over the goal line.”

The statistical breakdown follows.

McCain Obama
Sentences per paragraph 2.2 2.1
Words per sentence 15.9 17.4
Characters per word 4.4 4.3
Passive voice 5% 5%
Ease of Reading (100 Top) 63.7 66.8
Grade Level 8.3 8.2
Number of words (approximate) 7,150 8,068

Notes:  The excessive use of passive voice can be used to obscure responsibility, since there is no ‘doer of the action’.  For example, ‘Taxes will be raised’ is a passive construction, while ‘I will raise (or lower) taxes’ is an active construction.  Five percent is considered low.

What are they saying in China?

McCain’s Speech Comes in at the Third Grade Level


Most Direct of all Speakers at Either Convention

Palin & Obama Speech Score Nearly Identical

Austin, Texas, USA.September 7, 2008. (Updated)  In an exclusive analysis of the speeches made at the recently concluded Political Conventions, the Global Language Monitor found that John McCain spoke at a third grade reading level, meaning that his speech was the easiest to comprehend of any delivered at either convention.GLM also found that McCain scored the lowest of all convention speakers in use of the passive voice, an indication of ‘direct’ talk.Higher use of the passive voice is often view as an indicator of ‘indirect’ and more easily confused speech because the doer of the action is obscured:‘Taxes will be raised’ rather than ‘I will raise taxes’.

In another finding, GLM found that both Sarah Palin’s and Barack Obama’s widely viewed (38 and 37 million viewers respectively), and much acclaimed acceptance speeches were closely similar, delivered in language that reflected a ninth grade (9.2 and 9.3 respectively) ‘reading level’.

The basic language evaluation stats are shown below.

John McCain Sarah Palin Barack Obama
3.7 9.2 9.3 Grade Level
1.9 1.3 1.5 Sentences / Paragraph
4.4 4.4 4.4 Letters / Word
79.1 63.8 64.4 Reading Ease (100 is easiest)
6.4 19.5 22.1 Words / Sentence
2% 8% 5% Passive Sentences

It is widely believed that shorter sentences, words and paragraphs are easier to comprehend.

The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor, the media analysis and analytics agency.

GLM used a modified Flesch-Kincaid formula for its analysis, which measures factors such as number of words in a sentence, number of letters in a word, the percentage of sentences in passive voice, and other indicators of making things easier to read and, hence, understand.

This release comes in at the second year of college level (14+). 

Warning: do not incorporate these words into presidential addresses.

Top Political Buzzwords of 2008 Primary Season

Listen to the interview here:

Change, Ill-chosen Words and Race Dominate

Comments by Michelle Obama, Jeremiah Wright and both Clintons



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Austin, TX July 2, 2008 MetaNewswire — ‘Change,’ ill-chosen words by Michelle Obama, Jeremiah Wright and both Clintons, and ‘Race’ were named the Top Political Buzz Words and Phrases of the Recently concluded primary season by the Global Language Monitor in its periodic survey. The Top Ten included ‘Just Words,’ ‘Misspoke,’ ‘Inevitability,’ ‘Aloof,’ and ‘Obama a Muslim?’

The word ‘change’ remains atop the chart as it has for the last six months, however Michelle Obama’s ‘proud of my country’ comments rocketed to the No. 2 position, up from No. 5 in the previous survey, knocking the comments by Rev. Wright from the No. 2 to No. 3 position.

“The entire list is quite sobering, and rather surprising.  Sobering in the fact that the list is dominated by those issues and sound bites generated by the negative sides of the campaign.  The list is surprising in the fact that strong preponderance of the words and phrases are related to the Democratic campaign with just a handful from the Republican side,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor (GLM).


This Sunday, the contenders’ spoken words are talk of the day

Political buzzwords are terms of phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.


The Lede (New York Times):  Has the ‘surge’ been surging?


The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.



The Hindi’s take on the latest Political Buzzwords


The Top Political Buzzwords of the Primary Season of the 2008 Presidential Campaign follows with Ranking, Buzzword, Previous Ranking, and Comment.


  1. Change (1) – Number 1 buzzword of the Primary Season with an index rating 10X that of any other word or phrase..
  2. ‘Proud of my country’ (5) – In the last month alone, Ms. Obama’s ‘first time’ quote is up over 200% in citations.  Apparently, Michelle plays a far larger role in this campaign than many suspect.
  3. Jeremiah Wright (2) – Obama’s former pastor looms large in the media and on the web.
  4. Race – (4) The word actually means ‘lineage’. The numbers say it’s more significant than most would like to hear.
  5. Bill Clinton’s Jesse Jackson Comments (3) – Though fading, made a lasting impact and impression.
  6. Misspoke – (10) As did her Sniper Fire episode and subsequent explanation.
  7. Bosnian Sniper Fire (9) – Reverberations continued from Hillary’s ‘misspeaking’
  8. Just Words (6) – Clinton’s characterization of Obama’s eloquence has had an impact.
  9. Internet fundraising (8) – Obama’s adeptness in using the Internet as a primary source of funding was major buzz.
  10. Inevitability (7) – Mark Penn’s Inevitability Strategy still under discussion (and derision).
  11. Working Class Whites (12) – Discussion (with racial subtext) up some 500% from the beginning of the year.
  12. Thrown Under the Bus (13)– Directly related to Clinton’s Kitchen Sink Strategy but also said of Obama and Reverend Wright.
  13. Obama a Muslim? (14) – Though he is a proclaimed Christian, the question lingers.
  14. Aloof (15) — Obama demeanor has its drawbacks according to the PQI.
  15. Punditocracy (16) — Those inhabiting the Media Echo Chamber find themselves part of the story.
  16. Bitter (17) – Obama’s characterization of blue-collar Pennsylvania Whites to an audience of West-Coast supporters.
  17. Gender (18) — According to the media buzz, not nearly the as dominating as the word race.
  18. Experience (19) – Hillary’s original argument no longer resonant as early in the primary season.
  19. Surge (20) – One of 2007’s Top Words, still used mainly in relation to Senator McCain.
  20. 100 Years War (21) – The original One Hundred’s Year War actually lasted 116 years.

Words dropped from the list:  Latte Liberal and Kitchen Sink Strategy.

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency.

The Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Presidential Campaign included:swift boats, flip flop/flopping, quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, misleader and liar!

 

Political Buzzwords:

2008 Election Before the Primary Season

“This disparate collection of buzzwords speaks volumes about today’s electorate,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor (GLM).  “We have an Iraq War strategy, a name, a corporate entity, and a commentary on a female candidate’s ‘neckline’ at the top of the list … and then it really gets interesting.”

To see the YouTube Announcement, click here

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.

The Top Political Buzzwords of the Presidential Campaign and Commentary follows.

1.  Surge — The ‘Surge’ surges to the No.1 Political Buzzword

2.  Obama — His name now qualifies as a buzzword.  This is quite unusual, though the name Hillary comes close.

3.  YouTube — Changing the nature of American Campaigning?

4.  Cleavage — Despite critics’ contentions, Hillary found to be a woman after all.

5.  Pardon — Furor over Libby pardon riles the news media.

6.  Live Earth — Rock the Earth lived up to its billing in ‘buzz’.

7.  Subpoena — Congressional subpoenas abound as predicted if a Democratically control congress were elected.

8.  Congress — Congress is now polling lower numbers that the President.  Congress as a dirty word:  another ‘C’ word?

9.  All-time Low — A constant description of the president’s ever falling poll numbers.

10. “I don’t recall.” — AG Alberto Gonzales used this phrase three score and thrice in one day of testimony.

Top Political Buzzwords for 2006

The Top Political Buzzwords for 2006 included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency.

Rewind: June 13, 2006

First Political Buzzword Tracker of 2006 Portends Raucus Fight

 

Heading Into Mid-term Elections

 

Culture of Corruption: 56% Republican vs. 44% Democrat

 

San Diego, June 13, 2006 (Updated). For the last three years, GLM has been tracking political buzzwords as they appear in the print and electronic media (newspapers, television, radio, etc.) on the Internet and in the Blogosphere. Using our proprietary algorithm, the Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index or PQI, GLM has been able to see which buzzwords and catchphrases are moving in and out of use, thereby reflecting what the media are writing about as opposed to the opinions of the Talking Heads and Pundits.

Nota Bene (November 8, 2006): The Exit Polls, According to CNN, “Asked which issues were extremely important to their vote, 42 percent said corruption and ethics; 40 percent, terrorism; 39 percent, the economy; 37 percent, Iraq; 36 percent, values; and 29 percent, illegal immigration”.


GLM, in early June, found that the corruption and ethics tag was more tightly linked to Republicans than Democrats by a 56% to 44% margin. Apparently, the Democrats have transformed the Mid-term elections into a ‘national’ election, thus upturning the ‘all politics is local’ dictum that usually holds sway. Translating this early finding into a party-line vote: Democratic Majority of 244-191. CNN’s

HOUSE RACE Updated: 6:13 a.m. ET, Nov. 8: With 435 seats at stake, with 14 still undecided: 227-194 Democratic Majority

Rewind the Interview from May, 2006


Election Day PQI:

The Top 15 are still dominated by ‘Green’ and ‘Defense’

Fastest Risers:

No. 1 Hussein Guilty Verdict

No. 2 Iran Nuclear Weapon


San Diego, California November 7, 2006 – The Global Language Monitor’s Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index (PQI) has found that John Kerry’s ‘Stuck in Iraq’ remarks as well as the conviction of Saddam Hussein will both impact today’s Election. Kerry ‘Stuck in Iraq’ remarks debuted at (No. 8) on the list of politcally sensitive buzzwords, while and Hussein’s ‘Guilty’ verdict entered at (No. 11). This is in marked contrast to the 2004 General Election when the last-minute October and November ‘surprises’ (such as the Osama bin-Laden broadcast) were trumped by ‘moral values’. This effect was apparently alone recognized by GLM and was published the week before the vote.

The Top 15 are still dominated by ‘Green’ and ‘Defense’ issues. ‘Ethanol,’ ‘Global Warming,’ and ‘Climate Change Disaster’ are at No.’s 1, 2 and 15. ‘Al-qaeda,’ Bird Flu,’ and ‘Iran Nuclear Weapons’ Round out the Top 5. The Mark Foley scandal sits at No. 10, ‘Illegal Immigration’ at No. 13, ‘Rumsfeld Resignation’ sits at No.19 (about the same position he has maintained for the previous three years), and ‘Culture of Corruption’ comes in at No 20. Other hot button issues that have marked the campaign include ‘domestic spying’ that comes in at No.22 and the continued backlash against the ‘New Orleans’ fiasco still strong at No. 30. ‘North Korean nuclear weapons’ fell twelve spots to No. 41, a marked contrast to the question of ‘Iran Nuclear Weapons’ at No. 5.
Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor suggested that “over the last few years the PQI has proved to start where the polls and pundits leave off. This appears to be because the PQI provides a view of the underlying trends – and rapid movement — that the polls can’t possibly provide. The PQI is not dependent upon who is at home, GLM is not forced to ask ‘double-blind’ questions; since the PQI requires no questions at all.”
The Global Language Monitor’s Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index is a proprietary algorithm that measures ‘the buzz’ in the major print and electronic media, as well as on the Internet.” The data is anaylzed for change since the beginning of 2006, then quarterly, monthly and finally weekly. The basic premise is to analyze short-term variations (e.g., Mark Foley) in the context of the longer-term terms (e.g., bin-Laden).
The following data snapshot was analyzed on Sunday November 5 and updated on Monday November 6th, the day befor the Mid-term Election.

PQI Rank on Nov 6 — Buzzword

1 Ethanol
2 Global Warming
3 Al-qaeda
4 Bird Flu
5 Iran nuclear weapon
6 Impeach Bush
7 Conservative Politics
8 Kerry “stuck in Iraq”
9 Increased Tax Revenue
10 Mark Foley Scandal
11 Saddam Hussein guilty
12 Raise Taxes
13 illegal Immigration
14 Progressive Politics
15 Climate Change Disaster
16 Liberal Politics
17 Religious right
18 Cut Taxes
19 Rumsfield Resign
20 Culture of Corruption
21 Osama bin-Laden
22 Domestic Spying
23 Republican Majority
24 Quagmire Iraq War
25 Extreme Right Political
26 Hillary Clinton credibility
27 Bush Lame Duck
28 Filibuster Senate
29 Iraq War Insurgency
30 “New Orleans” Recovery
31 Religious Left
32 China World Stage
33 Losing War Iraq
34 War for Oil
35 George Bush Credibility
36 Nuclear Option Senate
37 Out of the Political Mainstream
38 Supreme Court Nomination
39 Democratic Majority
40 Fema New Orleans
41 “Nuclear weapon” North Korea
42 NSA Eavesdrop
43 Likeability Bush
44 Winning War Iraq
45 Gasoline Crisis

Fastest Risers Since Oct 22nd

1 Saddam Hussein guilty
2 Iran nuclear weapon

A Note About the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI)

The Global Language Monitor’s proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator tracks the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases (Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, etc.).

A keyword base index is created (including selected keywords, phrases, ‘excluders’ and ‘penumbra’ words), ‘timestamps’ and a ‘media universe’ are determined. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: Long-term trends, Short-term changes, Momentum, and Velocity. As such it can create ‘signals’ that can be used in a variety of applications. Outputs include: the raw PQI, a Directional Signal, or a Relative Ranking with 100 as the base.

Global Language Monitor Exclusive Analysis PQI October 26:


Electorate has a Clear Vision of the Future Both U.S. Parties Seem to Lack
‘Green’-Issues No. 1 and 2 but Al Qaeda Still No. 3
‘Winning the Iraq War’ Dead Last


San Diego, California October 26, 2006 — With two weeks to go before the mid-term election, the Global Language Monitor’s Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index (PQI) has found that the public seems to have a clear agenda and direction that both parties seem to lack. Green Issues, al-Qaeda and bin-Laden dominate the Top Ten, though the Mark Foley scandal makes its first appearance in ranking, as does ‘Impeach Bush’.

New Orleans’ in the context of Hurricane Katrina still festers at No.12, while ‘North Korean nuclear weapon’ debuts at No. 31, and ‘Iran nuclear weapon’ falls two positions from the previous run and occupies the 17th position. Perhaps notably, ‘Winning the Iraq War’ comes in dead last on the list of political phrases and buzzwords, at No. 43, immediatedly preceded by ‘gasoline crisis’.

“The combination of ‘green issues,’ long-term threats, and current enemies seems to define an electorate strongly conflicted by the two major parties lack of defined leadership in these core areas of belief. With neither party appealing to the electorate’s direct concerns, we see the the results being more of an ‘all politics is local’ phenomenon, and far less of the political upheavel most pundits and polls are predicting. The difference between the PQI and the polls is that the PQI provides a ten-month view of the underlying trends that the polls can’t possibly provide. In addition, the PQI is not dependent upon who is at home to pick up the phone at a particular hour of the day. Also, GLM is not forced to ask ‘double-blinded’ questions; since the PQI requires no questions at all. We simply measure what is found in the print, and electronic media, and the Internet, in their every changing mix and milieu,” Payack concluded.


The Global Language Monitor’s Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index is a proprietary algorithm that measures ‘the buzz’ in the major print and electronic media, as well as on the Internet.” The data is anaylzed for change since the beginning of 2006, then quarterly, monthly and finally weekly. The basic premise is to analyze short-term variations (e.g., Mark Foley) in the context of the longer-term terms (e.g., bin-Laden). The following data snapshot was analyzed for the week of October 23rd, two weeks before the election.

Rank on Oct 24 — Buzzword — Previous Ranking (10/10/2006)

1. Global Warming — Previously No. 1
2. Ethanol — Previously No. 3
3. al-Qaeda — Previously No. 2
4. Conservative Politics — Previously No. 4
5. Illegal Immigration — Previously No. 11
6. Flu — Previously No. 6
7. Supreme Court Nomination — Previously No. 7
8. Osama bin-Laden — Previously No. 5
9. Impeach Bush — Previously No. 8
10. Mark Foley — Previously No. 43
11. Religious Right — Previously No. 9
12. “New Orleans” Recovery — Previously No. 10
13. Climate Change Disaster — Previously No. 12
14. Increased Tax Revenue — Previously No. 15
15. Progressive Politics — Previously No. 16
16. Liberal Politics — Previously No. 44
17. Iraq Nuclear Weapons — Previously No. 17
18. Raise Taxes — Previously No. 20
19. Rumsfeld Resign — Previously No. 14
20. Cut Taxes — Previously No. 19
21. Domestic Spying — Previously No. 18
22. Republican Majority — Previously No. 23
23. Extreme Right Political — Previously No. 21
24. Iraq War Insurgency — Previously No. 25
25. Culture of Corruption — Previously No. 28
26. Losing War Iraq — Previously No. 22
27. George Bush Credibility — Previously No. 24
28. Senate Filibuster — Previously No. 26
29. Fema (New Orleans) — Previously No. 40
30. Hilary Clinton Credibility — Previously No. 27
31. North Korean Nuclear Weapon — Previously Unranked
32. Quagmire Iraq War — Previously No. 29
33. Bush Lame Duck — Previously No. 34
34. China on the World Stage — Previously No. 30
35. Religious Left — Previously No. 37
36. Nuclear Option Senate — Previously No. 35
37. War for Oil — Previously No. 36
38. Out of the Mainstream — Previously No. 39
39. Democratic Majority — Previously No. 38
40. NSA Eavesdrop — Previously No. 41
41. Likeability Bush — Previously No.42
42. Gasoline Crisis — Previously No. 45
43. Winning Iraq War — Previously No. 13

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Top Political Buzzwords Index Belies Inside the Beltway Chatter

San Diego, California October 13, 2006 — In a world where polls themselves become the news, The Global Language Monitor’s Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index (PQI) smoothes out the highs and lows and lets you focus on the deeper trends.

Consider Mark Foley, there are about 21,000 stories on Notre Dame’s Saturday game to about 19,600 on Mark Foley.  Does this mean the Dems or GOP should be wrapping themselves in Norte Dame pennants?

Perhaps.

The Global Language Monitor’s Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index is a proprietary algorithm that measures what people are actually talking about on the web, blogs, the major print and electronic media.   We ran the PQI, as of Oct 7th, one month before the general election on Tuesday, November 7th.

Its results are counter intuitive to beltway thinking. This happened once before, when the PQI, the week before the 2004 Presidential Elections, signaled a strong shift to ‘value-based voting’ which was reported to the media, a week before the same was seen in the exit polls for the presidential elections.

If the present signal is true, both the Democrats and Republicans should focus on the issues that are driving what’s reflected in the PQI.  For example: Mark Foley appears as No. 43 — but Al-qaeda and Osama rank as No. 2 and 5.  The PQI seems to indicate that national security ranks far above the Mark Foley scandal.  And not some vague notion of ‘national security,’ but rather No. 2 Al Qaeda and No. 5 Osama bin Laden.  The PQI indicates that the American people know precisely who the enemy is.

And maybe Al Gore is a better politician that everybody thinks since his ‘platform’ topic ’global warming’ is currently No. 1 on the PQI.    Perhaps a ‘green party’ strong on national security would better reflect the mood reflected in the current PQI.

GLM has been publishing the PQI for some three years; it has been cited by the major global media hundreds of times.

Rank on Oct 7 — Buzzword — Previous Ranking (May 31)

1.  Global Warming — Previous Ranking No. 34
2.   Al-qaeda — Previous Ranking No. 35
3.   Ethanol — Previous Ranking No.  6
4.   Conservative Politics — Previous Ranking No.  7
5.   Osama bin-Laden — Previous Ranking No. 8
6.   Bird Flu — Previous Ranking No. 9
7.   Supreme Court Nomination — Previous Ranking No. 10
8.   Impeach Bush — Previous Ranking No. 12
9.   Religious right — Previous Ranking No. 13
10.   ”New Orleans” Recovery — Previous Ranking No. 14
11.   Immigration — Previous Ranking No. 1
12.   Climate Change Disaster — Previous Ranking No. 21
13.   Winning War Iraq — Previous Ranking No. 20
14.   Rumsfield Resign — Previous Ranking No. 19
15.   Increased Tax Revenue — Previous Ranking No. 26
16.  Progressive Politics — Previous Ranking No. 23
17.   Iran nuclear weapon — Previous Ranking No. 15
18.   Domestic Spying — Previous Ranking No. 18
19.   Cut Taxes — Previous Ranking No. 28
20.   Raise Taxes — Previous Ranking No. 25
Other interesting buzzwords and their rankings
21.   Extreme Right Political — Previous Ranking No. 36
22.   Losing War Iraq — Previous Ranking No. 11
23.   Republican Majority — Previous Ranking No. 30
24.   George Bush Credibility — Previous Ranking No. 27
25.   Iraq War Insurgency — Previous Ranking No. 24
27.   Hilary Clinton credibility
28.   Culture of Corruption — Previous Ranking No. 16
29.   Quagmire Iraq War — Previous Ranking No. 39
34.   Bush Lame Duck — Previous Ranking No. 38
36.   War for Oil — Previous Ranking No. 43
37.   Religious Left — Previous Ranking No. 5
38.   Democratic Majority — Previous Ranking No. 42
41.   NSA Eavesdrop — Previous Ranking No. 7
43.   Mark Foley Scandal — Previous Ranking (Not Ranked)

First Political Buzzword Tracker of 2006 Portends a Raucus Fight Heading Into US Mid-term Elections

Impeach Bush is No. 3 on the Year-to-Date List

For the past three years, GLM has been tracking political buzzwords as they appear in the print and electronic media (newspapers, television, radio, etc.) on the Internet and in the Blogosphere.

Using our proprietary algorithm, the Political-Sensitivity Quotient Index or PQI, GLM has been able to see which buzzwords and catchphrases are moving in and out of use, thereby reflecting what the media are writing about as opposed to the opinions of the Talking Heads and Pundits.

For example, in the 2004 Presidential Election, GLM’s PQI actually picked up the surge in moral values that became apparent to the pundits and polls only after votes were cast. (USAToday carried the story on the Monday before the vote.)

In fact, some 12 of the top 20 buzzwords GLM tracked were words and phrases that looked at the election through the prism of moral values from both the right and left perspective.

For the Mid-term elections GLM has set Dec. 31, 2005 as the beginning date of its analysis and has tracked some fifty buzzwords on a monthly basis since then. This is the first release of the PQI for the ’06 Mid-term elections.

A new feature includes adding two words or phrases from popular culture (which will change throughout the cycle).   This should help to place the results in cultural context.

Also, for the first time, we are releasing the Top 25 Year-to-Date List directly following the primary list.

The Results follow:

1. Immigration — Up some 4,000% for the month; though Illegal immigration trails in the No. 12 spot.

2. Conservative Politics — Good, bad or indifferent, ‘conservative’ is on everyone’s lips.

3. Bird Flu — Yes, Avian Flu is higher than Al Qaeda, bin-Laden, the gasoline crisis (No. 35), domestic surveillience, etc.

4. Al-qaeda — High in the consciousness of the American people. Higher than even American Idol.

5. American Idol — This is America, after all.

6. Religious Left — Making a sudden splash to attempt to counter the religious right’s powerful influence.

7. Ethanol (also E85) — Pol’s would do themselves well to note that the yellow fuel far outdistances the “gas crisis”.

8. NSA Eavesdrop — Suddenly exploded by 4,000% in the last month.

9. Osama bin-Laden — Still ever present, lurking just beneath the surface.

10. FEMA — half a year after Katrina struck, FEMA still a major whipping boy.

11. DaVinci Code — Gained steam through the first four months of the year.

12. Illegal Immigration — Trails immigration, though the entire topic is now hot.

13. Supreme Court Nomination — Still resonating through the ether; quietly awaiting another slot to become available.

14. Losing War Iraq — Considerably outdistancing ‘winning the Iraq War’ at No. 23.

15. Impeach Bush — Surprisingly strong; actually No. 3 on the Year-to-Date list.

16. Religious Right — Always a topic on conversation; a far greater base (greater than 30X over the Religious Left, above at No. 6).

17. New Orleans Recovery — A longer, slower dig-out than many assumed. A 60% population drop since Katrina dramatically changes the ethnic composition of the Cresent City.

18. Iran nuclear weapon — Steadily creeping up the list.

19. Culture of Corruption — The Democrat’s new mantra for taking back the House (and the Senate). Desparately hoping that voters don’t look into their closets.

20. Likeability Bush — Core supporters backing stronger than polls suggest; evidently, even the Core can grant the President an unfavorable ranking.

21. Domestic Spying — Showing up twice shows depth of concern (NSA Eavesdropping is No.8).

22. Rumsfield Resign — Nothing new here; In the Top Twenty-five for the third year running.

23. Winning War Iraq — Though seven spots below the ‘losing ‘ catchphrase, still a rather strong position on the chart.

24. Climate Change — Surprisingly weak position considering all the publicity.

25. Filibuster Senate — Still a topic of interest.

Others words and phrases being tracked (ranked in descending order) include: Iraq War Insurgency, George Bush and Credibility, China emerging onto the World Stage, concerns about losing the Republican Majority, Global Warming (as opposed to Climate Change), Gasoline Crisis, Bush as a Lame Duck, the Irag War as a Quagmire, ‘out of the mainstream (now losing its power to shock), War for Oil, and Hillary Clintons credibility.

Year-to-Date Rank:
1. Immigration
2. NSA Eavesdrop
3. Impeach Bush
4. DaVinci Code
5. Al-qaeda
6. Religious Right
7. Culture of Corruption
8. Bird Flu
9. Ethanol
10. Iran Nuclear Weapon
11. Domestic Spying
12. Illegal Immagration
13. Losing War Iraq
14. Rumsfield Resign
15. Osama bin-Laden
16. Supreme Court Nomination
17. Climate Change Disaster
18. Winning War Iraq
19. Filibuster Senate
20. New Orleans Recovery
21. Cut Taxes
22. Republican Majority
23. Raise Taxes
24. Iraq War Insurgency
25. George Bush Credibility

Katrina, Bird Flu, Climate Change Top List of Hot Political Buzzwords


List Runs Counter To Virtually Every Pundit’s Playbook

Nota Bene: The Talking Heads do not always reflect the reality of the worldwide media

San Diego, California (November 7, 2005) “Acts of God” top the Global Language Monitors PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Index of the Top Political Buzzwords for the Third Quarter, including four of the Top Five:  Hurricane Katrina, Climate Change, H5N1 Bird Flu, and Global Warming.

To the surprise of many, the Washington Pundits favorites fell uniformly from the Top Political Buzzwords List tracked during the first six months of 2005.  These included:  Supreme Court (down 3 to No. 4), the Iraq Insurgency (down 5 to No. 8), Filibuster (down 7 to No. 15),  Quagmire (down 9 to No. 18) and Out of the Mainstream down 11 to No. 27).  Breaking into the Top 10 were The New York Times Scandal involving Judith Miller debuting at No. 9 and outed Valerie Plame appears on the List at No. 10.

“The list runs counter to virtually every pundits playbook,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of GLM.  “Watching the Evening News, one might expect such words as Supreme Court, Insurgency, Filibuster, Quagmire and Out of the Mainstream to dominate the List.  The lesson here might be that the Talking Heads do not always reflect the reality of the worldwide media.  The references to Katrina dwarf anything weve ever tracked, surpassing the record set by the passing of Pope John Paul II, while the horrors of both Climate Change and a looming pandemic weigh heavily on the global mind.”

The Top Politically-sensitive Words for the Third Quarter of 2005:

No. 1:  Hurricane Katrina
Comment:  The long shadow of the 05 Hurricane Season casts a pall over all things political.
Factor: Katrina breaks the all-time PQ Index record for citations previously held by the media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II.

No. 2:  Climate Change
Comment:  The fact that New York City was under 5,000 feet of ice 10,000 years ago escapes most on both sides of the debate.
Factor:  Up some 300% from the beginning of the year.

No. 3:  H5N1 Bird/Avian Flu
Comment:  A looming global pandemic to dwarf the Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages  (and AIDS) boggles the contemporary imagination.
Factor:  Up 500% for the year.  Hopefully, this is where it peaks.

No. 4:  Supreme Court
Comment:  Down three spots from No. 1.  Acts of God have a tendency to put the Acts of Man into proper perspective.
Factor:  Up over 800% for the year.

No. 5:  Global Warming
Comment:  Opponents of the Presidents policies prefer global warming to the supposedly more neutral climate change, though the difference is meaningless to those that study language.
Factor:  Up 400 for the year.

No. 6:  European Union (Dead)
Comment:  Though quietly spoken of all year, the French and the Dutch NO votes caused a spike here.
Factor:  Up 70% this month.

No. 7:  John Paul II
Comment:  Still casting a long shadow, longer still in his absence.
Factor:  Up another 20% from the preceding month.

No. 8:  Insurgency
Comment:  Contrary to the Media Pundits and the Polls, insurgency  is down five spots from No. 3.
Factor:  Still rising but overtaken by the natural catastrophes.

No. 9: New York Times Scandal
Comment: The Old Gray Lady takes another in a series of blows on credibility.
Factor:  Up 1300% for the year.

No. 10:  Valerie Plame
Comment:  Though up 80% for the month, Plamegate barely squeaks into the Top 10.
Factor:  Up over 500% for the year.

No. 11:  Judith Miller
Comment:  The prime reason (this month) for deep divisions in the newsroom at the Times .
Factor: Up over 100% for the month.

No. 12:  Cindy Sheehan
Comment:  The impact of the Iraq War Mom is apparently wide but not deep.
Factor: Media coverage up only 200% from her first appearance.

No. 13:  Schaivo
Comment:  She has come to stand for a far greater battle than that between her husband and family.  Factor:  Though down from No. 2, the numbers continue to rise, even after her death.

No. 14:  Credibility (Bush/Cheney)
Comment:  Down nine spots from No. 5; series of missteps in usually disciplined media machine continues.
Factor:  Up 300% in month.

No. 15:  Filibuster
Comment:  Down seven spots from No. 8.  From the Spanish, Filibusteer.
Factor:  With all the talk of the nuclear option, the filibuster ranks among the top political terms few actually understand.

No. 16:  Likeability (Bush)
Comment:  Bush and likeability are still rising modestly despite recent missteps.
Factor:  Up about 30% for the month.

No. 17:  Throes
Comment:  Down ten spots from No. 7, Cheneys Last Throes remark still has legs.
Factor: Up about 200% in the last month.

No. 18:  Quagmire
Comment:  Down nine spots from No. 9.  Actually means quaking mire (and not quaking Miers).
Factor:  Up only 5% for the month but has a large base.

No. 19:  Tsunami
Comment: The Indian Ocean Tsunami will be remembered long after the travails of Helen Miers.
Factor: Still has millions of citations.

No. 20: Persistent Vegetative State
Comment:  You have to wonder if the persistent rise is referring to the state of the Congress.
Factor:  Up some 1600% since the beginning of the year.

Other words being tracked for the index include bubble, Hillary Clinton 2008, and Gravitas.

The PQ Index is a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and the Blogosphere.  The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.   GLM publishes the PQ Index on a quarterly basis.

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Supreme Court-Related Buzzwords Dominate List of Top Political Buzzwords


Though Cheneys ‘Last Throes’ Bests ‘Quagmire’  as No. 1 on the List

San Diego, California (July 5, 2005) Supreme Court-related buzzwords dominated the list of Top Political Buzzwords released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor.  The Top 15 Included: The Supremes, Activist Judges, the Nuclear Option, Out-of-the Mainstream, and Filibuster, according to GLM’s Political-sensitivity Quotient Index (PQ Index) for the first half of 2005.  “The fact that the Buzzword list was compiled immediately preceding the announcement by Justice OConnor that she would resign her seat on the Court, further strengthens the argument that the impending battle over the first vacancy in 11 years will be a mighty one, indeed,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of GLM.

Vice President Cheneys use of the word throes widely taken to mean the imminent demise of the Iraq Insurgency was the fastest rising political buzzword.  Throes bested No. 2 quagmire, and No. 3 credibility atop GLM’s Political Buzzword List for 2005.  Others in the Index included:  insurgency, European Union (Dead), Schaivo, Supreme Court, activist Judges, and the nuclear option.

The PQ Index is a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.  The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.   GLM publishes the PQ Index on a quarterly basis.

The Top Politically-sensitive Words for the First Half of 2005:

No. 1:  ThroesComment:  Cheneys Last Throes remark appears to fly in the face of the Administration’s tight discipline.Factor: The fastest riser in the Index by far (up nearly 500% in month).

No. 2:  Quagmire Comment:  Actually means quaking mire and as the Insurgency continues, the quagmire cry escalates.
Factor:  Up nearly 1500% for the year.

No. 3:  Credibility (Bush/Cheney)
Comment:  Series of missteps in usually disciplined media machine apparently causing a problem.
Factor:  Up 300% in month.

No. 4:  Insurgency
Comment:  By definition, you dont know the true last throes of a battle until it’s actually over.
Factor:  Up some 300% in the month.

No. 5:  European Union (Dead)
Comment:  Though quietly spoken of all year, the French and the Dutch NO votes caused a spike here.
Factor:  Up 1600% for the year.

No. 6:  Schaivo
Comment:  She has come to stand for a far greater battle than that between her husband and her family.
Factor:  The numbers continue to rise, even after her death.

No. 7:  Supreme Court
Comment:  The stakes are particularly high this year and the numbers show it.
Factor:  Up over 800% for the year.

No. 8:  Likeability (Bush)
Comment:  According to the PQI, Bush and likeability are still rising despite recent problems.
Factor:  Up about 250% as supporters apparently rally round their W.

No. 9:  Incurious
Comment:  Bush seems impervious to the incurious charge though the numbers rise modestly.
Factor:  Charge remains as a low hum in the background.

No. 10:  Activist Judges
Comment:  How come we never here alarming reports about inActivist judges?
Factor:  Up over 900% for the year

No. 11:  Nuclear Option
Comment:  Its been cited in the media over 100,000 times; can someone please explain it to the public?
Factor:   Up 1800% for the year.

No. 12:  John Paul II
Comment:  Still casting a long shadow, longer still in his absence.
Factor:  Up another 200% in the preceding month.

No. 13:  Persistent Vegetative State
Comment:  You have to wonder if the sudden rise in the last month is referring to the state of the Congress.
Factor:  Up 200% in the last month.

No. 14:  Out of the Mainstream
Comment:  There should be a rule:  If 50% of the public supports an issue, pols cant make an  out of the mainstream argument.
Factor:  Up 200% for the month.

No. 15:  Filibuster
Comment:  From the Spanish, Filibusteer.
Factor:  With all the talk of the nuclear option, the filibuster ranks among the top political terms few actually understand.

Other words being tracked for the index include bubble, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and Hillary Clinton. 

 

 

 

 

Top Political Buzzwords Thus Far:

Surge, Obama, youTube, Cleavage and Pardon signal raucous presidential campaign

 

Top Concerns of the American Electorate

 


‘Change’, ‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ Dominate Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4, 2008

According to the Global Language Monitor’s Linguistic Analysis

 

Austin, TX, USA November 4, 2008 – In an analysis completed just hours before voting began for the 2008 the US Presidential Elections, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor has found that ‘Change’, ‘‘Cataclysmic Events,’ and ‘Global Financial Tsunami’ related words and phrases dominate the Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on Nov. 4, 2008.

 

The results are based on an on-going 18-month analysis of the political language and buzzwords used throughout the presidential since before the primaries began.  GLM’s uses its PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.    

 

Top Ten Concerns of the American Electorate on November 4, 2008.

 

1.     Change is key.  Change favors Obama over McCain 3:2.

2.     Cataclysmic events, global warming and climate change rank higher than all other issues except change.   

3.     The Global Financial Tsunami and related terms permeate the Election and is that persistent low-humming heard in the background.

4.     Experience counts.  Experience favors McCain over Obama 4:3.

5.     Concerns persist about Obama’s experience, background, and past and current associations.

6.     Gender is ongoing issue:  it began with Hillary and continues with Palin though it is disguised in all sorts of well-meaning platitudes.

7.     For many in this campaign, gender actually trumps race. 

8.     For all the concern about race, it actually seems to be having a positive effect on the Obama campaign, in its an ongoing, just beneath the surface dialogue, with millions (both black and white) voting for Obama precisely BECAUSE he is a black man.  This is viewed as separating us (and in some sense liberating us) from a long, painful history.

9.     Working Class Whites IS used as a code word for whites who are working class.  No other moniker, such as Reagan Democrats or Soccer Moms has caught on in this election cycle.

10.  Obama, to his great credit, is no longer perceived as ‘aloof’.

 

 

What’s the advantage of the PQI over the Polls?

 

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor:

 

 The PQI is, perhaps, the ultimate ‘It is what it is’ measurement of consumer (and in this case Political) sentiment.  The PQI simply measures the occurrence of certain words or phrases in the print and electronic media (traditional or otherwise), on the Internet, and across the Blogosphere.  It is by its very nature non-biased.  When we take a statistical snapshot for the PQI there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularities.  Rather we take our measurements, check for the rate of positive or negative change in the appearance of a searched word or phrase (what we call velocity and) and publish our results.

 

In other words, it is what it is.”

 

Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.  

 

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

 

 



Top Things Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote

Top 10 Things Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote

Austin, TX, USA November 3, 2008 – In an analysis completed just 48 hours before the US Presidential Elections theGlobal Language Monitor has announced the final installment of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. 

GLM, has been tracking the buzzwords in this election cycle for some eighteen months.  Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. 

For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

The top findings follow, with the Top 30 Buzzwords following. 

According to Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of Global Language Monitor: 

 

1.  The electorate appears to be more advanced in its thinking than either party (or platform).  Taken as a whole their concerns center upon uncontrollable, cataclysmic events such as the global financial meltdown and climate change (Nos. 1 and 2), while raising taxes (No. 22) or cutting taxes (No. 27) are lesser (though still important) concerns.  

2.  The phrase ‘Financial Meltdown’ has broken into the Top 20, jumping some 2600% in usage over the last month.

3.   Change is the topmost concern.  Though change from what to what remains a good question.   ‘Change’ is,without question the top word of this campaign.  Both candidates are benefitting from the mantra; however Obama holds a 3:2 edge over McCain in this regard. 

4.   The second-most discussed term of the campaign barely surfaces in most media reports, and this is the combination of ‘Climate Change’ and/or ‘Global Warming’. 

5.   Experience (No. 5) counts.  A lot. Especially, if that experience can serve as a guide through the current series of cataclysmic events.  McCain edges Obama 4:3 in the experience category. But Obama is given significant credit as a quick (and judicious) study.

6.   Everyone is talking about race (No. 16) except, apparently, the electorate.  It is a Top Twenty issue, but it’s nestled between Joe the Plumber and Obama’s smoking. 

7.   Iraq is now a non-issue.  No. 8, Surge,and its apparent success has settled the argument, so it is no longer a question of victory or defeat.  Even Al Qaeda has lost its grip on the electorate, falling some 11 spots in two weeks.

8.   Palin (Nos 14 and 21) is a ‘go-to’ subject for the media and campaigns alike, with both sides thinking they gain tremendous leverage in her disparagement or apotheosis. 

9.   Tony Rezko (No. 23), Acorn (No. 24) and Jeremiah Wright (No. 26) are indeed issues, but are viewed as minor, settled or both for the Obama campaign.

10.  The word, aloof, as related to Obama is no longer on the list.  At the end of the Primary season in June, it was No 14 and a major concern of the Obama campaign.  Obama has apparently overcome this sense of aloofness.

 

The ranking of Top Election Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign and commentary follow.

 

  Presidential Campaign PQI 11.2.08 Comment
Rank    
1 Change  Obama has a 3:2 Edge over McCain with Change
2 Climate Change Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead
3 Gasoline Up 2 this week as prices fall
4 Recession Does a global financial meltdown count as a recession?
5 Experience  Down 2; McCain has 4:3 Edge Here
6 Obama Muslim  A continued presence in Cyberspace
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Surge One of the Top Words from ’07 now taking a victory lap
9 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
10 “Just Words”  Oh Hillary, what hath thou wrought?
11 Gender Up dramatically since fall campaign though down for week
12 Working Class Whites Still the object of much affection AND derision
13 Price of oil More discussion as price declines; up 5
14 Palin Swimsuit On SNL Alec Baldwin claimed Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’
15 Joe the Plumber Now making appearances with McCain; up 5
16 Racism (election) Belies all the media buzz; now in top 20
17 Obama smoking Down 5 but still in Top Twenty
18 Financial meltdown Now buzzworthy, indeed.
19 Wall Street Bailout  As reality of global financial meltdown sets in, down 6
20 Internet fundraising Hangs in there as a hot buzzword at 20
21 Lipstick Drops dramatically over the last survey; down 10
22 Raise taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
23 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko gains one
24 Acorn Voter Reg Loses a couple as interest apparently wanes
25 Al Qaeda election Lurking beneath the surface but falls out of Top Twenty
26 Jeremiah Wright  Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling five more spots
27 Cut taxes Raise Taxes No 22; cut taxes No. 27.  Ho Hum.
28 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
29 Nuclear Iran Drops one more spot since last survey
30 Wash Talking Heads Not a good week for the Cognoscenti; down 15

 

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.  

 

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!



Top Buzzwords of Presidential Campaign: Two Weeks Out


Bailout falls dramatically; Experience and

 

Gender Rise in Campaign Buzzword List

‘Change’ and ’Climate Change’ in statistical tie for top position

Austin, TX, USA October 21, 2008 – In an analysis completed just two weeks before the US Presidential Elections the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change and Climate Change remain in a statistical tie for top spot in its list of Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, with Bailout falling dramatically to No. 13.

 

“ In the Change ranking, Obama outdistanced McCain by a 3:2 ratio, while in the No. 2 Experience ranking, McCain held a 3:2 edge over Obama,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Joe the Plumber and ACORN voter registration references broke into the Top 25, at No. 19 and No. 22, respectively.  In a related finding, Gender (No. 10) continued to rise as Race (No. 20) continued to fall, raising the question if gender is the new race?” 

 

Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

 

The rank of Top Election Buzzwords, past rank, and commentary follow.

 

1.        Change (1) — Obama has a 3:2 edge over McCain with Change

2.        Climate Change (2) — Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead

3.        Experience (5) — McCain has 3:2 edge over Obama with Experience

4.        Recession (4) — World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’

5.        Gasoline (6) — Up one as the price dropsa1

6.        Obama Muslim Connection (8) — A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 2

7.        Subprime (7) — How we got into this mess in the first place

8.        Surge (10) — One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart

9.        “That one” (12) – The remark has spurred the Obama base: ‘I’m for That One’

10.      Gender (9) – Is ‘gender’ the new ‘race’?

11.      Lipstick (13) — Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base

12.      Obama smoking (11) – Surprise here; continues to draw interest

13.      Bailout (3) – Bailout, as a word, dramatically slipping as reality of the entire debacle sets in

14.      “Just Words” (20) — Hillary’s comment on Obama still echoes through the media

15.      Washington Talking Heads (21) – Up six this past week alone

16.      Palin Swimsuit (24) – Fueled by Alec Baldwin on SNL:  Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’

17.      Al Qaeda (14) — Always lurking beneath the surface

18.      Price of oil (15) – Weakens as price declines

19.      Joe the Plumber (NR) – Breaks into Top 25 in debut

20.      Race (16) – Continues to drop in media buzz

21.      Jeremiah Wright (19) — Dr. Wright remains on the radar, down from No.2 at start

22.      Acorn Voter Registration (NR) – Debuts in Top 25; dramatic move over last week

23.      Internet fundraising (17) — Loses luster as story; down 6 more spots

24.      Rezko (25) — Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25

25.      Raise taxes (18) Raise Taxes No 25; cut taxes No. 27:  Are you Listening?

 

Others

26.      Hockey Mom (22) – Loses a bit of steam

27.      Cut taxes (26) Both ‘cut’ and ‘raise’ down this week, again

28.      Nuclear Iran (23) Peaked out at No. 18

 

The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.  

 

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!



Final Debate Analysis: Sharp Contrast to Earlier Debates Analysis


 

 

       Listen to the Interview on WNYC/PRI

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Debate: 

Obama & McCain Differ Sharply

 

Obama Doubles Use of Passive Voice Over McCain

Memorable quotes: ‘Joe the Plumber’; ‘I am not President Bush’

Austin, Texas, USA.   October 16, 2008.  In a linguistic analysis of the final Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Global Language Monitor has found that in sharp contrast to prior debates, Obama’s use of the passive voice doubled that of McCain (and was significantly higher than he typically uses).  The use of the passive voice is considered significant in political speech because audiences generally respond better to active voice, which they tend to view asmore direct.  On a grade-level basis, Obama came in at 9.3 with McCain scoring grade level, while McCain came in at 7.4, a difference of nearly two grade levels.  The debate took place at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York.  

 

The statistical breakdown follows.  

 

  Obama McCain Difference
       
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word
4.4
4.4
0%
Passive Voice (%)
6%
3%
100%
Reading Ease
62.6
68.6
6
Grade level
9.3
7.4
1.9

 

 

 

Using industry-standard tools and techniques, GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, a reading ease score (the higher, the easiest to understand), the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, among others.   

“Again, word choice and usage speaks volumes,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President & Chief Word Analyst. “Obama came in at a higher grade level than his previous efforts, but McCain was somewhat easier to understand.  Obama’s significantly higher use of the passive voice combined with his frequent use of the word ‘I’ perhaps indicated an impatience with his opponent  last witnessed in his debates with Hillary Clinton.” 

 

Read:   L’Histoire’s    La Langue des Campagnes

 

Obama used the personal pronoun, ‘I’ about 158 times in the debate, while McCain used the word some 119 times.   Memorable phrases include more than a dozen references to ‘Joe the Plumber,’ one Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, and John McCain’s ‘I am not President Bush’ retort to Sen. Obama’s attempt to link his policies to those of the current president. 

 

 


  Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

 

 

For comparison purposes, here are the results last week’s Town-hall style debate. That debate was notable in the fact that the questions asked by the audience outdistanced both Obama and McCain in the grade-level ranking category.  Perhaps, the most memorable phrase from that debate is perhaps ‘’That one!” the term McCain used to refer to Obama.  “That One” has already joined GLM’s analysis of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Campaign.   

 

  Obama McCain Difference
       
Words 7,146 6,562 584
Words/Sentence 19.4 15.2 4.2
Sentences/Paragraph 2.0 2.1 5%
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 0%
Passive Voice (%) 6% 3% 100%
Reading Ease 62.6 68.6 6
Grade level 9.3 7.4 1.9

 

  

See also:  Obama as a Top Word of 2008

See also:  ObamaSpeak

See also:  Obama Victory Speach Ranked

See also:  Obama Acceptance at 9th Grade Level

 

 




The US Presidential Election and the Financial Tsunami

 

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality

 

 

Austin, Texas, USA.   October 20, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era.  No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections. There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.  We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace.  Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t change at all.  It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality:  News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore.  What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometers in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometers per hour.  Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).  In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.  In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface.  They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the de-regulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of  ‘99) that are being all but over-shadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but irresistible forces.There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference.  We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully contradicting earlier sound bites.  Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change?  (Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!)  Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean.  (Yes or no.)  Are you for or against atom smashers creating miniscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth?   (Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.)  Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)?  Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?  Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language.The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle.Our goal was, and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind.For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed.The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point.We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before.  Of course not.  Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type.  What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid?  No one had ever seen anything like that before!  Indeed. And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds. – Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor

Top Buzzwords of Presidential Campaign 3 Weeks Out


 

 

Key Findings:

 

 

1.  ’Gender’ trumps ‘Race’

2.  Experience is issue with Obama

3.  Obama Muslim rumors persist

 

Austin, TX, USA October 13, 2008 – In an analysis completed just weeks before the US Presidential Elections, the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change, Climate Change & Bailout stood atop the Top Political Buzzwords List released earlier today.  

It also found that ‘Gender’ now trumps ‘Race’, while questions about ‘experience’ remain an issue for both parties with Obama receiving 2.4 times more citations than Palin.  The analysis also determined that frequently discounted Obama Muslim-related rumors continue to persist, actually moving up on the chart. 

As this election cycle swings into its final phase, once again we are the seeing that the latest headlines are not always indicative of what is actually happening in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the Blogosphere.  As in 2004, those paying too much attention to the ’24 Hour News Cycle’ are apt to miss the larger trends that will play a decisive role in the outcome of this election”, said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. 

The complete list of Top Political Buzzwords, with ranking and commentary follow.

  PQI Oct 7, 2008 Comment
Rank    
1 Change  No 1 for the entire election Cycle; good bet for Word of the Year
2 Climate Change Bigger than ‘Bailout’ bigger than ‘Recession’
3 Bailout  Not even on the radar 90 days ago
4 Recession World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’
5 Experience  Obama’s experience questioned 2.4 X more than that of Palin
6 Gasoline Though prices are dropping, still No. 5
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Obama Muslim Connection A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 7 spots
9 Gender Up 12 spots; more of an issue than ‘race’
10 Surge One of the Top Words from ’07 moving up ‘ 08 chart
11 Obama smoking Surpirse here; more recognition than one might anticipate
12 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
13 Lipstick Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base
14 Al Qaeda Always lurking beneath the surface
15 Price of oil A weaker issue as price declines
16 Race Falls from No. 4 in earlier survey as gender gains
17 Internet fundraising Loses some luster as it becomes normal (down 8 spots)
18 Raise taxes Causes more concern than ‘Cut taxes’ at No. 24
19 Jeremiah Wright  Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling from No. 2
20 “Just Words”  Hillary’s comment on Obama still echos through the media
21 Washington Talking Heads Still in the Top Twenty, falling from No. 16.
22 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
23 Nuclear Iran Jumps into the Top 25 as issue persists
24 Palin Swimsuit Thankfully falls behind ‘Nuclear Iran’ as issue
25 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25
25 Cut taxes Not so much of a hot button as ‘Raise Taxes’ at No. 17

 

  

   For more on the Myth of the Twenty-four Hours News Cycle

 

 

   The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire,

   Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency.  

 

   The Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Presidential Campaign included:  Swift Boats,

   Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

 

 



Change, Climate Change & Bailout Top Political Buzzwords News

 

Change, Climate Change & Bailout Top Political Buzzwords with 3 Weeks Remaining

 

 

Key Findings:

 

1.  ’Gender’ trumps ‘Race’

2.  Experience is issue with Obama

3.  Obama Muslim rumors persist

 

Austin, TX, USA October 13, 2008 – In an analysis completed just weeks before the US Presidential Elections, the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change, Climate Change & Bailout stood atop the Top Political Buzzwords List released earlier today.

It also found that ‘Gender’ now trumps ‘Race’, while questions about ‘experience’ remain an issue for both parties with Obama receiving 2.4 times more citations than Palin.  The analysis also determined that frequently discounted Obama Muslim-related rumors continue to persist, actually moving up on the chart. 

As this election cycle swings into its final phase, once again we are the seeing that the latest headlines are not always indicative of what is actually happening in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the Blogosphere.  As in 2004, those paying too much attention to the ’24 Hour News Cycle’ are apt to miss the larger trends that will play a decisive role in the outcome of this election”, said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

The complete list of Top Political Buzzwords, with ranking and commentary follow.

  PQI Oct 7, 2008 Comment
Rank  
1 Change No 1 for the entire election Cycle; good bet for Word of the Year
2 Climate Change Bigger than ‘Bailout’ bigger than ‘Recession’
3 Bailout Not even on the radar 90 days ago
4 Recession World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’
5 Experience Obama’s experience questioned 2.4 X more than that of Palin
6 Gasoline Though prices are dropping, still No. 5
7 Subprime How we got into this mess in the first place
8 Obama Muslim Connection A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 7 spots
9 Gender Up 12 spots; more of an issue than ‘race’
10 Surge One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart
11 Obama smoking Surpirse here; more recognition than one might anticipate
12 “That one” Has spurred the Obama base with ‘I’m for That One’ slogans
13 Lipstick Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base
14 Al Qaeda Always lurking beneath the surface
15 Price of oil A weaker issue as price declines
16 Race Falls from No. 4 in earlier survey as gender gains
17 Internet fundraising Loses some luster as it becomes normal (down 8 spots)
18 Raise taxes Causes more concern than ‘Cut taxes’ at No. 24
19 Jeremiah Wright Dr. Wright remains on the radar though falling from No. 2
20 “Just Words” Hillary’s comment on Obama still echos through the media
21 Washington Talking Heads Still in the Top Twenty, falling from No. 16.
22 Hockey Mom Causes headlines but not a top issue
23 Nuclear Iran Jumps into the Top 25 as issue persists
24 Palin Swimsuit Thankfully falls behind ‘Nuclear Iran’ as issue
25 Rezko Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25
25 Cut taxes Not so much of a hot button as ‘Raise Taxes’ at No. 17

 

For more on the Myth of the Twenty-four Hours News Cycle

 

 

The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire,

Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency.

 

The Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Presidential Campaign included:  Swift Boats,

Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

VP Debate Grade-level Ranking

Verizon, Subway & Pepsi among top Ambush marketers at Vancouver Games

Winter Olympics tracked by the TrendTopper Ambush Index

Canadian companies Roots Canada and Lululemon lead Overall Rankings

Austin, Texas.  February 18, 2010 – Verizon, Subway, and Pepsi are among the top ‘Ambush’ marketers for the opening weekend of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games according to the TrendTopper Ambush Index (TrendTopper AI™) of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. Ambush marketers are companies that attempt to associate themselves with an event even though they are not ‘official’ sponsors of that event.  Of course, it should be noted that alleged ‘ambush’ marketers generally disagree with this designation, insisting that they are simply pursuing marketing ‘best practices’.

Naming and shaming for Olympic ambush marketers (Reuters)

The TrendTopper Ambush Index tracks brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.  It’s based upon GLM’s Predictive Quantities Index, a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

For the 2009 – 2012 Olympic Quadrennial, there are nine Global Partners:  Coca-Cola, Acer, GE, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, and AT&T.  The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has two additional national partners:  P&G and the Budweiser unit of inBev. The Canadian Olympic committee has a number of local partners, of which five were included:  Deloitte, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, Hilton and Nike.

For this analysis, the alleged Ambush Marketers included:  Verizon, Subway, Pepsi, MasterCard and Adidas in the Global Category. The National Category included Lululemon Athletica, Blenz Coffee, Roots Canada, Scotiabank, and Howe Sound Brewing.    Past sponsors, also,  who continue to enjoy the glow of past Olympic associations, such as: Allstate, Bank of America, Home Depot, and Lenovo were also included in the analysis.

“The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Ambush Index ranks all perceived Olympic sponsors according to their presence in the global media, whether or not they see themselves as such,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “If they are statistically linked to the Vancouver Games, they qualify for the Ambush Index”.

The IOC defines ambush marketing as leveraging the “goodwill of the Olympic/Paralympic Movement by creating a false, unauthorized association with the Olympic/Paralympic Movement.”  Whether the marketer does this intentionally or inadvertently, it allows the marketer to benefit from an association with the Olympic Brand without providing any financial support to them.

The Top Twenty-five marketers as measured by brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games follow.

Rank (1-25), Marketer, and Affiliation

1.   Roots Canada — alleged Ambush Marketer

2.   Proctor & Gamble — USOC

3.   Deloitte — Canadian

4.   Budweiser unit of inBev — USOC

5.   Lululemon — alleged Ambush Marketer

6.   NBC unit of General Electric — IOC

7.   Tyson Foods — Canada

8.    McDonalds — IOC

9.    Polo Ralph Lauren — USOC

10.  Hilton — Canada

11.   Nike — Canada

12.  Verizon — Alleged Ambushed

13.  AT&T — IOC

14.  Subway — Alleged Ambusher

15.  Pepsi — Alleged Ambusher

16.  Coca-Cola — IOC

17.  MasterCard — Alleged Ambusher

18.  Omega — IOC

19.  United Airlines — Canada

20.  Adidas — Alleged Ambusher

21.  General Electric — IOC

22.  Visa — IOC

23.  Panasonic — IOC

24.  Samsung — IOC

25.  Acer — IOC

Over the course of the last several Olympiads (or quadrennials as they are now called), the IOC has significantly tightened the reins on the use of certain words without permission.  For example, the Canadian Parliament has restricted use of some fairly common words in certain combinations without specific permission.

For example, words on Lists 1 and 2 may not be combined.

List 1: Games, 2010, Twenty-ten, 21st, XXIst, 10th, Tenth, Xth, or Medals

List 2: Winter, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Sponsor, Vancouver, or Whistler

In the TrendTopper AI analysis, Marketers are ranked both by category and then overall.  Rankings are calculated, normalized and cross-indexed.

For trend analysis, momentum and velocity calculations, the TrendTopper AI analysis will be run at the halfway point of the Winters Games, with the final tally appearing after the Closing Ceremony.

In addition, a TrendTopper AI ranking of athletes will appear early next week and at the conclusion of the Games.  For more information, call 1.512.815.8836.

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