How Obama lost control of the oil-spill narrative

WORD OF MOUTH:  Colleen Ross

Colleen Ross


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The usual key to staying on top in the murky world of politics is to control the narrative. And, by all linguistic accounts, Barack Obama’s control of the oil spill narrative has slipped away.

Lonely warrior. Barack Obama counting tar balls on a Louisiana beach in May 2010. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Lonely warrior. Barack Obama counting tar balls on a Louisiana beach in May 2010. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

In his first prime-time address from the Oval Office recently, Obama attempted to take back the reins by employing warrior-like language.

In his best Churchill impression, he spoke about “the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens,” going on to vow that “we will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes.”

The president then talked about creating a battle plan as well as the need to develop energy independence and to “fight for the America we want for our children.”

Click Here to Listen to Colleen Ross’ Podcasts

The president then talked about creating a battle plan as well as the need to develop energy independence and to “fight for the America we want for our children.”

In fact, Obama’s rhetoric around America’s biggest environmental disaster has intensified in recent weeks.

Accused of not being angry enough at the company that has still not managed to fully plug a gushing oil well, “No Drama” Obama, as he was once known, is using tougher language and framing the oil spill as an environmental 9/11.

He also uttered the now oft-quoted explanation of why he’s spending so much time talking to experts: So he can “know whose ass to kick.”

Oil-spill enabler

But in this unfolding drama, with a wavering protagonist, a motley crew of characters and a slick, unrelenting enemy, one is compelled to shout in frustration: “Words, words, words!”

Duelling narratives

(An unscientific, comparison)

BP: Use remotely operated underwater vehicles to try to reactivate blowout preventer.

Political narrative: Remotely control response, i.e. let Coast Guard handle it.

BP: Introduce small tube into burst pipe to slow flow.

Political narrative: Introduce oil spill commission and temporarily stop offshore drilling

BP: Drill relief wells, this is going to take awhile.

Political narrative: Drill home the need for relief/compensation (this is going to take awhile)

Therein lies the problem, says language analyst Paul Payack. Words alone mean nothing if they are not backed up by action and, as a result, Obama has lost control of what he wants to say.

“He who wins control of the narrative controls the story in terms of political capital,” says Payack. And at the moment, Obama isn’t doing so well, which could hurt his party in the November mid-term elections.

According to Payack, the most important storyline currently defining the president is “Obama as oil spill enabler.”

Read more



Keep Presidential Speeches Smart

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Medialand

Trevor Butterworth, 06.22.10

Trevor Butterworth is the editor of stats.org, an affiliate of George Mason University that looks at how numbers are used in public policy and the media. He writes a weekly column for Forbes.

If the Gulf oil spill is a national tragedy, the arguments over President Obama’s response to it have descended into a national farce. When former law professors go looking for “ass to kick,” they end up looking like the eponymous hero of Kickass, a nerdy kid copying moves he’s seen in comic books. The difference is that the fictional Kickass was ennobled by failure, which, sadly, is not the kind of outcome open to the President of the United States in matters of national importance.

Obama’s mistake was to respond to the Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots of punditry. The country didn’t want Spock at the helm during environmental armageddon, they protested; the situation demanded a theatrically-appropriate response–as if the presidency was the background music to the movie of our lives, rousing in adversity, compassionate in suffering, a boom box of linguistic effects.

If style is the image of character, you cannot go from the calmest, most judicious intellectual in the room to a Schwarzenegger character in leather trousers and expect to be perceived as authentic. This is why responding to his critics was the wrong thing to do. By following their lame advice, by trying to be someone he isn’t, Obama sounded bathetic.

All of this is an object lesson in how democracy isn’t helped by the media. Just as an analysis of the Katrina response shows that it was a complex systematic failure of government and not a simple fumble by George W. Bush and “heck of a job” Brownie, the Gulf oil spill is not really in the league of a car wreck caused by distracted texting. The very intractability of the problem demands openness, an admission of complexity and a detailed description of solutions that are being pursued. And yet, according to one manufacturer of conventional wisdom, the problem was not that Obama’s White House address on the spill was too simple or vague, it was that it wasn’t simple enough. As CNN reported:

“Obama’s speech may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday by Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor. Tuesday night’s speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Payack, who gave Obama a ‘solid B.’ His Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.”

The president’s 19.8 words per sentence apparently “added some difficulty for his target audience.” But 19.8 words is well within the breath of television’s cutthroat culture of political sound bites, which now stands at seven seconds. Indeed, as Elvin T. Lim notes in his brilliant historical and linguistic analysis of presidential rhetoric, The Anti-Intellectual Presidency, the average presidential sentence in recent years (as defined by speeches) has ranged from 15 to 20 words, well within the assumed attention span of the presumptive television viewer.

But now, even this is apparently too difficult for most Americans to follow. It gets worse. Take the following sentence from the President’s speech, “That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge–a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy.” According to Payack, this is the kind of phrasing that makes the President seem “aloof and out of touch.” It’s too professorial, too academic and not “ordinary enough.” Perhaps the President should just have tweeted “I got smart folks fixin’ to fix the oil spill” and let everyone go back to their regular broadcast fare or communicating with each other in grunts and clicks.

Read More



New York Magazine: Textbook Obama

Flash from the Past ( September 21, 2009) by Paul Bonanos

Which predecessor does his rhetoric most nearly echo? The data don’t lie: It’s Ronald Reagan.


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On Tuesday, President Obama spoke to schoolchildren; on Wednesday, to Congress. The easy punch line (same grade level, guys?) raises a real question: How does this president, whose comments on health care in particular had been criticized for lacking a clear take-home message, pitch his language? Does he strategically streamline his explanations for different audiences? To find out, we called upon science, in the form of Paul J. J. Payack, “president and chief word analyst” at an Austin, Texas, trend-watching outfit called the Global Language Monitor.

What Payack found when Obama’s speeches bubbled through his software was that the president didn’t treat Congress like a bunch of kids. His health-care speech clocks in at 9.0, indicating a ninth-grade reading level; the classroom speech, at 6.6. Those two figures more or less bookend the range for contemporary oration. Both Presidents Bush tended to fall around grade 7, as did Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” comes in at 8.8.

There’s plenty of room for sophisticated ideas at that level. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is sixth-grade material. So is The Hobbit. The Gettysburg Address rates a 9.1. That’s low for the nineteenth century, when florid oratory was in vogue—the Lincoln-Douglas debates took place at an eleventh-grade level, rarely heard today. “You can imagine how they’d talk—three, four hours long,” Payack says. “It really changed with the advent of radio.”

Nor is ninth-grade language too tough for a mainstream audience. Payack says that Ronald Reagan, the master of folksy explanation, is Obama’s closest match among recent presidents, with speeches that usually come in around 9 or 10. “The word was that he spoke in sound bites, but they’re very well-crafted sound bites.” The two presidents may differ in affect, content, and approach—Obama sometimes seems to develop his ideas through the very process of turning them into oratory, whereas Reagan more or less only had one idea—but not in linguistic complexity. Indeed, Obama has often expressed admiration for the Gipper’s ability to frame issues.

Payack explains that his proprietary algorithm is a variant of the standard Flesch Reading Ease Test, which is performed on many textbooks and educational materials: “It analyzes words per sentence, syllables per word, things of that nature. The theory is that the more complex the structure, the more syllables per word, the more difficult it is to understand.” Polysyllabicism and subclauses add complexity, and skew the score toward older readers. “To reach the greatest number of people, to communicate most crisply, to make sure your idea moves from your mind to someone else’s, you should speak in short sentences.” (Representative Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” achieves a prekindergarten rating.) For comparison, a Maureen Dowd column from last week was a 10.8, a Paul Krugman piece was a 12.5, and the story you’re reading now has a Flesch score of ninth grade.

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Language mavens exchange words over Obama’s speech

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nearly 2,700 words with little jargon
  • People understand spoken and written word differently
  • Payack gives Obama “Solid B”

(CNN) — Language experts weighed in Thursday after poring over the nearly 2,700 words of President Obama’s Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil disaster.

“It was straightforward and easy to understand,” said Ron Yaros, assistant professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, referring to the explanations of the crisis and its possible solutions. He divided the speech into 1,200 “idea units,” each of which represents a point the president was trying to make.

He then looked at how many of those idea units contained jargon — unexplained terms that the average person might not recognize — and found none in the 65 idea units that explained the problem.

Of the 417 idea units that discussed what Obama planned to do, “I found only one idea unit that probably would be potentially confusing to a nonexpert. That was the term ‘relief well.’ He never explained that.”

BP is digging a relief well that is expected to intersect with the blown-out well in August. At that point, BP plans to pump heavy drilling fluid into the runaway well, ending the flow.

“If you look at the entire speech, and you look at the amount of jargon, it came out to 1.5 percent,” he said.

iReporter:Obama’s speech too fuzzy on details

But Obama’s speech may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday by Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor.

Tuesday night’s speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Payack, who gave Obama a “solid B.” His Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.

He singled out this sentence from Obama as unfortunate: “That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s secretary of energy.”


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See “The Colbert Report’s”  Send-up of GLM’s Oval Office Analysis

“A little less professorial, less academic and more ordinary,” Payack recommended. “That’s the type of phraseology that makes you [appear] aloof and out of touch.”

Yaros disagreed, supporting the quality of the president’s explanation for spelling out the efforts under way, even if they have not succeeded in ending the flow.

“He’s just trying to be transparent,” Yaros said. “We can’t cure cancer, but I’m comforted to know that the best researchers in the nation are devoted to finding a cure.”

Payack found these three sentences insensitive: “Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.”

“You shouldn’t be saying that in Katrina-land,” said Payack, referring to the 2005 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast. “New Orleans lost a third of its population [to evacuees who did not return]; it’s still recovering.”

But he praised Obama’s phrase “oil began spewing” as active and graphic.

Obama’s nearly 10th-grade-level rating was the highest of any of his major speeches and well above the grade 7.4 of his 2008 “Yes, we can” victory speech, which many consider his best effort, Payack said.

“The scores indicate that this was not Obama at his best, especially when attempting to make an emotional connection to the American people,” he added.

Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence “added some difficulty for his target audience,” Payack said.

Mark Liberman, a linguist at the University of Pennsylvania, was unimpressed with Payack’s criticism of the sentence length.

“I think we can all agree that those are shockingly long professor-style sentences for a president to be using, especially in addressing the nation after a disaster,” Liberman wrote on his blog.

“Why, they were almost as long as the ones that President George W. Bush, that notorious pointy-headed intellectual, used in his 9/15/2005 speech to the nation about Hurricane Katrina, where I count 3,283 words in 140 sentences, for an average of 23.45 words per sentence! And we all remember how upset the press corps got about the professorial character of that speech!”

Yaros challenged the value of Payack’s analysis. “There’s a tremendous amount of difference between analyzing the written word and interpreting the spoken word,” said Yaros, a former science reporter who studies how to make complex topics understandable.

Payack acknowledged Thursday in a telephone interview that his analysis is indeed based on a written version of the speech, but said that does not necessarily render it invalid. “With the internet, probably as many people read the transcript as heard it,” he said. “To think it’s not read and analyzed by tens of thousands of bloggers is looking at the old model.”

Yaros countered that he doesn’t just count words and sentences, but instead measures the audience’s comprehension of news content.

Read More

Obama Oil Spill Speech Echoes Elite, Aloof Ethos

When Obama is at his best (such as the Grant Park ‘Yes, We Can speech), the President has a direct and emotional connection with the American people.  This speech, simply, did not live up to that high standard — and the numbers reflect it.

Comparisons with previous addresses and those of other presidents

Passive Voice highest for any major presidential address this century

Surprisingly high tenth-grade reading (and hearing) level


 

Austin, TX, June 17, 2010 – According to an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, President Obama’s Oil Spill speech echoed his elite ethos, with a broad plan for an alternative-energy future and few specifics.  The only specifics of the address were the continuation of the off-shore drilling ban, effectively putting tens of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs in jeopardy.  The President’s first Oval Office address came in at a surprising high tenth-grade reading level, with some 13% passive constructions, the highest level measured in any major presidential address in this century.  In political speaking, the passive voice is generally used to either deflect responsibility, or to have no particular ‘doer’ of an action

GLM on Obama’s ‘Yes, We Can!’ victory speech: Ranked Among the Greatest


See “The Colbert Report’s”  Send-up of GLM’s Oval Office Analysis

A previous analysis using GLM’s NarrativeTracker™, found the president’s primary narrative arc to be that of ‘Obama as an Oil Spill Enabler’.  Nothing in the address would appear to change that narrative, though formal analysis will be forthcoming in the next week.

Kathleen Parker’s ‘Empiracally Vacuous Meme-replication’

Alternet’s Dumbing Down of Obama’s speech to the seventh-grade level.

The Readability Analysis of the Oval Office address appears below:

  • Passive Voice — With some 13% passive constructions, the highest level measured in any major presidential address this century.  In political speaking, the passive voice is generally used to either deflect responsibility, or to have no particular ‘doer’ of an action, at least when speaking about himself or his Administration.  Otherwise, BP was the clear ‘doer’.
  • Sentence Length — Obama’s spoke in long, though well-crafted, sentences about 20 words in length.
  • Sentences per Paragraphs – Just below four sentences per paragraph.  Usually four sentences in a paragraph would be quite easy to understand, but the 19.8 words per sentence, added some difficulty for his target audience.
  • Characters per words – Obama’s words had an average of 4.5 letters in them, a bit longer than typical for him.
  • Flesch Reading Ease – Reading Ease came in at 59.1. The Closer to 100, the easier to read.  This is well within the normal range for Oval Office Addresses.
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade-Level – 9.8 Grade Level.  This is the highest of any major Obama speech.  Obama’s closest match among recent presidents is Ronald Reagan, whose speeches generally ranged from the 9th to 10th grade levels.  (President George W. Bush usually spoke at a seventh grade level.)

Grade-Level comparisons with other speeches of note include:

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

“The scores indicate that this was not Obama at his best, especially when attempting make an emotional connection to the American people,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM.  “For example, the numbers are significantly different than the ‘Yes, I can” speech, which many consider his best effort.”

Read More:

How Obama lost control of the oil-spill narrative (Colleen Ross, CBC)

Keep Presidential Speeches Smart (Trevor Butterworth, Forbes)

Textbook Obama (New York Magazine by Chris Bonanos)

Obama Narrative 2.0 (GLM)

The President, the Spill and the Narrative that got away (Simon Mann, The Age)

FAQs about GLM, Paul JJ Payack, and the Million Word March



Obama Narrative 2.0

Five Narratives Compete for the Title Tuesday Night


Austin, TX, June 15, 2010 – There are now five main narrative ‘arcs’ competing for the Obama Narrative 2.0 title, the underlying storyline that will largely define the president in the run-up to the Mid-term elections and, possibly, for time remaining in his term.

The ‘narrative’ refers to the stream of public opinion captured by blogs and other social media outlets on the Internet, as well as the leading print and electronic databases.

The Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker™, found the primary narrative arcs in descending order of importance to be:

1.    Obama as Oil Spill Enabler – OK, he didn’t cause it, but in today’s parlance, he appears to be enabling the perpetrators (BP or British Petroleum).  It’s score was some fifteen times higher than that of No. 5, Healthcare Reform.

2.    Obama as the Big Spender – This is a good story line if your goal is to play to the left.  Independents and the right see it as far less favorable.  Spending is have ten times the impact as that of Healthcare Reform.

3.    Obama as the Chicago-style pol – Since the beginning of the year, this narrative is up 640%.  Good for Chicagoland, not so favorable for the rest of the nation.

4.    Obama as out-of-touch or aloof – Taking time to ascertain whose ‘ass to kick’ and calling in an ever growing number of academics to resolve problems usually left to Red Adair (or Bruce Willis) has resulted in a thirteen hundred percent rise in this narrative arc.

5.    Obama as HealthCare Reformer – The bloom is off this rose far more quickly than such a triumph would typically entail. It has fallen from the No. 1 position just a few months ago.

“As of this moment, Obama Narrative 2.0 will emerge far less favorable than that of 1.0:  the  Washington outsider, who will stare-down both Beltway denizens and Politics as usual,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM.  “The Narratives emerging from this inexorably slowly unfolding ecological disaster are running roughshod over those earlier, far-more positive narratives the president is attempting to revive.

The rise of the narrative can render positions on the issues almost meaningless, since positions now matter less than how they fit into a particular narrative. The NarrativeTracker is more effective in capturing the true opinion of the public because it tracks unfiltered keywords in Social Media and other sources, rather than how that opinion is interpreted by the news media or by pollsters.

The NarrativeTracker is based on the GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator™ (PQI™). The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere 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.

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, send email to pjjp@post@harvard.edu, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

Making ‘One Whole’ After the Spill

The Associated Press

By Cristina Silva, Saint Petersburg Times Lambasted by charges that his response to the gulf oil spill comes across as emotionally flat, President Barack Obama has made repeated vows to stand by the victims “until they are made whole.” His ambitious promise now stands as the rhetoric of choice among political leaders looking to sympathize with those affected by the environmental and financial crisis. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry and Gov. Charlie Crist have made near identical pledges and a trio of Democratic congressmen demanded oil giant BP postpone $10 billion in dividend payments to stockholders until “the people of the gulf (are) made whole.” Problem is, what does it mean? ”That is the one question I have been asking for five weeks,” said Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, who fears the sheets of oil sliding toward the shores of his Alabama tourist haven will bring new financial hardships after weeks of canceled hotel reservations and half-empty seafood shacks. “That is the one question we need to know before we can move forward.” Politicians are well aware of the power of words. Obama, a legal scholar with a penchant for headline-grabbing speeches, hasn’t elaborated on his definition of “made whole,” but his repetition suggests he thinks it is a good message. It means he wants to help. It means he cares. But, as with many political messages, “made whole” has more than one layer. In legal jargon, “made whole” implies full restitution. A stolen laptop is replaced. Hospital bills are paid. A cracked windshield is repaired. But the Gulf of Mexico crisis likely won’t be so easily resolved. Some losses could be hard to prove in court or even single out, creating a complicated web of cause and effect that might not immediately produce a culprit, said economic and legal scholars. ”What (Obama) said is true. They (BP) are going to be responsible for the damage they did,” said Fred Levin, a trial lawyer in Pensacola. “The question is, what is the damage they did?” In other words, will those indirectly hurt by the oil spill be “made whole,” too? Or does the promise only apply to the victims who can successfully make their case in court? Consider some potential ramifications. If affected business owners can no longer afford to send their children to private schools, should the schools file a claim? If the private schools hire fewer teachers because of declining enrollment, do the unemployed teachers get help? And if those teachers then can no longer afford to buy quality meat from the local supermarket, how does the supermarket prove its losses are tied to the oil spill? It’s simply not clear, said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Wayne State University in Detroit. ”To the extent you are talking about just the cleanup, yes, BP is on the hook, but to the extent that you are saying we are going to return these communities to what they were, the law does not appear to extend that far,” he said. “While it is couched in legal terms, this is really more of a political promise than a legal assertion.”

Wordsmiths countered “made whole” is not an abstract concept. ”To ‘make whole’ means exactly what it says, meaning not to kind of prop you up, not to give you some aid, but to put you back precisely where you were,” said Paul JJ Payack , president of the Global Language Monitor based in Austin, Texas, which analyzes speech. “It is a very precise choice of words and they know it.”

BP so far has paid $49 million to individuals or small businesses through its claims process and sent out roughly 18,000 checks, spokesman Max McGahan said. ”We have said we will compensate individuals and businesses in full for whatever damages or loss of income has resulted from the oil spill. We have made that commitment very clearly,” McGahan said. He declined to address the “made whole” pledge. Read More in the St Petersburg Times

The President, the Spill and the Narrative that got away

SIMON MANN, The Age, Sydney Australia

The White House lost control of the story, and now Obama is painted as the bad guy.

These days, if you hadn’t already noticed, everyone and everything is ascribed a ”narrative”, something that is to be owned and shaped, that tells a particular story in a particular fashion.

Narratives aren’t necessarily truthful accounts, but they are often powerful and persuasive. They can also be hijacked. If you neglect to write your own narrative, somebody else will write it for you. Which is why US President Barack Obama is no longer travelling to Australia and Indonesia this month. Essentially, his administration lost control of the narrative of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Others have been its lead authors, constructing a story that reads like this: the White House allowed BP too much licence in running the operation to fix the crippled Deepwater Horizon well, too readily trusting the oil giant’s version of events; it left the US Coast Guard alone to marshal the federal response; and it was slow to pick up on the exasperated cries of Gulf communities readying for environmental and economic catastrophe. The authors dared even to suggest that the spill looms as Obama’s “Katrina”.

The President’s response to contentious issues has often been characterised as more cerebral than heartfelt. This is the guy, after all, who makes Cool Hand Luke look jumpy and uptight. And the media has long invited him to “get angry” and “get even”.

It’s not that the administration hasn’t put the hours into combating America’s worst-ever environmental mishap.

Read and See More including ‘Kick ass’ Obama slams critics video where US President Barack Obama rebuts claims that he has been slow to react to the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

Trend: Disillusionment, Anger & Outrage on the Rise


Trend:  Disillusionment, Anger & Outrage

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on the Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

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‘Deficit of Trust’ and ‘Numbing weight of our political process’ appear to be keepers

Obama State of the Union at 8th Grade Level; Deft use of Passive Constructions

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Austin, TX February 1, 2010.  According to an exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor, the disillusionment, anger, and outrage acknowledged by President Obama in his State of the Union address has been on the rise since Obama’s election in November 2008.

“Much has been written about what the President in his State of the Union message called the ‘numbing weight of our political process’ and the ‘deficit of trust’ it thus engenders,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst.  “The disillusionment, anger and outrage should not be a surprise, especially to students of political language, who have been analyzing what is being said in the political realm over the last 18 months.  (That this comes as a revelation to our political elites, however, should serve, once again, as a sobering lesson or, even, cautionary tale.)”

Though little noticed by the media, GLM found that in early February, just weeks after the Obama inauguration, the ‘words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown were drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008’.

The representative fear-related words chosen:  Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate and/or Desperation.  In its analysis of the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election, GLM found that those words were used with 18-23% more frequency than 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.  (Even the word fear, itself, was at some 85% of the level it was used in the aftermath of both the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the onset of the Iraq War.)

In a separate but related study released in late March, Global Language Monitor found that the word ‘outrage’ had been used more in the global media that month than anytime this century, with the previous benchmark being the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  In particular, the word was used in association with the AIG bonuses, which had recently been distributed.

GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events:  the 9/11 terrorist attacks in, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

The ranking of ‘outrage’ usage in the media:

1. AIG Bonuses, 2009

2. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001

3. Hurricane Katrina, 2005,

4. Iraq War, 2005

State of the Union Linguistic Analysis

In an evaluation of the State of the Union message, GLM found that the President used the passive voice to deflect responsibility (a time-honored SOTU tradition), and according to the White House transcript there was an overabundance of semi-colons (two dozen plus), some used correctly others in a baffling manner.  And then there was the grammatical lapse in disagreement in number:  “Each of these institutions are (sic) full of honorable men and women ….”    For the record, the President’s address came in at the 8.6 grade level, use of the passive was about 5%, the Grade Level was 8.6 (a bit higher than his Grant Park speech), and reading ease at 62 on a scale of 100 (not as easy to read as to hear).

For more details, send email to editor@globallanguagemonitor.com or call 1.925.367.7557.



Political buzzwords track Obama Presidency

Top political buzzwords track trajectory of Obama Presidency

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‘Bailout’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Birther’, ‘Health Care Reform’ and ‘Liberal’ top analysis

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‘Obamamania’ and ‘Politics of change’ tumble as does ‘Bush’ (as a bogeyman)

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Austin, Texas September 7, 2009 – ‘Bailout’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Birther’, ‘Health Care Reform’ and ‘Liberal’ were named the top political buzzwords since the Obama Inaugural by The Global Language Monitor. Rounding out the top ten were ‘recession’ (up some 1000% when linked to Obama), ‘Sarah Palin,’ the phrase ‘change you can believe in’ (down some 600% since the Inauguration), ‘AIG bonuses,’ and ‘Sotomayor,’ the new Supreme Court justice. Perhaps, even more striking is the manner in which signature buzzwords such as ‘Politics of change’ (No. 37) and ‘Obamanania’ (No. 38) have tumbled. Another finding: the tactic of painting ‘Bush’ (No. 23) and, even, Cheney (No.28) as bogeymen is rapidly losing it effectiveness.

For the study, GLM used it 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 and social media as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity. The final list contains 40 words and phrases (see below).

“The top political buzzwords used since the Obama Inaugural show the sharp trajectory of his presidency,’ said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “Our analysis differs from polls in that it is not what people say they think about various topics, but rather is a measurement of what words are actually being used and in which context.”

The Top Political Buzzwords since the Inaugural listes with rank and commentary follow.

Top Political Buzzwords September 1, 2009 Comment

Rank

1. Wall Street Bailout: Still resonates at very high score, no shrinkage

2. Climate Change Remains: One of the Top 3 — for several years

3. Birther: Whatever it means, the issue looms large

4. Health Care Reform: Health Care Reform comes in at a strong No. 4

5. Liberal: This is not always a positive statement

6. Recession (linked to Obama): Obama’s link to recession up 1000% since inauguration

7. Sarah Palin: Fierce opposition to her, apparently adds to her allure

8. Change you can believe in: Down almost 60% from January peak

9. AIG (Post-bailout Bonuses): Bonuses after the Bailout still loom large in public mind

10. Sotomayor: Wise Latina gets more news than Iraq War

11. Iraq War: Fading from the public mind as Afghanistan advances

12. Socialism (linked with Obama): Painting Obama as a Socialist apparently working

13. Outrage (Linked with Obama & AIG: Outrage at AIG now linked to Obama administration

14. Public Option in HealthCare: Public Option still center of debate

15. Stimulus Package: Stimulus package still object of controversy

16. MObama (the Fashion Icon): Michelle Obama image as global fashion icon rising rapidly

17. Beer Summit with Gates & Cambridge Police: Beer Summit resonates with all things ‘racial’

18. Middle-class taxes: Concern is up about 170% since Inaugural

19. Current crisis as Depression: Citations down some 50% since January

20. Transparency: Idea of Transparency shrinking from view (down 30%)

21. Obama as a compromiser: Continues to gain traction

22. Rush Limbaugh: Rush bests the former president by only 5%

23. George Bush: Warning to Dems: Bush as Bogey man fading from view

24. Single Payer: Healthcare solution view as government intervention; Up over 800% since Obama took office

25. Death Panel: Up some 1500%, ranking only slightly ahead of Al Qaeda

26. Al qaeda: Still lurking in the public mind

27. Town Hall Meetings: Not to be easily dismissed

28. Dick Cheney: Former No. 2, now No. 28

29. Shovel Ready: Where are all the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs?

30. Global Financial Restructuring: This may take years to run its course

31. Iran election: On the periphery of American consciousness

32. Wise Latina: Short-term news bite, no lasting value

33. Financial meltdown: Down 85% since January as he the new reality sets in

34. Worst Recession: Not depression, but something different than a recession

35. Afghanistan: Troop build-up mostly a Beltway discussion

36. Wee weeing: According to Obama, Washington in late summer

37. Politics of change: Biz as usual sends this plummeting 60% from Inaugural

38. Obamamania: Yesterday’s news; down over 80% from Inaugural

39. Politics of fear: Within 1/2 of 1% of Obamamania

40. Nuclear Iran Drifting in and out of public consciousness

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

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 and social media, as well as accessing proprietary databases. 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 momentum) and publish our results.



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

Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality

 

An Historical Inflection Point:

.

The US Presidential Election and the Fianancial Tsunami

 

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



 

‘Outrage’ in global media

‘Outrage’ in global media higher than anytime this century

Previous benchmark was in aftermath of 9/11 attacks

.

Austin, TX March 24, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has found that the word ‘outrage’ has been used more in the global media this week than anytime this century. The previous benchmark was in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The analysis of the global printed and electronic media was concluded earlier today. 

“There is a feeling that the outrage is unprecedented, and the numbers certainly demonstrate the fact.  The amount of anger and outrage as reflected in the media is, indeed, unprecedented,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

In particular, the word has been quoted in association with the uproar over the AIG bonuses, as having been used by President Obama, his senior staff, members of congress, commentators, and ordinary citizens at large.  The GLM analysis included global print and electronic media since the turn of the 21st century. 

GLM examined word usage in the seven days following significant events including, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the start of the Iraq War in 2003, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in September 2005.  The analysis included global print and electronic media. 

The ranking of ‘outrage’ usage in the media: 

1. AIX Bonuses, 2009

2. the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001

3. Hurricane Katrina, 2005,

4. Iraq War, 2005

Earlier GLM had reported that words of despair and fear 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, with examples abound, including  catastrophe,  depression, as in full-blown or impending disaster, collapse, and crisis, among many others.



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



‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms  

 

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’

 

Austin, TX January 7, 2009  – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

 

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

 

 “The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself.  This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).  The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

 

1.     Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:  One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).

2.     Mission Accomplished:  Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).

3.     “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown. Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).

4.     “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency.  Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).   

5.     “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).

6.     Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.  In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect.  Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).

7.     “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).

8.     “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)

9.     “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).

10.  “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)

11.   It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.”  The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).

12.  “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).

13.  “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.

14.  “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).

15.  “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.  Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict..

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary.  These include:

 

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)   
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)                                      
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K. (Martin Van Buren)                            
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)                 

 

 

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.




 

Bushisms


 

 

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms  

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’

 

Austin, TX January 9, 2009  – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

 

 “The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself.  This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).  The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

 

1.     Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:  One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).

2.     Mission Accomplished:  Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).

3.     “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown. Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).

4.     “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency.  Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).   

5.     “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).

6.     Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.  In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect.  Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).

7.     “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).

8.     “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)

9.     “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).

10.  “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)

11.   It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.”  The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).

12.  “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).

13.  “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.

14.  “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).

15.  “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.  Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict..

Others under consideration:  Stratergy and “Make the Pie Higher”.

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary.  These include:

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)   
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)                                      
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K. (Martin Van Buren)                            
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)                 

 

 

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.

Top Bushisms of 2006:

‘I’m the decider’ and ‘I use The Google’ Top Annual List

Flashback: ‘Brownie, you’re Doing a Heck of a Job’ Was Tops for ’05

San Diego, California (January 22, 2007) The Top Bushisms for 2006 were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor. Topping the ’06 List were “I’m the decider“ referring to his rejection of the request from seven former generals for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to step down and “I use The Google,” in reference to the popular search engine. The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).

“With fewer that twenty-four months remaining in the Bush presidency, word watchers worldwide are in a mad scramble to find a substitute for the near weekly faux pas presented by the president,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.

The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Bushisms of 2006 with Commentary Follow.

1. “I’m the Decider.” “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.” Some six months later, Rumsfeld was cited as one of the major reasons for the “thumpin’” (Bush’s word) the Republicans received in the Mid-term elections. April 18th.

2. “I use The Google,” in reference to the popular search engine. October 24th. Interview with Maria Bartiromo of CNBC.

3. “It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.” June 29th.

4. “I’ve got an ek-a-lec-tic reading list.” August 29th Interview with Brian Williams.

5. “The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done.” November 24th (Greely, Colorado)

6. “Stay the course.” On numerous occasions.

7. “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma.” September 24th. Interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN.

8. “The Congress was right to renew the Terrorist Act.” In reference to the Patriot Act. September 7th. (Washington, DC)

9. “I want to be a war president; no president wants to be a war president.” October 26th. (Des Moines)

10. “The fiscal year that ended on February the 30th.” The government fiscal year ends on September 30th; there actually was a February 30 (and 29th) before the Emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar added the days to their namesake months: July and August. October 11th (Washington, DC)

The Top Bushisms of 2005 Topping the ’05 List were: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to since-disgraced FEMA director Michael Brown; “In my line of work you’ve got … to kind of catapult the propaganda” explaining his Communications strategy; and “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As War Evolves so Does Language

By Andrew Ratner, The Baltimore Sun

‘Mission accomplished’ has now become synonymous with miscalculations

Baltimore, May, 2006 — When Synthia Laura Molina tried to drum up clients for her health-management consulting firm, the reaction often was not what she anticipated. Did you consider changing the name of your business, customers would ask. Eventually, Molina and her associates felt they had no choice but to do so. Its former name: Mission Accomplished.

“When you told people the name, their initial reaction was ‘Oh, really.’ It was clear that the company name had been eroded, the company brand had been eroded,” said Molina, whose venture is known now as Central IQ. “My sense was it was so damaged, it may take a generation to lose that association.”Maybe a political group would want to buy it?,” she wondered. “Mission accomplished,” a military phrase, long ago became part of common jargon to describe a job well done. But the term took a turn for the worse after May 1, 2003.That was the day President Bush declared an end to major fighting in Iraq. He did so in front of a red, white and blue banner that proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln off the Southern California coast.The power and authority of the phrase, at least in civilian usage, has since toppled like a dictator’s statue in Baghdad.

On a long list of unintended consequences and significant costs of the Iraq war, the erosion of “mission accomplished” from a widely used term of affirmation to one of miscalculation isn’t terribly significant. But it illustrates that vocabulary is shifting and organic and that overly declarative statements are probably best avoided, especially by presidents. “Rhetoric invites you to be assertive, and sometimes it’s our undoing,” said Martin Medhurst, a communications professor at Baylor University who previously directed the study of presidential rhetoric at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. “It’s like Nixon’s proclamation, ‘I’m not a crook,’ ultimately becomes the tagline for being a crook.” The term “mission accomplished” evolved in military use during World War II, usually in the context of a successful flight operation such as a strafing run or photo reconnaissance – technically a “mission,” according to A. Marjorie Taylor’s The Language of World War II in 1944. Eventually, its use became so common – and benign – it could be found on everything from plumbing tips to recipes. But during the past three years, the term has all but vanished from non-political use, particularly in the U.S. media. A search of the electronic library LexisNexis showed that the phrase is now mostly confined to references on sports pages and occasionally in news stories unrelated to war and politics in publications outside the United States. “The top references are jokes, blogs and insults. Ninety percent are negative or humorous,” said Paul Payack, who runs the Global Language Monitor in San Diego. “It’s a tagline that evokes not a smart thing to do, stepping into a trap, exactly what not to do at an apparent moment of triumph. Like ‘wardrobe malfunction,’ it just has become part of the public consciousness.”

Payack analyzes changes in the use of the words and phrases on the Internet – often, he said, for corporate clients and investors looking to track trends in the marketplace. With the use of algorithms, he has concluded, among other things, that the English language had 988,968 words as of last week and that “OK” is the most frequently spoken word on Earth.

But for all the unusual stuff that he comes across, he said he marveled at what has happened to “mission accomplished” in three years of its ricocheting around cyberspace. In 2003, the year the Iraq war began, the term “mission accomplished” appeared 375,000 times on the Internet. In 2004, it appeared 500,000 times. By 2005, it was more than 1 million. Are missions being accomplished twice as fast as before? Hardly. Payack said the phrase has assumed a new life in political reporting and elsewhere as shorthand for “grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.” A humor blog last fall read, “Bush declares ‘mission accomplished’ in New Orleans.” The “mission accomplished” event has contributed to the president’s plunge in popularity. In 2003, Bush’s name was linked to the phrase on the Internet 30,000 times, Payack said. That rose to 50,000 in 2004, 75,000 in 2005 and 60,000 times in the first three months alone of 2006. The president’s father, George H.W. Bush, was himself ridiculed after overplaying his hand as president with “Read my lips: No new taxes,” but that was before the rise of the commercial Internet, which sustains and amplifies the missteps, said Nancy Snow, a communications professor at California State University, Fullerton. “‘Mission accomplished’ is so uniquely American, the sense of being overconfident,” Snow said. “I can see why they took advantage of that day, but as I watched that play out, I just had a sinking feeling.” Among the most frequent variations of “mission accomplished” that turned up in an electronic library search were words spoken in 2003 by then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer shortly before the president’s declaration: • “I’m not going to be able to shed any more light on when the president will say the mission is accomplished.” – April 13, 2003. • “At the appropriate time, when the president is ready, the president will have more thoughts to share with the nation about the mission, what was accomplished in the mission.” – April 27, 2003. Fleischer, who left the White House job in July 2003 and now runs his own corporate communications consulting firm in Westchester County, N.Y., said in a telephone interview that Bush’s use of the phrase that spring was unavoidable after the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by Iraqis and U.S. Marines in central Baghdad’s Firdos Square. “Between April 6th, when the statue fell, and May 1, I was pummeled with questions by reporters, including ‘Is he trying to stretch this out for political reasons?’” Fleischer said. “One hour after the statue came down, the press was asking, ‘Why hasn’t Bush declared the war over yet?’” Fleischer, who was with the president on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, maintained that the sign was hung by someone on the ship, not by the White House. The Navy disputed that it had posted the banner in various press accounts. Bush also never actually said the words “mission accomplished” May 1 on the aircraft carrier. He actually said the opposite. “Our mission continues,” he told the crew. “Al-Qaida is wounded, not destroyed.” Afterwards, however, the president could hardly have said, “Read my lips: I didn’t say ‘mission accomplished.’” The stagecraft of the event – including the president’s arrival in a green flight jumpsuit in the co-pilot’s seat of a Navy S-3B Viking as it made a dramatic “tailhook” landing – was purposeful, audacious and meant to send the message that the “Mission Accomplished” sign succinctly conveyed. Too succinctly, it turned out, for both the president and the status of the phrase itself. “On May 1, 2003, it was a powerful and accurate metaphor that played to the president’s benefit, and as events grew worse, it was a powerful metaphor that played to the detriment of the president,” Fleischer said. “In retrospect, the sign was too declarative, while the president’s words were accurately subtle. It all got undone because of all the post-war problems we’ve had.” andrew.ratner@baltsun.com Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun

Top Bushisms for 2005


“Heckova job, Brownie”

San Diego,California (December 30, 2005) The Top Bushisms for 2005 were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor. The rankings were based on the Global Language Monitor’s PQ (Predictive-quantities) Index. Topping the ’05 List were “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to since-disgraced FEMA director Michael Brown; “In my line of work you’ve got … to kind of catapult the propaganda” explaining his Communications strategy; and “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting. “The Global Media are continually fascinated by the Bushisms phenomenon,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor. “In fact, President George W. Bush has provided the literary- and linguistic-minded a plethora of interesting turns of phrase over the last five years. Of course, his supporters use his frank, shoot from the hip manner of speaking as proof of Bush as a decisive man of action. This contrasts sharply, so they believe, with the precisely turned phrases of the loyal opposition that might be pleasing to the ear but lead to little or no action, compromise on the world stage or, even, worse.” The PQ (Predictive-quantities) Index is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. The Top Bushisms for 2005 follow: 1. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” To FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Mobile, Alabama, Sept 2, 2005 2. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy. Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 3. “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” A note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a U.N. Security Council meeting. September 14, 2005 4. “This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.” Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005 5. “In terms of timetables, as quickly as possible – whatever that means.” On his timeframe for Social Security Legislation. Washington D.C., March 16, 2005 Bonus: “Those who enter the country illegally violate the law.” On Illegal Immigrants or Undocumented Workers Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005

A Note on Bushisms

Other presidents have shared the same perception of linguistic ineptitude, including Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Harry S. Truman. Though Jackson was considered the ultimate back-county rube, he oversaw the fall of the aristocracy and the rise of the common man; Lincoln, thought to be a Bible-spouting baboon, is now considered one of the greatest leaders the world has ever produced; and Truman, the uneducated haberdasher, laid the basic political foundation of the Post-Modern world, which is only now yielding to, well, the post Post-Modern world (whatever that may be). This is not to say that linguistic ineptness invariably leads to greatness. History shows us that we’ve had our fill of verbally challenged chief executives who were also severely overtaxed by the burdens of office and have now fallen most ungraciously into the various dustbins of failed expectations. And then there was Warren G. Harding. He is said to have scandalously coined the term ‘hospitalization’ in the 1920s. A quick Google search shows that the word now appears on the web more than 8 million times. Well done, Warren! Not a bad legacy for a third-rate president. Like the ‘Yogi-isms’ of Baseball Hall of Famer Lawrence P. “Yogi” Berra, some of Bush’s most famous Bushisms can be found in literature many years before he supposedly coined them. ‘Resignate’ dates to the 18th century, and ‘Grecian’ as a reference to things Greek was the preferred way to describe those inhabiting the Greek Isles from the 18th century onward. Even ‘Misunderestimate’ can be found in 1960′s literature.



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.

.


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!

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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!



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