Award Date

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Department

Communication

First Committee Member

Joseph Valenzano, Chair

Second Committee Member

Thomas Burkholder

Third Committee Member

Jacob Thompson

Graduate Faculty Representative

David Pickens

Number of Pages

147

Abstract

Entering the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama had little to no foreign policy experience. On face, this would seem to make Obama an unlikely choice for President. Yet, he was able to defeat Hilary Clinton and John McCain, the two candidates with significant foreign policy experience. My thesis examines Barack Obama's speech "A World That Stands as One" as a case study for understanding how simulation operates in the context of presidential campaigns. Using Robert Entman's theory of "cascading activation," I develop a theory of "cascading simulation," arguing that image construction descends downward from the president through the media. In order to make this argument, I examine the text of the speech itself, the CNN broadcast of the event, and then newspaper recounts of the event in the New York Times and Agence France Presse. As a result, these three levels of interpretation work together to simulate foreign policy experience.

Keywords

2008 campaign; Campaign speeches; Cascading activation; Framing; International relations; Obama; Barack; Political oratory; Presidential campaign; Presidential rhetoric; Presidents — Election; Rhetoric — Political aspects; United States

Disciplines

Communication | Political Science | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology

Language

English


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