Spin in DNC convention speeches

Analysis of levels of spin paints a different picture from that being portrayed by the media.

As expected, Michelle Obama’s spin is low, primarily because she uses many first-person singular pronouns. The form of a speech introducing a person more or less forces this. i.e. it’s hard to generate (subconsciously, of course) a high-spin version with such a goal.

Hillary Clinton’s speech was high spin, especially for her since she is characteristically low spin. Her rate of first-person pronoun use was, for her, extremely low; and her use of action verbs was also way below her norms. This was NOT a speech from the heart!

Bill Clinton’s speech was also quite high spin. His rate of first-person pronoun use was very low, and his use of action verbs very high. I don’t have a baseline for him, but, of the four speeches, this is the one with the highest spin. It’s interesting because all of the other ‘manifesto’ speeches from this campaign have tended to have low spin — the ability to generate a high-spin manifesto speech may partly explain his success in the elections he won.

Biden’s speech is also quite low spin — he uses high rates of action verbs, but also relatively high rates of first-person singular pronouns.

So the ranking from high to low spin is: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, (big gap), Joe Biden, Michelle Obama.

I’ll include Barack Obama’s speech in the set tomorrow.


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