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October 22, 2008

Analysis of John McCain's web site

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

My name is Katie Gera and I’m writing this post as part of a class titled “The Web 2.0: The Rhetoric of Online Activism.” The subject of this blog post will be the way Republican presidential candidate John McCain attempts to establish his credibility on his official website.

The strategies that struck me the most were the “Joe the Plumber” advertisements and the photographs taken with military wives and families on the campaign trail. Using these visuals, McCain seems to be attempting to create two distinct images of himself: the “average Joe,” or ordinary citizen to whom Americans relate on the one hand, and the Navy war hero whom they can admire on the other. Throughout the website, there are numerous references to McCain’s career in the military, many of which focus on his time spent as a POW. These reinforcements of the candidate as a heroic and respectable military man create a sharp contrast against the McCain/Palin campaign’s most recent surge of “Joe Six-Pack” and “Joe the Plumber” themed advertisements. While I understand the need to represent a presidential candidate as a multifaceted individual, I think the newly adopted tactic of “average Joe” commercials indicates that the McCain campaign has become increasingly aware of their failure to perform well in the polls and is now trying desperately to frame John McCain in a new and positive light. In my view, seesawing with his image in this manner has actually decreased both the candidate’s and the campaign’s credibility.

Sarah Palin

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

McCain made a choice to choose a woman as his vice president, who may become one of the first female vice president in USA history. There are many reasons behind Mccain’s choice of Palin. McCains opposition had an interesting choice of candidates including an African American and a woman and in order to stand out he was in need of someone who could fill this gap in his campaign and Palin seemed to be the right choice. She would be bringing a relatively 'youthful' and energetic aspect to his office as she is 44 and he is over 70, this incorporation would add refreshment to the office. He is also trying to get the votes of American women who had voted for Hillary. By chossing Palin he wants to prove that he believes in women and their equal capabilities like men. He is not just targeting women through this emancipated view. He is also targeting men by including a female factor. She seems elegant, represent able and could be considered the perfect example of a women pursuing her career and maintaining a successful private life. His choice is believed to be based on many more factors that he believes will be of interest to the American population. Palin being a young, conservative, ordinary woman of five children with a huge success in her career seemed to be a right choice as it created a statement about the American culture. Her many economic and political accomplishments and being the governor of Alaska make her qualified for taking on such a position. But still the question remains... is Sarah Palin the right choice? There is a lot of controversy behind her. Part of the American population still does not totally accept the idea of choosing a female leader. With all this in mind, McCain took a decision to have her as his vice president without realize the controversy that could come from bind her. One example is her 16 year old daughter who is pregnant now, before being married; in this case an abortion wouldn’t be an option as it’s against republican views…could this cause a problem for the campaign. So the question is did McCain really make a good decision when he chose Sarah Palin to be his vice president?

Mcain's defense strategy

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Different strategies are used by the different candidates in order to attract their audiences. John Mccane uses a strategy that could seem some what unethical to the Arab world and that is; “attacking the competition instead of focusing on ones own strengths.” In the front page of his website, Mccaine states that Obama’s past should be of concern to many American’s as it is unclear. He also tries to make it clear that Obama is actually running against the current president and not Mccaine himself, and that is by repeating Obama’s statement “ I’m not Goerge Bush.”

This defense mechanism by Mccain only shows weakness and that he’s afraid that what he is fighting for is not appealing to people enough. Accordingly, he finds whatever way to steal voters from obama, by trying to show that he is a bad person instead of showing what a good person Mccain really is.In his website Mccain invites people to share any embarassing video they have about Obama.

He is also attacking Obama’s plan for taxes and for obamas general economic plan. This is pretty much expected since the candidates are in a race for better future plans. But what is not acceptable is finding away to attract obama personally instead of professionally which is what Americans are looking for.

To sum up McCains actions shows only weakness and the unavailability of good ideas to support the American Public which will in the end grant him his votes.

Rana Abdel Rehim
Meena fawzy
Mohamed selim

the issue of poverty in America

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Obama’s website addresses the issue of poverty in America while McCain does not. Each candidate chooses to include or omit this issue since each is targeting a different audience. McCain’s campaign targets older, well-off people, namely upper-class citizens, while Obama targets “the common man,” specifically the lower-and-middle class. McCain does not wish to appeal to Obama’s target group and thus does not address the growing issue of poverty in America. Obama’s campaign dedicates a large part of his website to this issue, which effectively reaches his target audience.
Obama starts his speech by describing a famous encounter between Bobby Kennedy and an impoverished child of the Mississippi delta. This introduction touches the audience on a personal level as well as appealing to patriotic emotions. He states a known quotation by Bobby Kennedy, “How can a country like this allow it?” These words insinuate the audacity of poverty in a country as rich and affluent as the United States. Obama does not fail to repeat these words throughout his speech which emphasizes their emotional effect. Obama mentions facts such as the increase of poverty two fold since 1980 and follows them by repeating, “How can a country like this allow it?” mounting the outrage towards the government who has not taken poverty into account. He attacks McCain’s ideologies indirectly throughout the speech by offering quotes that were said by Dr. King, “Hope is not found in any single ideology – an insistence on doing the same thing with the same result year after year.” These words reinforce appeal to the American patriotism of the middle-class.
As students in a third world country it is interesting to us to consider poverty as a serious issue in the richest country of the world.

By: Silke Martin , Kanzy Kandil, Ihab Awwad

Candidates's Slogans

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Soliman Mohsen
Lance Ataalla
Bourhan Rateb

On November 4, the American citizens will face a life changing decision. They will be confronted with a choice that will involve not only the American nation but the entire planet. Therefore, us Arabs are anxious and concerned to whom the power will be granted.
Looking at McCain's website what captivated our attention was his slogan: "Country first". It seems to us that he is willing to protect his country by any means necessary as commander and chief of his nation, even if it takes drastic measures. No matter what his claims are about how much we wants peace, we cannot ignore the fact that he is a supporter of Bushes policies concerning the war in Iraq. Bearing in mind that he was a soldier who refused to leave the battlefield even after an injury that could have taken his life. A man who volunteered to stay an fight instead of going back home could at any time engage an irrational decision and provoke a war at any time.
On the other hand Obama's campaign appealed ton the middle eastern crowd, looking at his slogan:" In change we believe"; for the past eight years middle eastern were faced to a "bush regime". We are ready to face a new era, a time of change and hopefully he will give hope to all.


Barack Obama

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

We are handling Barack Obama’s website in general, with regards to color, choice of words, and even layout. The choice of colors and words on his website demonstrate openness to a new life and hope for a new and refined united states. The color blue calms the reader, and since it is part of the American flag, helps give citizens a sense of belonging, and his public-friendly language helps him be close to the public. Obama’s slogan emphasizes his faith in the American public, and his belief in positive change that could be brought about by anyone. Due to his hopeful vision for the future and his concern for both the major and the minor problems of the public, people have a tendency to look up to him and to feel connected with him. We believe his site is very organized, as he has tabs for every concern for the American public or with regards to his campaign, and this brings us to another point. In his “People” tab, he mentions each and every category in the US population – from ethnicities to professions to gender – which gives those people the sense of being important and an integral part of the community. Not only is he concerned about Americans inside the country, but also cares about the welfare of Americans abroad. However, when it comes to religious groups, he does not directly mention Muslims or other minorities, while mentioning Jewish Americans (which we believe is because of their influence on the economy) separately. In fact, he does not even mention the Middle East as a whole. From our Middle Eastern point of view, this makes us feel that we are not part of the discourse even though the United States is majorly involved in the Middle East.


Yomna Osman
Nahla Shalaby
Yomna Arbad

McCain homepage's video

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

On the home page of John McCain's website, there is couple of videos that argues that John McCain is ready to lead the nation and shows his experience in public affairs. That's why the American audience should vote for him, because he always puts his "Country First."

One of the videos starts with McCain informing his plan very clearly to the American audience. He states that his plan is to "Rebuild your savings, grow your investments, and energy independence". He is focusing mainly on developing the American economy and having an independent energy economy after all the crisis it went through the last 8 years of Bush administration especially that there was a huge amount of money spent on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which lately ended with the Wall Street Crisis. He is giving the audience faith that he will save their economy if they vote for him. He is promising to lower the taxes and create a renewable energy economy, which will create more job opportunities to the Americans.

McCain argues that Washington is spending billions everyday to the Middle East because they want to spread out the wealth. He does not sound to like the idea of spreading the wealth; instead he wants to use it to reform his own economy. He is also making it sound as if Washington is doing the Middle East a favor when in reality the main reason for the presence of the US in the Middle East is securing their oil interests in the region.

By: Abdallah Elsayed and Rana El-Tazy

90 percent ad

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

The American elections are an important issue for the whole world, because its results have a great impact on the world’s politics and economy. As we were watching obama and McCain’s website we were interested by a video called 90 percent; the video basically sends a message to the people that if the Americans elect McCain they will be changing George bush by another president who might be a different person but believes in the ideology of his successor. The video starts by saying that McCain voted with the president 90 percent of the time, tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthy, nothing for the middle class, spend $10billlion a month in Iraq( while the American economy suffers), and the video is concluded by john McCain admitting that he voted with the president 90 percent of the time. We believe that this was a clever move from obama because he is telling the American people that if they elect McCain they will be refusing the change that obama is offering for both the United States and the world. The world is not eager to have another George bush; we are all waiting for change. Obama on the other hand represent change and progress and he promises to reform America and turn it into a better one; he also wants people to believe in him and in themselves. Obama is an African American who will bring change to Washington and will be a great president who can make America a better place.

tarek abdel hamid, omar el garawany, ziad badr

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PluoMotgl2w

Website layout

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

We’re posting to evaluate each candidates websites.

Obama’s website directly directs you to his homepage while McCain’s website first starts with a video that gives us the reasons why we should elect him as voters and how he would improve the economy. Proceeding with another video of his experience and injury in the military, he is trying to prove to us that he is a patriotic and faithful man who can lead the country. He also emphasizes why the united states needs such a man like him having courage and especially faith which is well stressed on.
There is a clickable button that then leads to the homepage similar to Obama’s homepage. Similar tabs that are available are issues, blogs, media, news, etc. The other major similarity that we’d like to stress upon is the color both candidates chose as their background which is blue. When we looked up the blue color psychology we got some interesting results. Blue gives the viewers a sense of calmness, serenity, cleanliness and peacefulness. Moreover, blue is the favorite color of most people according to polls. The American flag also consists mostly of blue because it symbolizes vigilance, perseverance and justice. Assumingly both want to show that they are patriotic and loyal to the American people.
When comparing the ads we found out that McCain has more negative ads than Obama. In McCain’s homepage we found an ad that attacked Obama’s background. Usually when people feel that they’re week they start attacking. This is actually the case because Obama is winning in the polls so far.
We covered and analyzed at least the important aspects of the page layout.

Ahmed Mostafa, Christianne Chackal and Sandra Ahmed

Why should Obama be considered about women that much?

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Why should Obama be considered about women that much? That question has been raised in our minds several times. Finally, throughout the information we obtained while surfing Obama’s website “http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/womenissues”; we discovered that he is trying to attract those who were strongly supporting Hilary Clinton; so maybe this is why women’s issues figure a lot on his website.
Actually, Obama is addressing the issues that women experience in America, healthcare issues is one of the problems. American women don’t have the same health care insurances like men, so Obama guarantee them with having the same health care men get, with electronic medical records, and reporting systems to assure that his patients get perfect treatments with low costs. Moreover, he will increase the ovarian cancer awareness for women, because so many are infected with it and have no clue how to diagnose it. Because the HIV virus killed so many women, Obama introduced Microbicide development Act, to protect them from its transitions. In addition to the healthcare issue, Obama will prevent any domestic violent act against women and restricted some laws for that because 1,400 women in the United States die every day as a result of harassments, rapes, and stalks.
Last but not least, Obama closed the wage gap between men and women in US because women will be taught math, science as men; hence, men and women will be equally paid for their equal work. Furthermore, Obama will give women seven days paid off checks, if they did not come to their work for their children sicknesses. Not just that, but Obama will encourage women to open their own businesses which they were denied to open many years ago.

The analysis of Obama's presidential logo

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

The colors are taken from the American flag, but with more lightening effects which could reflect the meaning of better and brighter future as it is shown. Also, colors are going smoothly together, especially in the curves and the "O" shape. Obviously, the shape of “O” is very clear standing for Obama. The blue shape which is in the top of the logo, gives the feeling of the sunrise over a field as an example. The idea of the sun is deeply supported by the lights over the logo and the brighter degrees of the blue and red colors. The blue upper edge also could give the shape of a rainbow. Also, the circle shape easily gives the development process effect “the circle of change”.
What is really great in the shapes of the logo is the flexibility of its design. Every time you open any link from category people you will find a modified logo goes with the category. This indicates that Obama really trying to reach the whole American society with all sectors, professions and categories. As well, the red shapes which represent the American flag, is used perfectly in the names of every state.
It is clear that the logo is so connected to the democrats’ logo. Not only the colors but the also the curvy shapes. As historically known, the democratic party of the US is liberal, so they seek changing old traditions and work towards more liberality. Obama’s logo is more symbolic and artistic comparing with mcCain’s logo. Also, Obama’s logo seems to be more peaceful, but mcCains’ gets the feel of military view especially with the star inside his name.

If you want to check Obama's distinctive logos and the whole ideas visit this links:
http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/archives/004262.html

Islam elbialy, Menattalah elbatran , Rana el shamy

October 21, 2008

The "Maverick"

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

I am writing this blog post as part of my PWR 2 class, The Rhetoric of Online Activism. I will be commenting on John McCain website. (JohnMcCain.com)

John McCain knows he most likely will not be able to sway any Democrats in this election, but might be able to persuade some independents to vote for him. His site seems to engage the already loyal Republican voter while being a collage of his life and adding forays into Obama’s inexperience.

Upon entering the webpage, there are videos of John McCain taking to the audience about how horrible the last four years have been trying his hardest to separate himself from Bush but not the Republican Party. He then goes to show the events of the Vietnam War and how he was not in the “hippie” movement, but in a prison camp in Vietnam for years serving his country. He uses his experiences in Vietnam to show how he puts “Country First” and himself second.

When directed to the main page we see tabs for his issues and then “Photos of the Week” showing McCain and Sarah Palin in images that make them look powerful and distinguished. He then tries to appeal to the “Joe the Plumber” person with the phrase, “Don’t Tax Me for Working Hard”. On the “Issues” page, the site uses images of different things including a fighter jet a picture of a “traditional” American family outside a house. These photos appeal to many people as being “American” and promoting the “American Dream”. McCain displays himself as “Maverick” willing to put the country first and how he crosses party lines to help America, for example the immigration reform bill alongside Democrat Ted Kennedy.

JohnMcCain.com seems to try and appeal to the values of the Republican Party while debunking Obama from everything from his Senate voting record to his inexperience. McCain poses himself as the seasoned and experienced “Maverick” while making Barack Obama seem too inexperienced to be President, and stating how he does not stand up for the American People. I think his site does a great job engaging people who are already going to vote for him but could have done a better job influencing the undecided voter.


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Grassroots Army

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

We are commenting on the Obama campaign website (www.barackobama.com) for our PWR 2 class, The Rhetoric of Online Activism.

Obama’s history as a community organizer has been the target of frequent mockery from the McCain campaign, with VP candidate Sarah Palin joking that “being a small town mayor is like being a community organizer, except you have actual responsibilities.” Despite the overwhelming cheers from the Republican Convention crowd, Obama has used his experience as a grassroots organizer to further the interests of to his campaign. Using his website as his primary tool, he has established a strong base of local volunteers eager to canvass, fundraise, and hold community events to support his campaign.

As soon as visitors access his website, they are immediately confronted by a barage of images imploring them to take direct action in support of the Obama campaign. The opening page of the website asks visitors to “Join the Movement” by supplying their email address and zip code, allowing the Obama campaign to contact them (often multiple times a day), informing supporters on the daily news of the campaign, offering ways to get involved,and, of course, asking for money.

If visitors choose to skip the signup and go directly to the main page, they are immediately greeted by links and graphics telling them how they can get involved in the campaign. Perhaps the most interesting of these is a tab titled “Neighbor to Neighbor, which if clicked on links to a page where visitors are told how they can make an impact for Obama by volunteering in battleground states.
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The site says,“Talking directly to voters is the most important way you can help win this election for Barack Obama.” Importantly, the emphasis is on what “you,” a campaign outsider, can do to influence the election. It stresses the importance of everyday Americans in effecting change and empowers ordinary citizens to take some ownership of the campaign. This is where Obama’s background as a community organizer clearly manifests itself in a positive way for the campaign. The strength of the Obama campaign’s volunteer network shows that his years spent as a grassroots organizer was time well-spent.

Mark Garret
Susanna Sheehan

From John to Joe: McCain's Appeal to Middle-Class America

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Hello, we are three students enrolled in an oral communication class considering the role of the Internet in political activism. Our names are Samantha McGirr, Ayis Megiris, and Thomas Fu. Thomas is a registered Democrat, Samantha is an independent voter, and Ayis is independent but cannot vote due to his international status. We recently performed a rhetorical analysis of the McCain-Palin website.

With its straightforward, commonsense rhetoric and layout, the McCain site is designed to appeal to an audience of white, male, undecided voters. Upon entering the site, viewers are greeted by a videotaped McCain arguing that “The last eight years haven’t worked very well, have they?” an observation probably intended to distance himself from President Bush and thus align himself more closely with moderate views. To the right of the video are several buttons labeled with action verbs such as “Learn More” and “Recruit.” Such participatory words give viewers a sense of empowerment, making them feel more invested in the campaign.

Continue reading "From John to Joe: McCain's Appeal to Middle-Class America" »

These Colors Don't Run: The Use of Color on Obama's Campaign Website

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

We are analyzing the use of color on the Obama campaign websites for our writing and rhetoric course, which focuses on the rhetoric of online activism.

The first-time visitor to Barack Obama’s campaign website is immediately confronted with an abundance of blue. The color varies from a deep, royal blue to the light sky-blue of Obama’s campaign logo. What does this color mean? What argument is Obama making?

On the one hand, the use of bright blue as a highlighting color might be an attempt to literally “shed light” on Obama and his campaign; the vibrant yet dignified hue fits perfectly with Obama’s message of hope and change and his calm, collected, and confident public image. Blue is also a reassuring, calming color, perhaps used to enhance his appeal to undecided voters worried about his relative lack of experience. But in comparison with John McCain’s website, which utilizes a solid, monochromatic dark blue, Obama’s site may appear too cheery or superfluous- while McCain is dependable, stolid, and experienced, Obama is a pop-culture celebrity who cares more about exciting imagery than political content.

Both candidates, however, undeniably use blue as a reference to the American flag, and avoid red, with its associations with socialism, communism, blood, and anger (one of us is a Chinese citizen, and is accustomed to websites decorated in shades of red, an indicator of a completely different political system). When red is used, it is almost universally in a negative sense. In a short slide show on Obama’s website attacking McCain’s tax plan, the words “Bush” and “McCain”- obviously negative for a Democratic candidate- are a vibrant red, which conjures up images of “red ink” (a common term for debt), blood, suffering, and (above all) the Republican party, whose supporters are commonly referred to as “red-staters.” Although red and blue are equal on the American flag, they are clearly not equal in the complex political psychology of color that has become ever more important as the internet has come to dominate political discourse.

-Shuolong Yang, Kaitlin Halady, Kevin Baumgartner-

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Obama's Tax Cut Calculator: The Art of Omission

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

So here’s our blog post analyzing Barack Obama's campaign website for our Rhetoric of Online Activism class, written by a group of three students with three different political viewpoints: Libertarian Estevan Flores, moderate Andrew Marantan and liberal (but fiscally conservative) Danny Zuckerman. Despite this variation, because we are all fiscally conservative, we were interested in analyzing how Obama presented his fiscal policy; we found Obama’s “Tax Cut Calculator” feature of his website is designed to serve a political purpose by presenting results differently depending on which candidate the cuts favor.

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Continue reading "Obama's Tax Cut Calculator: The Art of Omission" »

Analysis of McCain's Website

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Hi, this is Ian, David, and Lexi and we're working on this blog as part of our web-activism class at Stanford University. We're all Obama supporters and this may factor into the way we critically analyze the McCain website.

It seems clear that the website's intended audience is primarily the standard conservative voter. On the front page, for example, there are several links leading the reader to donate and volunteer for the McCain-Palin campaign. Most of the advertisements on the website either attack or make fun of Obama and Biden. McCain also focuses on appealing to typical Republican positions of small government in his warnings that Obama will "spread the wealth around," insinuating that Obama is a "socialist" or backs ideals of a large and uncontrolled government. McCain argues that Obama will raise taxes on the hard working "Joe the Plumbers" of the world - his new go-to icon and talking point.

Continue reading "Analysis of McCain's Website" »

Self-Deception: John McCain... the Man, the Myth, the... Novel?

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

The following blog post is a rhetorical analysis of the campaign website for John McCain from the viewpoints of three Stanford students who each identify himself as more Democratic in political persuasion.

Specifically, the focus of this analysis pertains to the apparent generation of a mythical narrative about ‘John McCain’. On the website this campaign tactic manifests itself literally on every page. The photos, the videos, and the written content itself, all seem to have arisen from a romanticized auto-biography. Far more of the content on every page addresses and explicates the history of McCain’s “service” both in the army and the Senate.
On the ‘About McCain’ page one can find the following


Continue reading "Self-Deception: John McCain... the Man, the Myth, the... Novel?" »

McCain: Preaching to the Choir?

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

We are writing this post in our writing and rhetoric class that looks at the intersection of the Internet and politics. Our group members are Max Del Real, Kelsey Walker and Claire Kouba. While Max is a registered Republican and Claire and Kelsey are registered Democrats, we are all Obama supporters. In this post we are analyzing the McCain/Palin campaign website.

Upon arriving at the site, the first thing we noticed was the option to pick a viewing preference depending on your political standing: “Supporter,” “Undecided,” or “Unregistered.” With this function, the site appears to be catering to multiple points of view – but there is a conspicuous lack of an option for a voter who is opposed to McCain. This reveals the target audience for the site: current supporters and potential votes. It is not meant to change anyone’s opinion; rather it is preaching to the choir (and to those considering joining the “team”).

This “target audience” is confirmed by the fact that all of the anti-Obama arguments are supported by little (if any) substantial evidence. Instead, these arguments are condensed into clever-sounding claims that sound good to those who are already McCain supporters. An example of this would be the “Decision Center,” where the site makes such assertions as “Obama says he would meet unconditionally with the world’s worst dictators, from Ahmadinejad to Castro to Kim Jong Il.” The lack of specific details leaves the reader of such a statement either blindly accepting the flaws of Obama’s foreign policy, or uncertain as to how the website came to this conclusion and why it is such a bad thing.

This sort of appeal to McCain’s base gets his intended audience riled up emotionally and more passionate about his campaign. Using this positive emotional appeal is thus highly effective with those who already agree with him, but does little to encourage actual debate about the candidates and their policies.

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Obama: Yes We Can

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Hey fellow commrades! This is Karen Nesbitt, Emily Clopp, Christina O’Neal from the States. We are writing from our PWR 2: The Rhetoric of Online Activism… to you! Our main argument focuses around the rhetorical aspects of the official Barak Obama website, www.barakobama.com. In making assesments, biases are fairly common, so we want to awknowledge that we take a more liberal/Democratic stance on issues and are sophomores at Stanford University. We found the general loyout of the website to be straightforward and uniform, but in with a unique asthetic style. The aspects that we found most effective on his site were the initial image of his family shown when entering the site, the cleanliness and flow of the information, and the directs links to aid in being a proactive supporter.

Continue reading "Obama: Yes We Can" »

To Include or Not to Include: Issues pages on Senator Obama's website

This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.

Our class on Online Activism was looking at the websites of Senator Obama and Senator McCain to study what rhetorical strategies they use online. Our group (Olivia, Ricardo and Amanda) decided to examine how the inclusion, or exclusion, of various campaign issues on Sen. Obama’s website shows ways that the Issues section of his website is directed at undecided voters.

Continue reading "To Include or Not to Include: Issues pages on Senator Obama's website" »

October 09, 2008

Upcoming Posts for Online Activism Class

I'm Melissa Leavitt, the instructor for the "Rhetoric of Online Activism" class at Stanford. The focus of our class has been to explore the impact of new media and participatory media on politics and culture. In the coming weeks, the "Online Activism" class at Stanford and a class on argument from the American University of Cairo will be posting entries discussing and analyzing the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden web sites. Our goal is to analyze the rhetorical strategies and political arguments of these sites, and also to explore how cultural context impacts the effectiveness of these arguments. After the election, we'll return to these posts, and comment on them in light of the election results. We welcome comments on these posts to keep our conversation going!