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Karl Cassel

PSCI 135 : Dr. Black

Essay Assignment


The current election season has yielded a host of unexpected outcomes, creating

an atmosphere that most would deem unusual. With this unusual season in mind, there

comes the question regarding the medias interpretations and portrayal of the various

outcomes. Looking particularly at Hillary Clintons concession speech, the varying sides

and angles of support by two popular news outlets will be examined. This examination

will compare and contrast the ways and techniques in which the information

surrounding this speech is portrayed and in return, how this portrayal impacts the

American population.

Beginning with a comparison between the primary source, being the speech

transcript, and the two secondary sources, being the CNN and the Wall Street Journal

news reports, there are some important factors to point out. First, these secondary

sources take the raw information in the form of a speech transcript and bring out the

narrative within. But how do these secondary portray a narrative sense? They look at the

campaign in the form of a journey such as Mrs. Clinton appeared poised to bring her

decades-long career in public service to a likely conclusion (Collinson, 2016). Further,

this includes setting the scene and giving the surroundings for the speech such as Her

supporters even gathered beneath an actual glass ceiling, at Javits Center in New York

as well as much of the seating at Clinton's remarks was for staff and aides (Nelson,

2016). Also, the narrative is told by relaying the mood, emotions, and peoples reactions

such as Quiet moments in the speech were filled with tears, sniffles and some sobs
(Collinson, 2016). These themes portrayed in the secondary sources allow for the

audience to more fully understand the situation surrounding this political event, without

have to decipher raw material such as a speech transcript.

Looking from a different perspective, Senator Clintons speech as a primary

source offers its own advantages. Often within narratives in the news, there are hidden

agendas in which messages are portrayed with a certain bias. Primary sources, such as

the speech transcript, offer a non-biased representation of Senator Clintons address to

her supporters. This allows the audience to interpret what is being communicated via

their own cultural lens, using their own experiences and knowledge to further

understand the messages being communicated. This first hand evidence provided by the

speech transcript allows for a bias-free starting ground for people to base their opinions

on what Senator Clinton has communicated, without being told what to read or how to

think about her address.

Moving on, it is important to analyze the secondary sources on a deeper scale as

they represent the majority of news information received by the American people. To

star, the most logical coverage of an important speech, such as Senator Clintons on

Wednesday, is to pull out impactful and significant quotes and ideas. The attention then

moves to the political agenda that can be displayed by news companies which comes

into play in the particular quotes and ideas being highlighted. In many ways, both the

CNN and the Wall Street Journal articles delivered information from a similar outlook,

taking into consideration the happenings of the speech and the surrounding situation.

However, differences do exist and by looking at CNNs coverage of this speech, it can be

seen that the article provides a more liberal, democratic take on the address as the tone

of the article empathizes with Senator Clinton and her supporters. Throughout the news
article, phrases such as filled with tears, sniffles and some sobs, wiping away tears,

and her voice breaking with emotion were found as an expression of the devastation

this loss was for the democratic party and its supporters (Collinson, 2016). This agenda

appeals to supporters of Senator Clinton as they are experiencing unrest over the

outcome of the election.

This differs from the coverage found in the Wall Street Journal, which provided

more moderate coverage, displaying highlights from Clintons speech as well as

providing more information regarding president-elect Donald Trump. In this article,

references to Trump were more commonly found, including statements such as Mr.

Trump pulled off one of the biggest upsets in political history on Tuesday, portraying

Trump in a fairly neutral, almost positive light. Similarly, Senator Clinton is also

portrayed in a less idolized way, being described as suffering a shocking defeat at the

hands of an opponent with no political experience (Nelson, 2016). Differences in syntax

and agenda setting themes show the power that news companies have in delivering

messages to the public. Similarly, the particular quotes highlighted within the articles

carry weight as to the message attempting to be communicated.

Similarly, the specific content of the quotes provided in each of the articles

differed in their tone and communication. CNN chose to include quotes highlighting

Senator Clintons deep care and concern for her supporters including her personal

thanks to Anastasia Somoza, a few of her pollsters, members of her campaign crew, and

many others. The article even chose to include outside Tweets from the social media

site, Twitter, from individuals from Donald Trumps campaign highlighting the very

classy speech from @HillaryClinton (Collinson, 2016). The CNN article overall

displaying quite high praise for Senator Clinton regarless of the election outcome. On
the other hand, the Wall Street Journal shared similar sentiment in regards to the

positive talk about Senator Clinton, but also included more discussion of the future

involving president-elect Donald Trump, remarking their battle is over and that the

nation now should look to the future (Nelson, 2016).

With this being said, it is crucial to understand how this idea of political bias and

agenda applies to those that are most deeply affected by this form of media: the

American people. As it was seen in the Trump campaign, the silent majority was deeply

impacted by the agenda Donald Trump set through his passion to give those without a

voice a chance and speak out against groups that are disliked or feared. Similarly, in the

Clinton campaign, there was an agenda set in opposition to the Trump campaign in

which Hillary Clinton was portrayed as an accepting, caring figure who sought to bring

hope to a different set of minorities and groups. Through all of the political happenings,

there are many news agencies covering the stories. As it is inherent in our human

nature, people will always speak with some degree of bias or opinion because we every

human comes from a different background with different experiences.

The key for the American people is learning how to discern and decipher the

messages communicated by the media. Each individual has a lens that they view the

world by which is unique to themselves. It is when one is challenged in their view that

conflict and tension arise. To be able to communicate and discuss areas of overlap or

collision of views is where progress and future orientation begin. In the case of the

current political situation, I have found great enjoyment in using the skills from this

class to be able to differentiate and examine the various viewpoints and schools of

thought between parties and political orientation. Not only have my eyes been opened to

alternative schools of thought, but my own beliefs and convictions have been altered and
then strengthened due to the knowledge gained from this study. My hope is to be able to

use this knowledge and skills to help inform people of the ways to interpret news media

and use this media to spark healthy, productive dialogue and discussion.

Works Cited:

Collinson, Stephen, Dan Merica, and Jeff Zeleny. "Clinton Delivers Painful Concession

Speech." CNN. Cable News Network, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.

"Hillary Clinton's Concession Speech (full Text)." CNN. Cable News Network, 9 Nov.

2016. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.

Nelson, Colleen McCain. "Hillary Clinton Concedes: 'This Is Painful, And It Will Be For

a Long Time'" WSJ., 09 Nov. 2016. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.