20070124

White blogule to the NYT - The State of the Union in Words

Dear compassionate reader,

Last year, I would release a scoop for your eyes only : the State of the Union speech as initially written by George W. Bush. A few days later, you could measure the gap between his fundamentalist way of thinking and the official propaganda*.

This year, a new face joined the sitcom for Season VII : behind the Kommander in Thief sitted Lobby Dick Cheney, as usual and with his trademark snarl, but also Nancy Pelosi, completing a perfect Good vs Evil picture.

And the New York Times offered an exciting gimmick to fully enjoy the show : an online search engine comparing the usage of keywords during all SotU speeches since 2001**. For example, the words Iraq/Iraqi(s) were never used in 2001, twice in 2002, and respectively 21, 24, 27, 16 and 34 times the following years. There is even a graphic showing the positions of all occurences in all speeches.

If you compare "Security" with "Social Security", you can notice all 15 occurences of the former were actually associated with the latter in 2001. One year later, only 2 of 19 occurences of Security had something to do with health.

Bush bats a steady 5,000 words and 53.5 "America" per speech, plus 5.7 for "United States". "China" is not exactly at the top of his mind : he uttered it once this year, tying the humble record of years 2002, 2003 and 2006. The "World" ? Dubya didn't care for it when he took office (2 mentions), gave it some consideration after 9/11 (19-26-13-15-27 between 2002 and 2006), and put it back to the bottom drawer in front of a semi-hostile audience yesterday (10).

The word "peace" has never been so unpopular in his mouth : 3 miserable appearances in 2007 after a solid 6- 5- 10- 5- 12- 8 streak. On the other hand, "war" is back to its peak levels : 11 vs 2-13-13-12-5-2.

Don't be fooled by this overall rather balanced 46-58 "peace-war" ratio : from 2001 to 2007, the POTUS mentioned only 19 "liberty" and 20 "democracy" vs 44 (non-social) "security" and 145 "terror".

Another propaganda favorite looks almost abandoned this year : the "Freedom" agenda knocked only 3 times at our door (vs 8-14-5-8-21-17). W seems to have some trouble selling values this season, so he sticks to less vague concepts and pitches below the waist, where Joe Sixpack can catch a neither fast- nor knuckle- ball. Significantly, the part of "freedom" in the overall occurences of "free" is also at its lowest point : 27% vs an average 65%, after last year's staggering peak (94.4%!).

Anyway... what George W. Bush said is one thing, how he looked another and what he'll do yet another. The actual State of the Union remains that of the Divided States of Amerika.

* "White blogule to the State of the Union speech - complete and uncut edition" (20060126), followed by "Red blogule to Demokracy - professor Bush's vision" (20060204)
** see nytimes.com/ref/washington/20070123_STATEOFUNION.htmlx

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