Locate an article that covered the 2016 presidential election. Look for evidence in the article for priming, framing, and slant. In your assignment, make sure to include the name of the article and its author and to address the following:

Is the article made by a public or private entity?
Who is the author trying to reach (audience)?
Are they playing more to one specific ideology and if so, what ideology is it?
Looking at the article as a whole, and based on what you have found in your analysis, do you believe that this article is a credible source? Why?

Quick answer:

In analyzing an article covering the 2016 presidential election, a helpful strategy is to employ the SOAPS device to understand the author's rhetoric. Researching the author's background and prior work may also help in breaking down their rhetorical approach.

Expert Answers

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One way to approach this assignment is to first note that many mainstream articles covering the 2016 election will have some form of priming, framing and/or slant. Politics, and especially electoral politics, are prime opportunities for those involved in the campaign as well as journalists to convey their approval of one candidate’s ideology over another’s. Your first step should be to decide on one outlet from which to look for an article—otherwise, the information may become extremely overwhelming. Select one news outlet (e.g., ABC, FOX, CNN) or academic search engine, and begin your search there. Ensure that you find an article that leans particularly toward one candidate. Political bias from the author or publisher should not be blatant, but a degree of bias will give you much more to analyze in regards to who the author is trying to reach and the ideologies that he or she is playing towards.

Next, consider the rhetorical situation when reading. It may be helpful to print your article so that you may mark the text. A helpful strategy when reading could be to use SOAPS. SOAPS stands for Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose and Speaker. This could serve as a checklist to answer all of your questions simultaneously. In most cases, the occasion would be the presidential election of 2016, and the purpose would be to persuade the reader to vote for a particular candidate. Considering the speaker of the article will greatly assist you in determining the credibility of your source as a whole. You may find it helpful to conduct some research on the author to support your findings: Have they written articles in the past about this candidate? Are they posting on public forums voicing support/disdain? It could also help to see if they have written any political editorials or opinion pieces. After using the SOAPS method and possibly doing some research on the author, you will have a basic outline of the purpose of this speaker’s argument, which will lead to a successful analysis of their rhetoric.

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