Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication


Hilligoss, Susan

Committee Member

Howard , Tharon

Committee Member

Holmevik , Jan


Most Americans remember the outcome of the presidential election on November 2nd, 2008, and the intense media coverage of the entire campaign. Just three nights before Election Day, the Barack Obama campaign purchased primetime air slots on seven major broadcast and cable stations across the country to air a 30-minute 'infomercial' entitled
American Stories: American Solutions. This thesis looks at this television program with a specific focus not on the verbal message of American Stories: American Solutions, but on how this message is framed through cinematography. The thesis first explores research in the fields of rhetoric, film, politics, and race, then using the method of compositional
interpretation, outlines what visual arguments are presented through cinematography. Using a formalist approach, Chapter 3 describes how camera movements, framing, and other technical aspects of cinematography organize the rhetorical object of the film in order to make it more persuasive. Chapter 4 emphasizes the rhetorical and ideological
aspects of this analysis in addressing how cinematography makes a visual argument in the form of a refutative enthymeme regarding Obama's race.

Included in

Communication Commons