Title

Democracy through the lens of the camcorder: Argumentation and vernacular spectacle on YouTube in the 2008 election

Document Type

Article

Document Subtype

Editorial/Essay/Column

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Publication Source

Argumentation & Advocacy

Volume

47

Inclusive pages

106-122

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

YouTube was commonly used to display evidence of negative campaigning in the 2008 election.This essay tracks the use of YouTube against supporters of John McCain, focusing on howargumentation is constructed through the video blogging site. Thirty-two videos were examinedthrough a rhetorical analysis of argument focusing on the argumentation strategies, constructionof ethos, and intertextual referencing. Ultimately, I argue that the videos construct a form ofspectacle, dialectically reliant upon mainstream media frames and market-based logics of viewership.The concept of vernacular spectacle is offered as a rhetorical and argumentative constructionof the polarized other that is produced by and affects participatory political culture.

Keywords

digital media, YouTube, 2008 election, vernacular spectacle, presidential campaigning

Disciplines

Communication

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