Fall 2018 (Vol. 34, No. 1)

Transcending Media Framing of Candidate Religiosity: The Religio-Rhetorical Discourse of John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama

by Scott Anderson, Ph.D. and Jonathan M. Smith

Arkansas State University
University of Memphis

Abstract: This essay explores the ways in which presidential candidates respond when the news media frame their religious beliefs as subversive to American democratic values. Using John F. Kennedy’s “Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association” and Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech as case studies for analysis, we argue that Kennedy and Obama employed what Kenneth Burke referred to as familial and dialectical substance to overcome their respective controversies. While Kennedy reaffirmed his national allegiance by associating religious freedom with American values, Obama created dialectical tension to frame the controversy surrounding his candidacy from an alternative perspective, which simultaneously provided Americans an opportunity to interrogate the importance of religious pluralism. Kennedy and Obama’s speeches provide a valuable framework for examining the rhetorical strategies that presidential candidates may use to transcend the “religious issue.”

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Mobile Communication and Food Trucks in an Urban Environment: A Case Study

by Jennifer T. Edwards and Sarah K. Maben

Tarleton State University

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to discover the interactions between mobile food truck operators and their external/internal audiences via Twitter. Researchers examined the tweets (n=483) that emerged from patrons and owners of seven food trucks within a metropolitan food park within a one- month period. A content analysis of Twitter feeds for multiple trucks provided a glimpse into one social media channel and that communication among mobile food truck operators and their external groups (loyal customers and potential customers). Results indicate tweets fell into three categories of basic Twitter-based communication, truck presence, and marketing and public relations. Tweets created social presence by linking the digital food truck to the physical truck. Messages were one-way in nature, and geared more toward marketing and less toward engaging customers and creating a community.

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