The rhetorical presidency encompasses all the ways a president communicates and acts. These rhetorical elements of the job are not prescribed in the Constitution and as a result it is the presidents themselves who help shape the cultural understanding of presidentiality, of what it means to be president. When President Barack Obama participated in a "Slow Jam the News" comedy sketch on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012, he took the rhetorical presidency to a place it had never been before. This choice established a new genre of presidential rhetoric that President Obama would rely on throughout his time in the White House—communicating directly to target audiences via the YouTube bully pulpit. The aim of this thesis is twofold: first, provide historical context for presidents utilizing comedy and new forms of mass media for political ends; and second, rhetorically analyze select comedic YouTube videos to reveal how President Obama reshaped the rhetorical presidency to create new opportunities to succeed both culturally and politically.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wittwer, Preston Haycock, "How President Barack Obama Reshaped the Rhetorical Presidency by Slow Jamming the News" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 7223.
Rhetorical Presidency, Presidential Rhetoric, Rhetorical Analysis, Barack Obama, YouTube