By Raleigh Keagan, LABB Member Action Associate
While one image may be worth a thousand words, what about an image made of words? LABB Monitoring and Evaluation Associate, Risha Bera, has employed one of the newest analysis tools for identifying frequency of topics: Wordles. This new tool allows for a quick breakdown of transcripts, articles, or other written materials, into a visual representation of how often particular words were said. Though there are limitations for this method, such as context, it does provide a very interesting summary.
Given the important impending decision our country is facing, we thought we would compare some of the transcripts for each candidate from the 3 presidential debates. Considering the focus of our work here at LABB, we selected entire paragraphs for analysis that contained any of the following words: energy, environment, oil, or coal.
While the images may speak for themselves, we couldn’t help but notice a thing or two we believe worth mentioning. ‘Environment’ came up only once, and in the context of energy production; and ‘safety’ and ‘accident’ were not mentioned at all. Energy, however, was the star of the show.
The purpose of this analysis is not to politicize the issues we work with, but rather to look at how politics and politicians are addressing them; or rather, not addressing them. Neither candidate showed any real focus on environmental justice or public health, particularly in relation to their energy policies. Clean air is a right of every American (and being worldwide), regardless of political affiliation. We believe the issues associated with industrial pollution are real and wide-spread, and deserve to be on the foreground of the political discussion.
Considering the vast array of opinions and positions on hot-button issues we possess in this country, we wanted to provide an analysis on an issue we believe as fundamental to our health, environment and prosperity, and ask what you think. How do you think these two candidates differ? What was left out of both wordles that you find important? Do you think clean air deserves a place in our energy conversation?
We hope citizens are asking themselves these questions over the next week, as we prepare to make a decision that will direct our future for the next four years.