Saturday, October 04, 2008

CNN Reports: Palin Speaks at a Higher Grade Level Than Biden

This is a lighthearted way to start of a Saturday morning, but I just couldn't resist. Jonah Goldberg at the Corner links to this CNN article on an analysis of the language used by Palin and Biden in the vice-presidential debate.
Grade level: Biden, 7.8; Palin, 9.5
I thought Palin was a back-water, red-neck breeder that just popped out kids in between moose huntin' and bible thumpin'?

The article itself is amusing. It makes sure you know that there is no bias in the article, no matter what you read. For example:
The analysis noted that the "passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility; Biden used active voice when referring to [Vice President Dick] Cheney and [President] Bush; Palin countered with passive deflections."

"It obscures the doer of the action," said Language Monitor President Paul Payack, an independent with no political affiliation.
Got that? I emphasized the last part just in case you thought Payack was one of those independents with a political affiliation.

The article does have some other interesting comments. Particularly:
Thursday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates "was more collegial, thinking out loud as opposed to just hammering points," Payack said in trying to explain the difference. "It was a much calmer style."
I agree. Many pundits have offered as analysis that Palin has the ability to "look through the camera and enter your living room" and that Biden was "genuine and heartfelt". It is hard to exhibit either of these qualities when hammering home campaign talking points.

My favorite comment in the article is this parenthetical comment:
(Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.)

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