EffectCheck® Analysis of Benjamin Netanyahu’s and President Obama’s Remarks Following the Orlando Terror Attack

June 15, 2016

By David B. Fogel, Ph.D.

On June 15, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered public remarks on the terror attack in Orlando. His remarks can be found here. Kimberly Ross, writing at RedState.com, offered that Netanyahu’s response “puts both Trump and Hillary to shame,” while Joseph Patrick McCormick at PinkNews.co.uk remarked “Israeli Prime Minister sends strong message of solidarity with Orlando.”

It’s of interest to analyze the lexical evoked emotions in Netanyahu’s address using EffectCheck® to determine any significant emotional profile as compared to remarks offered by President Obama.

Analysis

Figure 1 shows an overall emotional analysis of Netanyahu’s remarks (just 346 words in total). The figure shows clearly that levels of evoked hostility and depression are very high as compared to other political speech. This is understandable given the topic. Importantly, note that there is the very high level of evoked compassion, which facilitates empathy between the recipient and the speaker.

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Figure 1. EffectCheck analysis of Netanyahu’s remarks following the terrorist attack in Orlando. The remarks are notably very high in compassion.

Figure 2 shows the very effective use into the closing of the address that combines very high depression with very high compassion, along with the reduction of evoked hostility. This combination can be very effective at acknowledging a person’s heartfelt sorrow while bringing the recipient in harmony with the speaker.

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Figure 2. 100-word moving window EffectCheck analysis of Netanyahu’s address, showing very high levels of evoked depression and compression into the close.

For comparison, Figure 3 shows the evoked levels of emotions from President Obama’s remarks after his meeting with the National Security Council on June 14, 2016. Obama’s remarks also evoked very high levels of hostility and depression, but was below average on evoking compassion.

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Figure 3. EffectCheck analysis of President Obama’s remarks following the terrorist attack in Orlando. Obama’s evoked level of compassion was below typical levels found in political speeches.

Summary

Netanyahu’s statement lasted under 3 minutes (viewable here). In contrast, Obama’s address lasted for 25 minutes (viewable here). The brevity of Netanyahu’s remarks helps punctuate the emotional effect of his communication, much in the vein of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s use of evoked compassion stands in contrast with President Obama’s approach, which focused strongly on hostility and depression without deference to evoking compassion.