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Debate: Media Literacy Analysis Worksheet


HANDOUT #2 – Media Literacy Analysis Worksheet      Created by Karen Zill & Frank Baker
Teachers: Print this out and distribute to your students. It is not designed to be a scorecard of who won or who lost but is meant to assist students in their analysis of both the rhetoric as well as the images during the debates.  Individual students, or groups of students can be assigned one of the rows or candidates. Students should use the blank spaces under each candidate’s name to denote what they’ve seen or heard.

Things to Pay Attention To: Candidate #1
Candidate #2

What is the location? What do you know about it? Are logos for the sponsors prominently displayed? Look for examples of how colors, camera positions, view framing (e.g., close-ups, side view, other angles favor or hurt the candidate)
Rhetoric: Argument/Evidence
What specific argument(s) and evidence does the candidate use to bolster his/her case on a specific topic?
Rhetoric: Techniques of Persuasion

 Examples of candidates’ use of glittering generalities, name-calling, emotional appeals, avoidance, etc. Did these examples help or hurt the candidate?
Rhetoric: Content
What new ideas/proposals did
the candidate propose, if any?
Rhetoric: Favorite Phrases

 Examples of candidates’ use of slogans and buzz words. Were they used effectively or not?
Rhetoric: Rehearsed Responses

 Examples of candidates’ use of prepared phrases or retorts that seem spontaneous. Were they used effectively or not?
TV Cutaways/Reaction Shots

 Examples of non-verbal expressions, gesturing, audience reactions seen during debate. What did you notice? Did these images help or hurt the candidates?
Post-Debate Analysis

 Examples of horse-race words/phrases used by commentators, pundits, others. Did they favor a candidate? Examples of challenges to factual accuracy of candidates’ claims. Were candidates’ statements supported by facts?


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