PRception

May 19, 2008

Who Proofread McCain’s Web Site?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 3:37 pm

The race for the 2008 presidency is heating up and more and more people are starting to take sides. But for those of us who are still undecided, there is an endless amount of information available to help us make up our minds. When researching a presidential candidate, his or her official Web site would be an obvious place to start looking. These sites can be highly influential, and in many cases can give undecided voters a first impression of a candidate. I would expect the John McCain camp to be fully aware of this, which is why I was so surprised by the amount of grammatical errors on http://www.johnmccain.com.

There were a lot of well developed features on the site — including an interactive McCain “timeline” that tracks John McCain’s political and personal accomplishments over the years — but for the most part these positive features were overshadowed by glaring grammatical errors. Some of these errors were so obvious that I’m beginning to question whether or not the writing on the site was proofread at all.

For example, when discussing McCain’s proposed legislation to reduce carbon emissions, the text reads “… offering a powerful incentive to drive the deployment of new and better energy sources and ‘technologiesuilding’ into the economy …” First off, if I’d copied the entire sentence you’d recognize that it is in dire need of some commas, and should probably be broken up. But the spastic collection of letters “technologiesuilding” (it doesn’t even deserved to be called a word) makes the sentence completely unreadable. (To see the error go to McCain’s timeline and search near 2004.)

Another example of an egregious grammatical error can be found in the transcript of his most recent speech to the National Restaurant Association in Chicago, Illinois. When criticizing modern day politics, the transcript reads, “It’s the kind of politics that exploits problems instead of s olving them…” There is a space between the s and o in the word “solving.” (Click here to read the speech.)

I found many other grammatical errors on McCain’s Web site, and I only browsed a minor fraction of its content. This grammatical disaster that is John McCain’s Web site assuredly works against his efforts to win the presidency of the United States. He will most likely lose a degree of credibility with voters who place an emphasis on intellectualism. These errors may also lead potential voters to call his attention to detail into question.

Less obviously, these grammatical errors may liken John McCain to George W. Bush’s perceived lack of literal competency in the minds of voters. They could even contribute to a stereotype that all Republican’s are as inarticulate as Bush. Considering the toxic effect Bush can have on a candidate’s popularity, and the damage he’s already done to the reputation of the Republican party, he should be avoided by McCain at all costs.

In light of this, I need to know who proofread John McCain’s Web site. It certainly wasn’t a student from the UO’s J-School. Errors like these earn you an automatic “F” on papers submitted to Professor Duncan McDonald. Or they can qualify you for a one-on-one meeting with Professor Tiffany Derville. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but shouldn’t the content of a presidential nominee’s Web site be held to at least the same, if not higher, grammatical standards as journalism classes at the University of Oregon? Or is that too much to ask?

I’m not trying to come off as an elitist in this piece, nor am I am trying to market myself as the grammar-god of the UO. But these were not isolated and understandable grammatical errors — they were undecipherable groupings of letters such as “technologiesuilding,” or unnecessary spaces in the middle of two-syllable words. This post isn’t intended to discredit John McCain, but to highlight a problem with a crucial element to his campaign that I feel needs to be immediately addressed.

P.S. Yes, I know this post probably has tons of grammatical errors too, but I’m not running for president…. yet.

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1 Comment »

  1. Wow, James. The mistakes on Sen. McCain’s site are surprising. Obvious mistakes like these suggest a lack of credibility, thoroughness, and attention to detail. Let’s hope the McCain campaign makes you an offer!

    Comment by tiffanyderville — May 20, 2008 @ 6:30 pm


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