Monday, February 8, 2016

McCain Utilizes Ethos and Camera Techniques

In John McCain's 2010 advertisement on illegal immigration titled, "Complete the Danged Fence," McCain argues that he will unite all levels of law enforcement (troops, local, state, and federal) in order to stop illegal immigration into Arizona. McCain also states that he wishes to build a fence around the southern border of the United States to also fight illegal immigration. In his advertisement, McCain appeals to ethos by employing the use of a police officer in order to legitimize the belief that his political views are what are best for America. McCain also utilizes bright lighting and close up camera shots in order to give the advertisement a personal feel and to make his audience feel secure in his ideas.

As McCain is walking along the border of Arizona and Mexico, he is alongside a police officer. The officer comments on McCain's plan, saying that it is "perfect" and towards the end of the advertisement, the officer says to McCain, "you're one of us." Law enforcement is often viewed as reliable authority: people you can trust and count on to have your best interest and safety in mind. By associating himself with the authorities, McCain enhances his credibility as a man individual's can trust and count on. Also, by having the officer say that McCain's plan is the right plan, McCain's ideas appear to be on the side of the nation and seem to have the best interest of the people. McCain utilizes law enforcement in order to enhance his position as a man who can be counted on and a man who wants to keep America safe.

McCain utilizes various film techniques throughout his ad in order to make himself authoritative and dependable. Throughout the advertisement, the shot is often close up to McCain's face. This close up shot makes the advertisement seems more personal. It almost puts the audience into the advertisement and makes them feel as if they are walking alongside McCain and the officer. By making the audience feel apart of the advertisement, McCain creates the illusion that he is directly addressing the fears and needs of advertisement audience members. As well as using camera angles, McCain also utilizes bright lighting to add a positive and secure note to the advertisement. As McCain is talking about his plan regarding illegal immigration, the bright lighting makes McCain's plan appear secure and with good intentions. The bright lighting also makes audiences feel optimistic and makes McCain appear reliable. 

In his advertisement, "Complete the Danged Fence," McCain utilizes an appeal to ethos and camera techniques in order to make himself appear empathetic, trustworthy, and optimistic. McCain encourages his advertisement viewers to support his plan to unite law enforcement and to build a fence between the United States and Mexico in order to fight illegal immigration in Arizona. 


  1. I really like how you began with an introduction outlining what tour analysis was going to cover, and ended with a conclusion summarizing your entire argument. You covered a lot of the rhetorical appeals concisely and effectively. Nice job!

  2. You mentioned that McCain used a police officer because he is a reliable authority and I couldn't help but think about how politicians wouldn't be as effective using a police figure today. Because of the injustice of many police killings, politicians wouldn't want to recreate this ad or ally themselves with a force that is seen as corrupt and unjust.

  3. Its really interesting how you showed that how powerful the use of camera techniques such as lighting and angles can be in shooting a political ad in addition to the words that the candidate speaks.