Vanessa Beasley, associate professor of communications studies at Vanderbilt University, is available to provide expert analysis of the State of the Union address. Beasley is an expert in political rhetoric who has extensively studied the relationship between mass media and the presidency. She says that after all the back-and-forth between the president and Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the location and timing of the address: “The speech is completely symbolic at this point—the football, not the championship ring."

She can speak to the following questions:

  • What does the speech say about who has the power to make things happen—or not happen—in Washington?
  • Who gets to define key terms such as safety and security? Who do we need to keep safe? What do we need to keep them safe from?
  • How does he speak about the shutdown?
  • How does he frame his position on the border wall and national security?
  • How does he speak about Nancy Pelosi? What will it mean to have her sitting right behind him as he gives his speech?
  • The House of Representatives has a number of very outspoken Democratic freshmen among its ranks now. How will he handle a potentially hostile audience?
  • If debate reignites of the timing or location of the speech, she can also answer: Who's in control of the stage? What does it mean for Trump to deliver his speech in the House, vs. another location?

To be connected to Dr. Beasley, please call 615-322-NEWS and select Option 1. Vanderbilt has a 24/7 TV and radio studio. The studio is free for Vanderbilt experts, other than reserving fiber time. More information »