The Ethics of Speechwriting

  • Jens E. KjeldsenEmail author
  • Amos Kiewe
  • Marie Lund
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


In this chapter, we discuss ethical issues surrounding the practice of speechwriting. We outline the code of ethics for speechwriters developed in 2015. We recognize that the very act of writing speeches for others can bring a host of ethical questions and that at the heart of the issue stands the speaker whose words have supposedly been written by another. Yet, upon careful assessment, we argue, this is not the case. Instead, we offer the perspective that most individuals in leadership positions have aides and consultants for various tasks and speaking in public is one of them. We take the work of the speechwriters as an advisor who assists those entrusted with speaking to negotiating effectively a text and context and opting for maximizing a speech’s effect.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens E. Kjeldsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amos Kiewe
    • 2
  • Marie Lund
    • 3
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen
  1. 1.Department of Information Science and Media StudiesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Communication and Rhetorical StudiesSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.School of Communication and CultureAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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