Apologia: an American apology

Using machine learning to analyze tone and facial expression, we can re-examine the art of the American political apology.

Bill Clinton. 1998

Bill Clinton apologized to the American people in 1998 for lying during a grand jury investigation about having an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinksy.

Overall sentiment:

Analytical: 81%

Joy: 59%

Sadness: 56%

Confident: 52%

Sentence sentiment:

Ronald Reagan. 1987

Ronald Reagan's 1987 apology for Iran Contra affair, where the United States was selling arms to Iran in order to secure the release of American prisoners as well as to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.

Overall sentiment:

Analytical: 73%

Joy: 57%

Sadness: 50%

Sentence sentiment:

Mark Sanford. 2009

Mark Sanford’s 2009 apology after disappearing for six days and admitting to having an extramarital affair with an Argentinian journalist.

Overall sentiment:

Sadness: 65%

Analytical: 62%

Joy: 55%

Sentence sentiment:

Anthony Weiner. 2011

Anthony Weiner apologizing with his wife, Houma Abedin by his side in 2011. Weiner was involved in several sexting scandals.

Overall sentiment:

Confident: 81%

Joy: 61%

Sadness: 60%

Sentence sentiment:


We used a python script to export each frame of each video as an individual image and then used a facial recognition model to trace the facial points of each frame to create a “computer vision” recreation of the face. We then stitched the video back together to create a new sketch of the apology. We then analyzed the sentiment through IBM Watson’s “Tone Analyzer” to show the sentiment of each sentence spoken, as well as the overall sentiment. We then overlaid this information onto each final video piece.

Original frame


Machine learning drawing using facial analysis

IBM Watson Tone Analyzer

The IBM Watson™ Tone Analyzer service uses linguistic analysis to detect emotional and language tones in written text. The sentiments are then categorized into 7 different types of tones.

This project was made by:

Lauren Malkani / sevenmilemedia.com

Aarati Akkapeddi / aarati.me

Tresson Canley / tressoncanley.com