Impression Management in Greek Pre-Election Interviews

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Argyro KANTARA, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
Clayman and Heritage (2002), Heritage and Clayman (2010), claim that there has been an adversarial turn in political interviews, with journalists asking more adversarial questions, or initiating micro-arguments (Montgomery 2011). Tolson (2012) in his longitudinal examination of UK pre-election interviews (1983-2000), has noted that journalists do not comply with the expected journalistic norm of neutralism. Within the Greek context, Patrona (2011) in her examination of journalists’ questions has identified a similar trend, claiming that: “by breaching the conversational standards of neutralism, Greek news journalists essentially claim and assert the legitimacy of this new – ‘deregulated’ – type of television news journalism” (ibid:174).

Politicians, as Clayman and Heritage (2002) and Bull (2003) - among others - have shown, tend not to answer but evade and/or resist answering adversarial questions. In this paper I examine politicians’ answers to adversarial questions within the Greek context and more specifically in televised interviews during the 2012 Greek elections campaigns. Investigation of the form and function of politicians’ answers, in relation to the development of the talk-in-interaction and the form of (televised) news interviews in general, has revealed that Greek politicians instead of ‘simply’ evading and/or resist answering adversarial questions, ‘strike back’ using techniques journalists themselves use to challenge politicians. This results in the ‘deregulation’ of the news interview in two ways: firstly in the transformation of the typical Q-A news interviews sequence, with a third move being added where the journalists account for their adversarial move before moving on with his/her agenda. Secondly the metadiscursive nature of the challenges and counter challenges exchanged, shifts the focus from the content of the interview to its performative aspect. In other words there is a shift from of the political manifestos to the rules of the interview game and who of the two interactants is the fairest player.