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Question design and the construction of populist stances in political news interviews

Abstract : This paper focuses on the relationship between journalism and right wing populist discourses in the context of broadcast news interviews. We analyse a specific feature of question design in which the public is invoked as a source of opinionated positions in adversarial interviewing. Analysing data from a range of socio-political contexts, we identify a shift in adversarial questioning along a scale of ‘soft’ populism, that is the attribution of views and concerns to a generic public ‘in crisis’, to ‘hard’ populism, where interviewers construct hypothetical scenarios in which populist positions are attributed to ‘some people’. We argue that the democratic role of journalists as public watchdogs, holding politicians and public figures accountable on behalf of the public, is challenged by this normalisation of populist moral order discourses in a routine journalistic practice, both drawing on and contributing to the propagation of populist agendas and anti-democratic populist rhetoric.
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Submitted on : Friday, December 10, 2021 - 10:46:06 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 3:39:32 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03474334, version 1



Joanna Thornborrow, Marianna Patrona, Mats Ekström. Question design and the construction of populist stances in political news interviews. Discourse and Communication, 2021, 15 (6). ⟨hal-03474334⟩



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