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Free Content Challenging neutrality: Invoking extra parties in political TV-interviews

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The study focuses on a practice that interviewers exploit when asking questions in one-on-one political TV-interviews: they invoke extra parties. This happens when they alter the participant structure of the dyadic talk by speaking on another’s behalf, inserting a video clip that speaks for them, inviting a guest at the table to take up a position in the argument-so-far or embed a physical object with a message in their utterance. The study aims to discover patterns and actions that coincide with the various forms of invoking extra parties. It also investigates whether the exploitation of an extra party touches upon the borderline between neutrality and non-neutrality. The data collection encompasses fragments of interviews taken from the Dutch talk show Pauw & Witteman. The analysis focuses on turn-taking, repair, laughter, face-saving acts and meta-conversation.

Results show that two procedures for invoking extra parties in one-on-one political interviews – inserting a video clip and embedding an object with a message – put pressure on a central value of good journalism: its neutrality.

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Keywords: adversarial questioning; conversation analysis; interviews; neutrality; participant framework; pragmatics; question design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tilburg University

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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