Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


5 October 2016

Negotiating political credibility: Media talk in times of popular scepticism & News interviews with David Cameron and Nigel Farage in the 2014 EUP election campaign

Presented By Mats Ekstrom, University of Gothenburg and DARG
  • 1-2 pm (part of the CRCC Seminar Series)
  • Brockington U1.22

About this event

The trust/distrust of the political elite is a key issue in contemporary political discourse. The centrality of political trust in democracy is obviously not a new phenomenon. However, two general trends seem to shape not least the recent election campaigns across Europe. First, the foregrounding of personality, performative style and credibility in mediated politics. Second, the more fundamental problems of political legitimacy and the discourses of popular skepticism most clearly manifested in the rise and success of populist parties.

In this talk, I relate to previous discourse- and conversation analytical research on media talk (e.g. Clayman and Heritage, 2002; Tolson, 2006; Montgomery, 2007; Ekström and Patrona, 2011) and discuss how political credibility and popular distrust is invoked, articulated and negotiated in genres of media talk such as political interviews, vox pops, and journalist commentaries. I take the advantage of a corpus of broadcast data from the EU parliament election campaign in 2014, collected in a cross-national study (covering UK, Sweden, Greece, France and Italy). This talk will mainly focus on the UK, with some comparative examples and references to other countries.

Based on concrete examples, I will show how different aspects of credibility are articulated and negotiated; such as knowledgeability, reliability (e.g. doing what you promise to do), and popular understanding (proximity/gap). The role of journalism is analyzed in relation to practices of interviewing, the recontextualizations of the voices of ordinary people, and how journalism in the particular style of reporting relates to a populist appeal to the people.

The analyses are contextualized in relation to a more general question of how the media discourse contributes to alternative understandings of the election campaigns; (1) the elections as routine events inviting people to evaluate and take a stand on policy alternatives, and (2) the election as an event of disruption and popular skepticism.

This event is part of the CRCC Seminar Series