Beyond Sex and Saxophones: Interviewing Practices and Political Substance on Televised Talk Shows

Frederick Bastien


The goal of this paper is to assess the contribution of infotainment and entertainment television talk shows by comparing political interviews on these TV shows with current affairs programs. Few political scientists have examined political interviews, in general, and political interviews on entertainment outlets, in particular. Moreover, these studies are often focused on the sorts of topic participants talk about in such programs. On the basis of literature developed by scholars in sociolinguistics and journalism, we expand the scope of our study to the assessment of questions asked by the interviewers and answers provided by the politicians. We perform a quantitative content analysis of political interviews to compare the behavior of these speakers on infotainment and entertainment programs with those on current affairs programs. Our results show that hosts on infotainment programs are no less rigorous than their counterparts on information programs, especially when the interview is centered on policy issues. We conclude that scholars interested in these questions should turn to studies in sociolinguistics and journalism to build a relevant analytical frame.


elections, media

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125