Application of Functional Theory of Political Discourse in Chilean presidential debates to determine the influence of journalists in the contents
Issue Date: 
2021
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
ISSN: 
2386-7876
Citation: 
Porath, W. (William); Ortega-Gunckel, C. (Constanza); Núñez-Mussa, E. (Enrique). "Application of Functional Theory of Political Discourse in Chilean presidential debates to determine the influence of journalists in the contents". Communication & Society. 34 (4), 2021, 167 - 184
Abstract
Within the growing academic interest over electoral debates, the role of the journalists who conduct the debates in determining the tenor of the answers has not been sufficiently studied. We used Chile as an extreme case, given the predominant role that the debate moderators receive here, thanks to the “journalistic panel” format utilized in them, where they take turns to interview the candidates. As a framework to describe these contents, we used Functional Theory of Political Discourse by William Benoit. Our data show that, indeed, the candidates use different combinations of said functions, depending on the different frameworks established by the rules for each debate. Clearly, the candidates tend to defend themselves from the attacks of the journalists, rather than their rivals’; and they use other strategies when the rules allow them more freedom.

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