Surviving the 'mock interview': Challenges to political communicative competence in contemporary televised discourse

Michal Hamo*, Zohar Kampf, Limor Shifman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In recent years, media scholars have been paying growing attention to new television genres blending entertainment and politics. A key dilemma driving these studies concerns the consequences of political entertainment to the democratic process; less attention has been given to the implications of these shows from the perspective of political actors. In the present study we map the challenges politicians face as interviewees in the new televised environment, and explore the strategies they develop in addressing them. We highlight the concept of communicative competence as a productive framework for understanding politicians' performance in new typesof televised interactions. More specifically, we apply discourse analytical tools to the analysis of Israeli and British/American examples of the mock interview genre (Ali G etc.), and present a typology of four coping strategies of politicians, labeled as naive, villain, defiant and sophisticated. Each strategy is based on a unique blend between various levels of awareness (i.e., contextsensitivity and self-monitoring) and cooperation (i.e., alignment with the style and framing set by interviewers). As mediatized political talk genres become more diversified, and the balance of power between politicians and the media is open for negotiation, awareness and cooperation become crucial components of communicative competence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)247-266
Number of pages20
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Broadcast talk
  • Communicative competence
  • Entertainment
  • Image management
  • Interviews
  • Political discourse


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