Too hostile, too deferential: Processes of media answerability following political interviews

Zohar Kampf*, Efrat Daskal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Processes of media answerability are important for the professional conduct of media organizations and their analysis allows a better understanding of the negotiation among public actors over journalistic practices perceived as deviant. By intersecting public criticism over perceived deviant political interviews with Israeli ombudsmen's responses to these complaints, our aims are to (1) characterize processes of media answerability within the institution of the ombudsman and in the open public arena; (2) identify diversions between the public and the ombudsmen perspectives regarding perceived deviating practices (over-aggressive and over-deferent style of interviewing) and their causes (political bias and violations of interpersonal codes of behavior); (3) pinpoint the outcomes of media answerability processes. Our findings suggest that while a disrespectful attitude toward public figures bothers the public more than an overly deferential approach, the ombudsmen tend to reject both types of complaint. At the causal level, while citizens point to interviewers' ideological bias as the main explanation for all types of deviations, the ombudsmen tend to accept complaints regarding violations of interpersonal codes of behavior and reject claims of political bias. In conclusion, we point to the advantages and limitations of a media answerability process.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)522-540
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 517/09).


  • Accountability
  • aggressiveness
  • answerability
  • deference
  • ombudsman
  • political interview


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