Answering without answering: Shifting as an evasive rhetorical strategy

Jonas Gabrielsen, Heidi Jønch-Clausen, Christina Pontoppidan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In the context of political press conferences, the authors explore a particular category of subtle evasions they term shifting. When shifting, the interviewee seemingly accepts to answer the journalist’s question. However, in providing the answer, the interviewee refocuses the question replacing its critical aspect with a more favorable one. Guided by classical rhetoric, the authors unfold the underlying logic of a shift. Analyzing 14 press conferences held by the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, they identify three subcategories of shifting: shift in time, shift of agent, and shift of level. Ideally, knowledge of the different shifting strategies can enable journalists to detect a shift and promptly react when interviewees shift the focus of a question.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism
Volume21
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1355-1370
ISSN1464-8849
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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