Rhetorical Negotiation and the Presidential Press Conference

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Book Chapter

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



This chapter traces the language of presidential press conferences, keying particularly on three axes said to distinguish journalistic and presidential behavior: (1) the interrogatory-protective binary, (2) the clinical-promotional binary, and (3) the grounded-transcendent binary. While theory suggests that such differences exist, empirical studies have not yet confirmed them. The present study does so, showing that reporters and presidents use language quite different from one another and that those distinctions remain constant over time. The press conference presents unique generic opportunities (and challenges) for the president. That is also true for reporters but in much different ways. The chapter also traces how the press conference has tipped increasingly in the president's favor over time, especially when matters of foreign policy have been discussed.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Communication and Language Analysis in the Public Sphere, p. 59-80.