Avoidance in contemporary Australian political interviews
Political interviews in the theatre of television, a form of turn-taking dialogue, is not simply an exchange of information in the form of utterances, but a theatrical process, where impressions are formed through not only what is said, but what is not said and how things are said. The paper focuses on three instances where politicians in the contemporary Australian media landscape attempt to change the conversation trajectory, violating norms of turn-taking dialogue, which result in the theatrical elements taking precedence over the interview content. The examples focus on three distinct attempts to avoid answering a simple yet damaging political question, where in the absence of a meaningful dialogue, both the journalists and the politicians resort to projecting their respective messages through interview theatrics as opposed to content. The study argues that both journalist and politicians are aware of the audience, the ultimate arbitrators of the voracity of the information presented in the interview.