A Functional Analysis of the 2012 London Mayor Debate
William L. Benoit*
School of Communication Studies, Ohio University, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- William L. Benoit
School of Communication Studies
Ohio University, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received April 26, 2016; Accepted May 05, 2016; Published May 12, 2016
Citation: William L. Benoit (2016) A Functional Analysis of the 2012 London Mayor Debate. J Mass Communicat Journalism 6:296. doi:10.4172/2165-7912.1000296
Copyright: © 2016 William L. Benoit. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
In April of 2012, three candidates (Boris Johnson, Conservative; Ken Livingstone, Labour; Brian Paddick, LiberalDemocrat) participated in a debate for the office of the Mayor of London. This study applied the Functional Theory of Political Campaign Discourse to this important campaign event. In this debate, acclaims (53%) outnumbered attacks (40%) whereas defences were the least common function (7%). Attacks were only directed toward the two leading candidates and the incumbent (Johnson) was attacked much more than the leading challenger (Livingstone). The incumbent acclaimed more (64% to 46%) and attacked less (24% to 51%) than the challengers. This relationship was particularly sharp when they discussed past deeds or record in office (75% of the incumbents statements on past deeds were acclaims, 25% were attacks; the incumbents attacked much more than they acclaimed, 91% to 9%, when they discussed record in office). These candidates discussed policy (77%) more often than character (23%). These results are compared with results of other studies of political leader’s debates in the literature.