George Galloway was interviewed recently on the Daily Politics show (BBC) after his weekend surprise appearance on stage for the “Leave the EU” campaign. Galloway provides an interesting example of how politicians can often try and control the floor and line of questioning in interviews, a well-known equivocation technique.
The interviewer (Jo Coburn) started out by asking about his “unveiling” (at the weekend) and suggested it wasn’t “quite the triumph” he had expected. Galloway took issue with this line of questioning and suggested he had been “misled”. This led into a negotiation between the interviewer (IN) and Galloway (GG) for the floor.
IN: .. erm George Galloway (.) it seems your unveiling wasn’t quite the triumph that grass[roots out would have hoped GG: [well er not for the (.) first time you’ve misled me (.) er by asking me to come in and talk about the referendum (.) but instead wanting to talk about (.) me IN: I’m sure [we haven’t misled= GG: [if you (.) if you had IN: =well hang on hang on hang on [I’m sure we haven’t misled you GG: [no no no I won’t hang on (.) no I won’t hang on IN: we [haven’t GG: [if you had told me (.) [that I was coming in IN: [what you wouldn’t have come on GG: that I was coming in to discuss ME ..
The overlaps indicate attempts by both interlocutors to control the floor.
The negotiation continued as the interviewer pressed her question while Galloway insisted he wanted to talk about the referendum. Galloway then attacked the questioner by saying “you’re not fit to be my judge”.
IN: but this is going on [to the issue= GG: [of people IN: =as you say of the referendum [because it’s (how powerful) GG: [well let’s talk about the referen[dum shall we IN: [all right but just- (.) let’s- [just befo- well yes= GG: [let’s talk about the referendum IN: =but I want you [to answer this= GG: [shall we? IN: =you want to defend (.) y’know what you are doing here GG: [I don’t want to defend me at all you’re not my judge you’re not fit to be my (.) judge IN: well thank you very much
External link to Daily Politics (starts 31:30)
Bull (2003) outlined a taxonomy of equivocation techniques. Galloway used the following:
- Attack the question
- Attack the interviewer
Watch the episode
Daily Politics – 22/02/2016
Bull, P. (2003) The Microanalysis of Political Communication: Claptrap and ambiguity. Routledge: London.