There will only be lots of chit-chat': How Hamas leaders and media interviewers handle controversial topics
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McVittie, C., Sambaraju, R. & McKinlay, A. (2011) There will only be lots of chit-chat': How Hamas leaders and media interviewers handle controversial topics, Research on Language and Social Interaction, vol. 44, , pp. 92-105,
This paper examines media interviews with Hamas political leaders conducted between January 2006 and December, 2008, immediately before the outbreak of war in Gaza. The analysis presented here focuses on the role of footing shifts in the posing of challenging questions and their consequential relevance for the exchange that followed in which Hamas leaders attended to interviewers' challenging questions and provided their own accounts. The results show that interviewers' footing shifts confer interactional benefits on interviewers and interviewees alike. Such footing shifts allow all participants to construct their discussion as being 'newsworthy' in being relevant to a wider audience and allow interviewers to do 'neutralism'. At the same time, footing shifts that attribute contentious allegations to third parties allow interviewees to criticise the nominated sources. In so doing, initial footing shifts enable discussions of contentious topics to proceed without breakdown.