Emotional Culture? An Investigation into the Emotional Coverage of Televised Leader Debates in Newspapers and Twitter

PhD Thesis

Kimmich, MD (2016). Emotional Culture? An Investigation into the Emotional Coverage of Televised Leader Debates in Newspapers and Twitter. PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Arts and Creative Industries https://doi.org/10.18744/PUB.001801
AuthorsKimmich, MD
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis studies how emotions are used in and around TV debates by politicians
during debates, by newspaper journalists in their coverage of debates and by
Twitter users following debates and reacting to their coverage. Although emotions
have been the focus of many studies recently, the literature that combines emotions
with politics, journalism and social media remains limited. To �ll this gap in
knowledge, my research involves two case studies: the 2010 British election, where
TV debates were held for the �rst time, and the 2012 American election, where
debates are a long-standing tradition. For this purpose, my research is guided by
the following research question: how far did political candidates, print media and
Twitter users use emotions and emotional references in the 2010 British and 2012
American televised leader debates and their coverage?
To answer this research question, I carried out a content analysis of the three
British and four American debate transcripts; a framing analysis of 104 articles
from the New York Post and 223 articles from The New York Times as well as 93
articles from The Sun and 238 articles from The Guardian; and, �nally, a content
analysis of a sample of American (30 000 tweets) and British tweets (3 000 tweets)
posted during the debates period.
These analyses reveal two key �ndings. Firstly, the manipulation of di�erent forms
of emotionality by politicians (e.g. to convince voters, defend themselves, criticise
others) during the debates failed as Twitter users mainly displayed negative
emotions in relation to politicians' emotions. Secondly, journalists' attempt at
manipulating di�erent forms of emotionality (e.g. to praise their favourite candidate
or discredit another) failed too as Twitter users mainly expressed negative
emotions regarding the coverage of the debates. Thus, it appears that emotions
are not a means for politicians and journalists to interact with Twitter users as
the manipulation of emotions by politicians and journalists failed to convince most
Twitter users.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.18744/PUB.001801
Publication dates
Print01 Sep 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Feb 2018
Publisher's version
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