Chapter 1. The reasonableness of confrontational strategic maneuvering in political interviews
The goal of this paper is to evaluate a politician’s responses to an interviewer’s accusation that his current standpoint is inconsistent with an earlier expressed standpoint on the same issue. The author focuses on the case in which the politician responds to such criticism by retracting the earlier expressed standpoint and subsequently reformulating it. Taking a pragma-dialectical perspective on argumentation, the author assesses whether the politician’s sequence of moves contributes to a reasonable resolution of the difference of opinion that is at stake in a political interview. To this end, the author formulates a set of soundness conditions that should be fulfilled if a politician is to reasonably retract a standpoint that is afterwards reformulated. The author applies the soundness conditions to a number of concrete cases taken from BBC political interviews to judge whether the responses are reasonable or not.