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Televised political shows and mockery

Patricia Cruz



Study “On the discourse of mocking in U.S. televised political discussions” by   

Christopher Jenks investigated the various aspects of mocking in televised political shows, or mock news, using critical discourse analysis.

Mock news is a genre that is similar to traditional news programs in the sense that they also focus on covering, discussing and reporting on important issues. The difference is that they are meant to entertain, not inform. The difference from pure comedy, on the other hand, is that mock news seeks to present itself as a fair and balanced take on news events. 

Their journalistic value is not their main purpose, generating viewership is. Examples are shows such as The Daily Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that present comedic takes on political issues.

According to Luginbühl (2007), ‘confrontainment’, a portmanteau of confrontation and entertainment, can be used as term to describe encounters between political opponents that devolve into arguments. Mock news utilize this tribalism in politics to present outrage as a form of entertainment – heated arguments, anger and even rage are common in mock news.

The same author has found ‘conversational violence’, such as use of dominance and defamation, as a feature in political speech. It intersects with ‘outrage discourse’. In this study, it is stated that ‘outrage discourse’ encompasses a wider range of discursive practices. 

Of outrage, Berry and Sobieraj (2014) uncover 13 subcategories: nsulting language, name calling, emotional display, emotional language, verbal fighting/sparring, character assassination, misrepresentative exaggeration, mockery, conflagration, ideologically extremizing language, slippery slope, belittling, and obscene language.

The present study builds on these past studies to answer the following question: How is mockery discursively organized and used as a resource to engage in televised political discussions?

The source materials for the study is a corpus of 60 televised political discussions.
They were all televised in CNN. The author points out that future research should look at to what extent political discussions and shows are different across mainstream TV channels and across countries. 

The shows that were included in the corpus were such as Anderson Cooper 360° and Prime Time by Chris Cuomo. As a study utilizing Critical Discourse Analysis, the examples from the corpus that the author presents are very detailed examples of mockery.

The analysis showed that mockery predominantly occurs in the ‘second oppositional slot’, that is, in response to an argument made in the previous turn. This indicates that mockery is reserved for situations in the conversational exchange where disagreements occur in situ. 

In addition to the position of mocking in an exchange, the act of mockery can be divided into smaller ‘discourse tokens’. The tokens cover a range of actions: “including expressing disagreement, undermining the validity of an opposing viewpoint, establishing a competing ideological position, refuting an idea based on a political identity, criticizing the messenger (rather than the message), creating an unsymmetrical distribution of power, and amplifying the degree to which one disagrees, such as through laughter.”

The use of mocking, laughter and ridicule suggests that televised shows are seen as spaces where disagreement and put-downs can occur, rather than as spaces where common ground is sought. They normalize the tribalism inherent in politics by mainstreaming mocking.

Finally, the author notes that similar to affordances and constraints of social media, the organization of televised shows amplifies the differences in opinion that exist between the panel members. Similar to the short texts in Twitter, the panel members are typically given one minute or less to state their case, which encourages sound bites while discouraging thoughtful moderation on an issue.

The study “On the discourse of mocking in U.S. televised political discussions” by   

Christopher Jenks is in Discourse & Communication. (Free abstract). 

Picture: A puppet and a kangaroo fighting. By Frank Busch @frankbusch

License Unsplash.

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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