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Harnessing the Potential of the “Demotic Turn” to Authoritarian Ends: Caller Participation and Weaponized Communication on US Conservative Talk Radio Programs

Abstract : Audience participation is a standard feature of US conservative talk radio (CTR) shows. The leading format among non-musical radio programs, CTR provides listeners with a daily opportunity to speak on air. As a radio genre that claims to be participatory, it is intended to be a forum where listeners can engage in conversation with the host. However, these shows also convey a form of authoritarian discourse, which is not only expressed discursively but reflected more specifically in the hosts’ approach to media practice, the specificity of the shows’ apparatus, and within it, in the status of the audience such as it is embodied by callers. In this chapter, Sébastien Mort analyzes how the affordances of CTR shows’ apparatus enable the hosts of nationally syndicated CTR programs to instrumentalize audience participation as part of their strategic use of “weaponized communication”, typical of authoritarian figures. Here, audience participation is instrumentalized to forge a representation of what is supposed to be an archetypal conservative, through a simulacrum of democratic exchange that the shows’ apparatus creates.
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-03017690
Contributor : Sébastien Mort <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 1:38:55 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 3:22:53 AM

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Sébastien Mort. Harnessing the Potential of the “Demotic Turn” to Authoritarian Ends: Caller Participation and Weaponized Communication on US Conservative Talk Radio Programs. French Perspectives on Media, Participation and Audiences, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.19 - 44, 2020, 978-3-030-33345-4. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-33346-1_2⟩. ⟨hal-03017690⟩

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