Dr. Phil Meets the candidates: How family life and personal experience produce political discussions

  • Van Zoonen L
  • Muller F
  • Alinejad D
 et al. 
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In 2004, the main contenders in the American presidential election, incumbent Republican president George Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry, appeared with their wives in two separate episodes of the Dr. Phil show. They talked with America's most popular television therapist about their families and how they combined family life and political career. Campaign and political issues were purposively kept out of the conversations. Analysis of the audience's responses to these two shows, posted on a website, shows that the political relevance of the private and family lives of the candidates was heavily contested. However, the family life and values of the discussants themselves were seen as a legitimate point of departure for their political positions. Thus, the Dr. Phil forum functioned both as a place of deliberation and dialogue, and as a site for articulating political viewpoints. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Critical Studies in Media Communication is the property of Taylor & Francis Ltd and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Candidates
  • Deliberation
  • Personalization
  • Politics
  • Popular Culture

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