The controversy in the Catalan TV: "Don't lie, Mr González"

Margarida Bassols, Anna Cros, Anna Torrent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper seeks to analyze how disagreement is displayed in a context of a plural scene focusing on the analysis of the microcontroversy on the cost of the nuclear energy. Our data comes from the TV debate "Is nuclear power a danger?" aired in the Els matins of Televisió de Catalunya. The study is informed by the four-component framework proposed by Dascal's (1995a, 1995b): dynamic component (phases and thematic slide) morphological component (syntactic, semantic and logical chains), pragmatic component (debaters' positioning regarding their statements) and rhetorical component (persuasive and ideological aspects). In the microcontroversy studied, Dascal's (1995a, 1995b) work isconfigured with these features: despite its brevity, there are three distinct phases of agonizing intensity; the main topic is debated, together with other more or less related issues, according to the debaters' needs; the flow of the speech is mainly connected by initial markers, usually modals; the utterances - assertive, directive or expressive- present varying degrees of strength, as a reflection of the debaters' self-assertion in relation with their own words; and the arguments are deployed with different skills. In consequence, there is a winning debater and the rest are portrayed as losers. In conclusion, controversy fosters television show of the word, aided by images and by the fact that it takes place in a few minutes, as if the media was not able to support a long confrontation, and the debaters, often dominated by the pathos, only try to defend their point of view to get the best impression from the audience -without necessarily getting to the truth. © 2013 PUCV, Chile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-306
JournalRevista Signos
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2013


  • Argumentation
  • Controversy
  • Emotionalization
  • Popularization
  • Rhetoric
  • Television


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