|Author(s)||Wendy Archer, Ruth Parry|
|Title||Blame attributions and mitigated confessions: The discursive construction of guilty admissions in celebrity TV confessionals|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Accusation, admitting guilt, broadcast talk, celebrity TV interview, confession, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, facework, image repair/restoration|
|Journal||Discourse & Communication|
Drawing on insights from conversation analysis, discursive psychology and social psychology, this article describes some interactional features of two celebrity TV confessionals and the resources used by the TV interviewers and celebrity guests to attribute, accept or deny responsibility for their transgressions. The analytic interest lies in how confessions are locally and interactionally managed, that is, how ‘doing confessing’ is achieved in the television interview context. We show how the host’s opening turn constrains the celebrity guest’s contribution and secures overt admission of guilt, while simultaneously inviting the celebrity guest to tell their side of the story. We also show how celebrity guests produce descriptions which minimize the extent and severity of their transgressions, reduce agency and transform the character of their transgression. In doing so, we argue that celebrity interviewees can convey mitigations and extenuations which diminish the extent of their responsibility – calling into question the very nature of their confession. We propose that our findings demonstrate the hybrid nature of interviewing in the celebrity TV confessional and contribute to our understanding of how ‘doing confessing’ in the public eye is discursively and interactionally negotiated.