Agnieszka Budzyńska-Daca – The rhetoric of time in the final pre-election TV debates

 Agnieszka Budzyńska-Daca

Warswo University, Poland


rhetoric-communication-19Abstract: The article is a methodological proposal referring to the study of pre-election TV debates. Its aim is to draw attention to formative and meaning-oriented properties of temporal categories in shaping / studying media discourse. Three temporal categories were identified: the time related to the situation of the debate as a genre with specific communicative functions; the time of rhetorical strategies used by the actors participating in the debate; and the time of direct interaction between the actors. Finally, the elements shaping the temporal orders of particular categories were discussed.

Keywords: rhetoric of time, final pre-election debates, media discourse, election campaign, electoral strategies.

Rhetoric and Communications E-Journal, Issue 19, October 2015,,


rhetoricFinal pre-election TV debates are media events [1], which attract millions of viewers. Often referred to as the focal points of the campaign [2] and miniature campaigns [3], they electrify the viewers’ attention like the Champions League or the Olympic Games. Depending on a country, debates take various forms. They take place in television studios, universities or other public venues and differ in the number of candidates debating, their format and duration. Each year more and more countries organize the final TV debates, those with a status of a media event [4]. Parallel to these developments, the scope of prescriptive research also expands. There appear diverse methodological approaches analyzing linguistic, political, marketing, and rhetorical and media aspects of debates [5].

The interpretative approach proposed in this article falls within the area of ​​rhetorical methodology. Having analyzed a number of debates, I have realized the importance of the category of time as a descriptive category characterizing their discourse at various stages. The debate comes and lasts at a given time, it is received in time, the participants comply (or not) with the rules of time, and, finally, they make use or lose their time.

The term “rhetoric of time” refers to the method of modeling the discourse of pre-election debate (as well as any other media event [6]) from a perspective of temporal categories. To analyze discourse from this angle means to identify and diagnose the timing of its different elements and stages, as well as assess the impact of the subject strategies on the formation of discourse. Speaking of temporality associated with the genre, we refer to rhetoricity of time shaped by tradition and rhetorical potentiality of organizational solutions (dispositio) related to this genre. In contrast, the study of time management by the actors participating in the interaction requires that the analyses consider the problem from the perspective of the strategies used by these actors and their individual ways of modeling the discourse in a given rhetorical situation.

The most extensive material which constitutes the frame of reference for the research proposal focusing on the temporal aspects of debate comes from the analysis of Polish final debates in the years 1995, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2015 [7].

Debate as a genre

In the study I propose to use a generic frame of reference to define the final pre-election debates as entities of repetitive structure formed in the social and communicative space which organizes the interaction between the actors. According to Jeffrey Auer’s definition, the debate is “(1) a confrontation, (2) in equal and adequate time, and (3) of matched contestants, (4) on a stated proposition, (5) to gain an audience decision” [8]. Auer posits that argumentative interactions which do not meet these conditions should be called pseudo-debates. From the perspective of this methodological proposal, attention should be paid to the second condition of the real debate. Each participant is allotted equal time; moreover, this time should be long enough to allow both parties to present their full arguments. This generic component will be of crucial importance when analyzing temporal aspects of shaping discourse.

Looking at debate as a genre from a broad perspective of the rhetorical situation allows us to see it as a communicative act organized by a particular causative subject. The act is realized both by active participants: politicians in the foreground and moderators, panelists and journalists in the background, and passive recipients – audiences gathered around this event. The table below shows the projected goals of the actors involved in the debate. These objectives are assigned to them in accordance with the rules of a genre.


Table 1. Objectives of the actors involved in the debate from the perspective of general audience

In specific realizations of debates these objectives are modified by the actors participating in the interaction. Rhetorical situations [9] of the participants are being shaped in each case, and, therefore, the individual goals will differ from those projected from the perspective of the general audience (in Perelman’s terms [10]). This aspect of the theory is important for the discussion on shaping the discourse in the context of strategic solutions. The temporality of a debate as a single media event has thus both fixed features shaped by communicative practices and claimed to be the essence of the genre, as well as variable characteristics, which are being determined by the participants of a specific interaction.

2. Time(s) of debate

Temporality of a debate as a genre occurring in a number of spaces [11] and involving many rhetorical actors is also complex. The time of a debate is the time which reflects the situation of the genre, the participants and those responsible for its organization. Separation of the time frames, as well as spatial framework, allows us to reorder the discourse around a debate, the discourse about a debate and the discourse of a debate.

Temporality of a debate as a media event may be defined in three dimensions. First, the time related to the situation of a debate as a genre with specific social and communicative functions. Second, the time of rhetorical strategies personalized by individual subjects participating in a debate. Third, the interaction time (during the debate) conditioned by the rules of the genre.

2.1. Temporal aspects of debate as a genre

2.1.1. Cyclical pattern. Debates are held every four years, every five years, depending on the electoral law and the political system of each country. They are the elements of the campaign ritual. There can be a debate of candidates for the office of the president or the prime minister/chancellor. In the case of early elections both the campaign and the debates are adapted to the new calendar. The time frame and the rarity of these events give them special significance. Moreover, the recurrence of debates raises viewers’ expectations and hopes that the debate will take place. The absence of a debate in the election campaign arouses disappointment of the media, and, most probably, the significant part of the electorate. In the history of debates in the United States, from 1960 to 1976 no debate took place. Similarly in France debates do not always conclude a campaign [12]. In the UK, the pre-election debates were held for the first time only in 2010. Yet already in the next elections, in 2015, there was no agreement from the incumbent Prime Minister to stage a direct confrontation of the representatives of major political parties. In Poland in the presidential elections in 2000 and parliamentary elections in 2011 politicians also resigned from the most important debates. Their absence and the accompanying negative media reaction have launched the inquiry into the causes of such a decision and the search for those who were responsible for this omission. A careful examination of the campaign behavior has pointed to the unwillingness of the incumbent politician to face off other candidates, and, on the other hand, the demand to organize a debate by politicians aspiring to the office. Similarly, the debates are likely to be avoided by the politicians who have already received a significant advantage in the polls over their competitors.

2.1.2. Time for debate in the campaign. The most important encounter of leaders on television is usually held just before the election. A debate crowns the campaign and it is expected, or expected and announced, much earlier. For example, in the United States and United Kingdom the dates are set well in advance so that the host universities could be well prepared. In Poland, the date is usually set a few days before the debate and it often happens that in the end it is uncertain whether the meeting will take place at all. The following is a listing of the dates of the recent debates in five countries in relation to the dates of the elections.


Table 44. Dates of debates and elections

As shown in the table, the time from a debate to voters’ decision varies depending on a country. These differences (Germany – 3 weeks, USA – 2 weeks, United Kingdom – 1 week, France, Poland – 3 days) entail the choice of different rhetorical strategies.

The impact of the message on the decision of the voters is much stronger in the short time from its reception [13]. This means that if politicians want to take advantage of this effect, they organize a debate just before the elections. If, however, they are afraid of its impact, they set the date early enough to be able to “cover” the possible failure with other events. The debate can be a springboard to electoral success. Therefore, it is important to “jump” at a right moment, or, in other words, to determine with utmost precision when the debate should take place. Setting the date may be identified both as a situational (repetitive) and strategic aspect (individually modeled).

2.1.3. A series of debates. The number of debates in one electoral cycle varies depending a country. The American cycle consists of three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate, which are held at fixed intervals. The British cycle of debates in 2010 consisted of three meetings, but in subsequent elections in 2015 the repeated pattern was abandoned and the debates were held in various configurations and formats. The final face-off of the leaders of the polls (Cameron – Milliband) was substituted with a form of a confrontation other than debate. In Poland in the presidential elections both in 2010 and in 2015 the major candidates debated twice. In 2005, a series of debates “President for Poland” consisted of a number of debates preceding the first round, with the participation of all candidates for the presidency. In subsequent meetings the politicians with a similar public support debated with each other. The culmination of the cycle was the debate of politicians who, according to the surveys, had a chance to win the election. The cyclical nature as a manifestation of the genre gives the participants a sense of taking part in an important event [14] and enriches the narrative around a debate with new themes.

2.2. Time of rhetorical strategies

Debate as a genre, which is complex, multi-agent and thus pursuing different goals depending on the participants’ and a research perspective, is also a conglomeration of different strategies. Isolating time periods should include the strategies of politicians associated with the preparation and realization of a debate, but also the strategies of the media, which pursue other goals while creating (co-creating) this event. Finally, there are the strategies of the audience who is treated as active co-creators of debate discourse. I have thus isolated “time before the debate,” which for all these agents means pursuing their own strategies; “time for the debate in the TV daily schedule” and the “broadcast time” that belong to media strategies; and “reception time” which belongs to the audience. All the participants are jointly engaged in the strategies “after the debate.”


Table 45. Times of rhetorical strategies

2.2.1. Time before the debate – this pre-debate period has been isolated due to the actions related to preparing politicians and voters for the event, the so called pre-debate strategy [15]. These are the actions which refer to shaping the images of politicians and fostering desirable expectations of the electorate from the point of view of electoral strategy. The strategies involve weakening the sense of importance of the debate for electoral race as well as weakening the image of the speakers as efficient communicators in the debate. As a result, the audience, whose reception has already been formed, is likely react in a predictable way. The ideal situation for the outcome of the debate is when the voters do not have unrealistic expectations towards the candidates. The assessment of their argumentative behavior during the debate will then be higher than if these expectations had been increased.

In addition to the actions directed outwards, which are co-organized with the media, politicians prepare their individual strategies of persuasion, which will be implemented in the course of the debate. Alongside the factual content, they also prepare the individual tactics how to play out the debate. In each cycle of Polish debates it was possible to indicate the kind of behavior that had the hallmark of a tactical game. The behavior was calculated to surprise the opponent by evoking the kind of emotions which would make it difficult for the adversary to discuss the core issues. In the first debate, in 1995, this strategy was applied by Aleksander Kwaśniewski who deliberately came late to the studio and then did not shake hands with Lech Wałęsa, which ran against the principles of this type of meeting. In 2007, such a tactical maneuver was manifested in the examination questions prepared by (the staff of) Donald Tusk in a debate with Jarosław Kaczyński (How much does a nurse earn? How much did the price of apples, chickens etc. rise?). In 2010 a similar role was fulfilled by Bronisław Komorowski’s gesture of handing a copy of the Constitution to Jarosław Kaczyński just before his concluding speech and asking him for its co-signing. In 2015, Andrzej Duda put on the rostrum in front of Bronisław Komorowski a flag with the logo of the Civic Platform party to show that the president was politically linked with the party and thus he was not impartial in his political decisions.

During the “time before the debate” there are ongoing negotiations between campaign staffs purporting to the formal conditions of the debate: its place, time, format, presence and role of the audience [16]. The negotiations also involve the media which report on their progress. The discourse accompanying this genre, the so-called debate about the debate noticeably intensifies. For the audience this is both the time of waiting, but also the time to formulate demands, project the winner and shape the preferences.

Journalists evoke the topic of the debate by asking politicians whether they think it will happen and what issues need to be discussed. The cyclical nature of debates in the campaign is one of the elements constituting its generic profile. Before the debate it is typical to recall the historical debates in the media, their importance for the outcome of the election, the infamous blunders of politicians that are inherent in the pre-debate information package. Historical encounters of politicians serve as a model for new audiences. This creates a community of generic expectations.

2.2.2. Time for the debate in the TV daily schedule – the peak viewing time, the so-called prime time. It corresponds with the idea of ​​a debate so that a great number of voters could watch it and gain first hand information on the political proposals. The civic aspect goes along the aspect of the profits of the television station whose viewing audience increases. The debate can be broadcast through multiple channels / TV and radio stations. It depends on the media policy of the major broadcasters and media groups.

2.2.3. Reception time – a real time, the same as the time of broadcast. The debate is broadcast “live.” The time of the reception equals the time of the audience, a single recipient, viewer, listener, reader. If they are watching the debate “live,” it is the time of individual experience although the joint participation at the same physical time makes it a communal experience. The reception through other channels (radio, TV reruns, the Internet, newspapers), whether of the entire debate or only its fragments, is possible in the time chosen by the recipients.

2.2.4. Time after the debate – when the race (horse race [17]) begins to enter the final stage, the most important for politicians. This is when the results of the opinion polls are announced and all types of experts (political commentators, PR specialists, journalists, experts in communication, campaign staff representatives, and politicians) share their opinions in television studios. Additionally, the Internet opens its forums for free comments and news information portals post polling result dashboards and expert analyses. The next day the print media bring more polished versions of these reports. The time after the debate with its fundamental question “Who won? And why was it X?” is particularly newsworthy for political advisors and news reporters . It is also an opportunity for the experts to verify their hypotheses. If the debates are held in cycles, then a multi-layered history of successes and failures in individual “clashes” is created. Finally, there is a chance to analyze performance (better and worse) of candidates in individual face-offs, talk about making up for the losses, discuss the validity of the first debate and its superiority over the other(s) as well as the importance of the last debate and its impact on the polls.

The time after the debate in the case of a single meeting (eg. France, Germany, where only one final debate is organized), has a different dramatic frame and commentary dynamics than the time when debates are organized in cycles. An important factor influencing the rhetorical strategies in this temporal segment is also the time, which was mentioned earlier, that is the time for debate in the campaign. If the debate takes place four days before the election and the time after the debate is short, then the strategy can be developed more accurately because there is less time for other events to occur. If, on the contrary, the debate takes place a few weeks before the election, as it was recently in Germany in 2013, the time after the debate gets fused with other campaign activities. It creates a favorable situation for a politician whose performance during the debate was weak because they have ample time to cover up the bad impression by bringing out other facts as more significant.

For the audience the time after the debate is the time for social interaction, exchanging views and forming opinions under the influence of external factors [18].

2.2.5. Broadcast time includes the debate and the accompanying introductory events and commentary. Usually the cameras show a place where debate is to be held, the supporters of candidates, representatives of campaign staff, and, finally, the candidates themselves heading for the debate escorted by their staff. The way the media build up the atmosphere before the debate raises many analogies to the atmosphere before the boxing fight. On the way from the venue the politicians or the spokesmen provide the immediate commentary on their impressions. In this way politicians have the opportunity to assure the audience of their victory immediately after the debate.

2.3. The time of interaction

The third aspect is the interaction time conditioned by the rules of the genre.

2.3.1. Equal and sufficient time – it is one of the conditions for the implementation of a real debate, according to Auer. The timing frame is set at the negotiation stage before the debate. A short time specified in the rules of the debate determines the style of discourse. Jamieson and Birdsell called their contemporary debates (up to 1988) “gladiatorial contest in miniature” [19]. Rather than promote in-depth discussion, the formats encouraged using slogans. The superficiality is rewarded; advanced argumentation – rejected.

A politician who receives a question which allows him to present a fragment of his electoral program will have an impression that one or two minutes to give an answer is definitely not enough although the practice of television interviews and participation in discussions with journalists prepares them for a concise expression of thought. There are speakers who in such a short period of time can present a well-composed statement and emphasize the relevant elements of argumentation. On the other hand, in the case of a problematic question, the time period, even as short as one minute, becomes a challenge.

In the Polish debates the breaches of time rules have become a common practice. Thus a question may arise why politicians agree to reduce the time they establish themselves, to later violate or ignore these rules. Is it to show the aggressiveness of their game? Time management becomes an attribute of leaders: “I will decide myself how and when to finish my speech.” It seems that the best format solution was the one adopted in the British debates in 2010: one minute for an answer, one minute for a reaction for each politician and 4 minutes for everybody for a free discussion. The key in this format is the awareness that the speaker will be able to speak on the matter several times (twice undisturbed in two statements outlining their position and confronting their opponent, and then in the course of a discussion, a free exchange of opinions, where the time must be “won” in a challenge with other contestants).

Equal time is a factor inherent to the genre, an important factor in developing the procedures for a debate and its good reception. It determines whether the audience would perceive the “duel” of speakers as fair game. In many debates in various countries timekeeping clocks are a part of the spatial organization dominating the frame or added as a digital display by the TV producer, for instance in the French debates.


Viewers can control whether the host complies with the rules of equal time for each participant. The equal time obligation is characteristic of the debate as a genre. In the pre-election debates between Lincoln and Douglas, which in American criticism stand for the prototypical debate formats, the statements by politicians lasted 1 hour, 1.5 hours and 0.5 hours, respectively, and the cycle consisted of seven debates. That sufficient time for the real debate assumed by Auer is impossible to carry out in terms of television broadcasting. What then must be done is either modify this element of Auer’s definition, or recognize that today’s debates are / may not be “real” debates.

2.3.3. The duration of interaction from the start (welcome formula), to the closing statement delivered by a moderator. Final debates usually last 60-90 minutes [20]. This aspect is both the external and internal (rhetorical) way of framing discourse and a factor in its development which depends on the organizers. It is external because you have to establish some time frame for each event, especially the media event; internal, because a fixed time affects the breadth and choice of arguments.

C. Time management of the debate belongs to moderators. Therefore they either allow the politicians to exceed the allotted time or demand that they stopped due to the lack of time. The following examples taken from the transcripts of Polish debates demonstrate a hegemony of that category in the discourse:

[debate of 1995 TVP] Minął czas, niestety, nie mogę panu udzielić głosu; (The time has passed, unfortunately, I cannot give you the floor)

[debate of 1995 TVP] Nie możemy niestety kontynuować tego wątku, jako że czas minął; (Unfortunately, we cannot continue on this issue as the time is out)

[debate of 2005 TVN]] My bardzo skrupulatnie będziemy liczyli czas; (We’ll be really meticulous about measuring the time)

[debate of 2005 TVN] A naszym… problemem jest w tej chwili czas. Nieubłaganie biegnie; (And our … problem at this moment is time. It goes by so fast)

[debate of 2005 TVN] […] czas nas goni, a chcielibyśmy zadać jeszcze dwa pytania; (We are pressed for time and there are still two questions we’d like to ask)

[debate of 2005 TVN] My mierzyliśmy czas bardzo dokładnie; (We measured the time very carefully)

[debate of 2007 TVP] Panie przewodniczący, nie jest pan merytoryczny, a czas się kończy; (Mr. Chairman, you are not substantive, and your time is running out)

[debate of 2007 TVP] Panie przewodniczący, czas jest nieubłagany i teraz zadam pytanie. (Mr. Chairman, time is unstoppable and now I will ask the question)

Moderator only distributes the “goods” that both sides of the dispute and the television have designated for the participants to share. It would be desirable if everyone got a fair share. In a series of Polish debates in 2010, due to the prior difficulty in disciplining politicians in the debates of 2005 and 2007, a principle was established that the seconds which the speakers used after their speaking time was over were deducted from the time that they had to sum up the round. On the one hand, this measure tamed the speakers, but , on the other hand, it eliminated the possibility of a free discussion.

Time management is also an important parameter characterizing a speaker. Debate participants struggle with their opponents, with questions asked by moderator / panelists / audience, but they also struggle with time. Its deficit is sometimes acutely felt during the interaction.

Good time management, one that would give the audience the sense of equal treatment of candidates, would require special arrangements at the planning stage of the debate. Then the politicians would not have to “bargain” with the moderator about every second or strive to ensure that they are not deprived of their right to speak because of the unfair calculation of time.

 2.3.4. Kairos, or the best time. In the debate, just as in other public speaking situations in which the speakers want to make a lasting impression on their listeners in order to be remembered and to be successful, kairos becomes an indispensable factor of time [21]. Kairos is defined as the best time for a rhetorical act. Speakers are convinced that the situation is unique and it cannot be repeated. That it is here and now that they must say what is most important, which may be crucial to the process of gaining voters.

A manifestation of concentration on kairos is the fact that before the candidates face each other in the studio, they prepare the answers to questions likely to arise during the debate. If the predictions prove inaccurate, the result of “memorising” answers is the use of tactics to change the subject [22] in the discussion. Having prepared a neat statement that might sound reliably and brilliantly, politicians want to deliver it during the debate at all costs. When the moderator / panelists / audience do not give them such opportunity by formulating questions different from those expected, then the politicians change the subject, ignoring the issues that came up and missing the point.

Undoubtedly, focusing on kairos also takes place when politicians use the evidence which does not belong to the art of rhetoric. They do so by presenting documents to certify the validity of their reasoning and the fallacy of the evidence presented by their opponent. In all Polish debates from 1995 until 2015 there appeared the artefacts supporting verbal argument. The politicians brought written statements, newspaper clippings, text of the constitution, and even a flag with the logo of the party. Handing such a “tangible proof” to a competitor during a debate is a spectacular gesture, widely commented in the strategies “after the debate.”

The most important question that is being asked by journalists immediately after the debate, the “who won” question, pertains to the impression. Politicians are aware that “you can only make the first impression once,” so the focus on kairos is so important for them before and during the debate. Researchers, in turn, attach great importance to the analysis of situational conditions that have allowed or made it difficult to make the best use of the time for debate.


Time as a category has a significant importance for rhetoric understood as a method of constructing and analyzing rhetorical acts. The debate as a rhetorical genre is embedded situationally, that is spatially and temporally. Dividing these categories into smaller units allows the researchers to explore how each unit functions within the debate to understand more fully the procedures of a genre as well as its individual realization with its own temporality. This division can facilitate the analysis of the text, the media event, the image of a politician, rhetorical strategies and other objects of research, depending on the chosen methodology. It can also make the analysis easier for the commentator of public life. Finally, it can help potential debate participants to agree on their expectations related to the participation in the debate with the standards of the genre implementation in the public sphere.


[1] Dayan, D., Katz, E. (2008). Wydarzenia medialne. Historia transmisji na żywo [orig. Media Events – the Live Broadcasting of History], trans. A. Sawisz. Introduction to Polish edition W. Godzic, Warsaw: Muza SA.

[2] Carlin, D. P. (1992). Presidential Debates as Focal Points for Campaign Arguments. Political Communication. Vol. 9, pp. 251-265.

[3] Faas T. Maier, J. (2011). Miniature Campaigns’ in Comparison: The German Televised Debates, 2002-09. German Politics. Vol. 20 (1), pp.75-91.

 [4] The debates were held so far in more than 70 countries. See. The list needs to be completed with Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Scotland, Venezuela, Italy. Data of 1.09. 2015.

[5] McKinney, M.S., Carlin D. B. (2004). Political Campaign Debates, in: Handbook of Political Communication Research, ed. L. Lee Kaid, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 203-234; Birdsell, David S; Carlin, Diana B; Considine, Jennifer R; Hinck, Edward A; et al. (2002). White Paper on Televised Political Campaign Debates. Argumentation and Advocacy. Vol.38 (4), pp. 199-218; Budzyńska-Daca A. (2015). Retoryka debaty. Polskie wielkie debaty przedwyborcze 1995-2010. [trans. The Rhetoric of the Debate. Polish Great Election Debates 1995-2010] Warsaw: PWN.

[6] Cf. Dayan D., Katz E., Media Events

[7] Budzyńska-Daca A. (2015). The Rhetoric of the Debate ….

[8] Auer, J. J. (1962). “The Counterfeit Debates.” In: S. Kraus (Ed.), The Great Debates: Background, Perspective, Effects, pp.142-150. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, p. 146.

[9] Bitzer L. (1968). The Rhetorical Situation, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Vol. 1, pp. 1-14.

[10] Perelman Ch. (2002) The Realm of Rhetoric. Rhetoric and Argumentation. Warsaw: PWN, pp. 22-33.

[11] Space of the meeting (the place where a debate is held, for example, the headquarters of a TV station, a university, a library), space of the interaction (“scene” for a “spectacle”), the physical arrangement of the place to debate), space of the image (transformation of physical reality into the image transmitted to the viewers to their homes), space of reception (the area connected with the media transmission and with organizing the reception situation), see. A. Budzyńska-Daca, The Rhetoric of the Debate ….

[12] Final debates took place in 1974, 1981, 1988, 1995, 2007 and 2012.

[13] We are dealing with the so called planned and short-term effects. See. McQuail D. (2008). Teoria komunikowania masowego [orig. The Theory of Mass Communication], ed. T. Goban-Klas, trans. M. Bucholc, A. Szulżycka. Warsaw: PWN, pp. 457-467; Goban-Klas T. (2009). Media i komunikowanie masowe. Teorie i analizy prasy, radia, telewizji i Internetu [trans. Media and Mass Communication. Theories and Analyses of Press, Radio, Television and the Internet. Warsaw: PWN, pp. 236-243; Fortuna, P. (1999). Perswazyjne oddziaływanie telewizji – możliwości obrony. [trans. The Persuasive Influence of Television – How to Resist. in: Psychologiczne aspekty odbioru telewizji [trans. Psychological aspects of TV reception, ed. P. Francuz, Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL. Vol. 2, pp. 23-78.

[14] Cyclical nature is one of the characteristics of mass media, see: Mrozowski M. (2001). Media masowe. Władza, rozrywka i biznes [trans. The Mass Media. Power, Entertainment and Business]. Warsaw: Aspra, pp. 63-64.

[15] See. R. V. Friedenberg (1997). Patterns and Trends in National Political Debates: 1960-1996, in: Rhetorical Studies of the National Political Debates – – 1996, ed. R.V. Friedenberg, Westport, CT: Praeger, pp. 61-91.

[16] Mavrodieva I. (2012). Rhetorical, Political, and Public Relations Aspects of Candidates during the Presidential Election Campaigns in Bulgaria (1991-2006), Controversia , Vol. 8 (1), p. 53.

[17] The term for presidential elections in the United States.

[18] Reports from the election are described as game reporting (sports events), see. Sartori, G. (2005). Homo videns. Telewizja i postmyślenie, trans. J. Uszyński. Warsaw: Warsaw University Press, p. 63.

[19] K. H. Jamieson, D.S. Birdsell (1988). Presidential Debates: The Challenge of Creating an Informed Electorate, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 118-119.

[20] The debates in Israel are shorter, they last 30 minutes. See: Benoit W.L., Sheafer T. (2006). Functional Theory and Political Discourse: Televised Debates in Israel and the United States, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. Vol. 83 (2), pp. 281-297; in Canada in 2011 they held a two-hour debate; debates in France also last longer.

[21] Helsley S.L. (1996). “Kairos,” in Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication from Ancient Times to the Information Age, ed. T. Enos, New York: Garland, pp. 371; J. L. Kinneavy (1986). Kairos: A Neglected Concept in Classical Rhetoric, in: Rhetoric and Praxis: The Contribution of Classical Rhetoric to Practical Reasoning, ed. J. Dietz Moss, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, pp. 79-105.

[22] Politicians use tactics: ignoratio elenchi, red herring, diversion and dilution. See: Budzyńska-Daca A. (2009). Taktyka mutatio controversiae i sposoby jej realizacji na przykładzie debat przedwyborczych [trans. Mutatio controversiae tactics and methods of its implementation on the example of pre-election debates], Forum Artis Rhetoricae, Vol. 3-4, pp. 24.