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Framing media mergers in France and the United States
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing media mergers in France and the United States 12 virtually tied with it for first place in the second phase. This study seems to suggest that the mainstream media play the “economic card” heavily when covering telecommunications issues, though admittedly this is one isolated study of an idiosyncratic issue. Mergers and other micro-economic structural changes that are centered on the firm have not been extensively analyzed. A notable exception is Vaara and Tienari (2002) who studied the portrayal of three large mergers in Finland during the 1990s. Using qualitative textual analysis techniques the authors concluded that Finnish coverage focused on the mergers as inevitable economic processes. They also warned that this type of discourse would strengthen “managerial hegemony at the expense of other social actors” (297), and the capacity of the latter to criticize these developments. Political Background France and the United States could be considered divergent cases of libertarian state- media systems (Siebert et al.). Students of other industries have argued that France and the U.S. developed extremely divergent industrial policy strategies (Dobbin, 2001). France is considered to be a highly centralized polity. The state has had a traditionally interventionist role in the economic sphere (Dobbin, 2001). It conceives itself as the custodian of France’s unique cultural heritage and develops protectionist policies in the cultural sphere to protect the domestic cultural industries, including quotas to promote the broadcasting of French programs on domestic television and French music on radio (Becker and Ory, 2002; Collard, 2000). In the context of media policy the state is “legislator, regulator and initiator” (Lamizet, 1996). The government historically

Authors: Davidson, Roei.
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Framing media mergers in France and the United States
12
virtually tied with it for first place in the second phase. This study seems to suggest that
the mainstream media play the “economic card” heavily when covering
telecommunications issues, though admittedly this is one isolated study of an
idiosyncratic issue.
Mergers and other micro-economic structural changes that are centered on the firm have
not been extensively analyzed. A notable exception is Vaara and Tienari (2002) who
studied the portrayal of three large mergers in Finland during the 1990s. Using qualitative
textual analysis techniques the authors concluded that Finnish coverage focused on the
mergers as inevitable economic processes. They also warned that this type of discourse
would strengthen “managerial hegemony at the expense of other social actors” (297), and
the capacity of the latter to criticize these developments.
Political Background
France and the United States could be considered divergent cases of libertarian state-
media systems (Siebert et al.). Students of other industries have argued that France and
the U.S. developed extremely divergent industrial policy strategies (Dobbin, 2001).
France is considered to be a highly centralized polity. The state has had a traditionally
interventionist role in the economic sphere (Dobbin, 2001). It conceives itself as the
custodian of France’s unique cultural heritage and develops protectionist policies in the
cultural sphere to protect the domestic cultural industries, including quotas to promote the
broadcasting of French programs on domestic television and French music on radio
(Becker and Ory, 2002; Collard, 2000). In the context of media policy the state is
“legislator, regulator and initiator” (Lamizet, 1996). The government historically


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