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A Study of Agenda-Setting Theory in Presidential Debates in Mexico’s 2000 Presidential Campaign
Unformatted Document Text:  4 A Study of Agenda-Setting Theory in Presidential Debates in Mexico’s 2000 Presidential Campaign In the year 2000, the political context changed in Mexico with the election of a president who was not from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Vicente Fox, a businessman and a self proclaimed non-politician running with the conservative National Action Party (PAN), won the presidential election by 6.5 points over his closest opponent, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, from the PRI. Fox’s triumph ended the 71-year reign of the PRI in a contested, but relatively peaceful electoral process. Systematic public opinion polls, televised debates, and electoral laws which provided opposition candidates free time on television, permitted greater civic and institutional vigilance regarding the election process and media coverage of it. These were some of the most relevant new features of the 2000 election. Those features may seem unremarkable when compared to other electoral processes in democratic countries. However, in a political system where the ruling party controlled the electoral processes in an almost omnipresent way, those factors had an enormous impact. After decades of PRI rule in Mexico, another party has come to power with the popular legitimacy that only elections can bring. The media played an important role in the 2000 electoral process as well. Although media coverage become more inclusive in Mexico well before 2000, media behavior and participation in this campaign was crucial to the final results. Coverage of the 2000 campaign by the media, especially the television networks, was unconventional by Mexico’s standards. Traditionally, the Mexican broadcast media only gave time to ruling party candidates in their coverage. When covering other candidates, which was uncommon, such coverage was very biased against them.

Authors: Mercado, Antonieta., Hellweg, Susan., Dozier, David. and Hofstetter, C..
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4
A Study of Agenda-Setting Theory in Presidential Debates in
Mexico’s 2000 Presidential Campaign
In the year 2000, the political context changed in Mexico
with the election of a president who was not from the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Vicente Fox, a
businessman and a self proclaimed non-politician running with
the conservative National Action Party (PAN), won the
presidential election by 6.5 points over his closest opponent,
Francisco Labastida Ochoa, from the PRI. Fox’s triumph ended
the 71-year reign of the PRI in a contested, but relatively
peaceful electoral process. Systematic public opinion polls,
televised debates, and electoral laws which provided
opposition candidates free time on television, permitted
greater civic and institutional vigilance regarding the
election process and media coverage of it. These were some of
the most relevant new features of the 2000 election.
Those features may seem unremarkable when compared to
other electoral processes in democratic countries. However, in
a political system where the ruling party controlled the
electoral processes in an almost omnipresent way, those
factors had an enormous impact. After decades of PRI rule in
Mexico, another party has come to power with the popular
legitimacy that only elections can bring. The media played an
important role in the 2000 electoral process as well. Although
media coverage become more inclusive in Mexico well before
2000, media behavior and participation in this campaign was
crucial to the final results. Coverage of the 2000 campaign
by the media, especially the television networks, was
unconventional by Mexico’s standards. Traditionally, the
Mexican broadcast media only gave time to ruling party
candidates in their coverage. When covering other candidates,
which was uncommon, such coverage was very biased against
them.


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