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A Study of Agenda-Setting Theory in Presidential Debates in Mexico’s 2000 Presidential Campaign
Unformatted Document Text:  5 In Mexico there are three major political parties, that formally complete almost all the left-right ideological spectrum. According to most analysts, the ideology of the three main parties in México is the center right for the ruling party, the center left for the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the right center for the National Action Party (PAN) (Camp, 1999 p. 67). The center position has been convenient for the ruling party, because it has been able to incorporate diverse political positions and groups, such as populists or technocrats in different points in its history. The main focus of this paper is to analyze the relationship between the media coverage of the presidential debates, and the content of those events in terms of candidate image and issues. Media coverage and content of the debates, presumably had an important impact in candidate choices and the outcome of the election. Using Agenda Setting theory as framework, a content analysis of the presidential debates in the Mexican 2000 election, and of television coverage of those was conducted, in order to partially explain how media influenced the outcome of the electoral process. Information from a panel study conducted at the time of the Mexico 2000 campaign was available and correlated at some extent with the content analysis of media and debates. Polling information about public’s preferences on candidates was also available, but not directly correlated to confirm o disconfirm the main hypotheses of this study. Agenda Setting and Influence of Media in Political Campaigns As Agenda-Setting theory states, the media can influence the salience of events in the public mind (McCombs & Shaw, p. 5). Although many can argue that interpersonal communication has as much (or sometimes more influence) than mass media

Authors: Mercado, Antonieta., Hellweg, Susan., Dozier, David. and Hofstetter, C..
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5
In Mexico there are three major political parties, that
formally complete almost all the left-right ideological
spectrum. According to most analysts, the ideology of the
three main parties in México is the center right for the
ruling party, the center left for the Democratic Revolutionary
Party (PRD) and the right center for the National Action Party
(PAN) (Camp, 1999 p. 67). The center position has been
convenient for the ruling party, because it has been able to
incorporate diverse political positions and groups, such as
populists or technocrats in different points in its history.
The main focus of this paper is to analyze the
relationship between the media coverage of the presidential
debates, and the content of those events in terms of candidate
image and issues. Media coverage and content of the debates,
presumably had an important impact in candidate choices and
the outcome of the election.
Using Agenda Setting theory as framework, a content
analysis of the presidential debates in the Mexican 2000
election, and of television coverage of those was conducted,
in order to partially explain how media influenced the outcome
of the electoral process. Information from a panel study
conducted at the time of the Mexico 2000 campaign was
available and correlated at some extent with the content
analysis of media and debates. Polling information about
public’s preferences on candidates was also available, but not
directly correlated to confirm o disconfirm the main
hypotheses of this study.
Agenda Setting and Influence of Media in Political
Campaigns
As Agenda-Setting theory states, the media can influence
the salience of events in the public mind (McCombs & Shaw, p.
5). Although many can argue that interpersonal communication
has as much (or sometimes more influence) than mass media


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