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Businessmen, Partisans and Oligarchs: Political Control, News Production Philosophies And Partisan Bias In Mexican Television News
Unformatted Document Text:  38 Although the political and economic opening in Mexico created a new environment in which television stations had the opportunity to produce news programs reflecting the partisan preferences of their audiences, whether or not the station did so depended on the will of media owners in the private sector or of the state’s governor for state-owned TV. In other words, the hierarchical relations of television news production prevented journalists and mid-level managers from responding autonomously to either new environmental cues or the new normative conceptions filtering into Mexican news values from independent newspapers, academia or abroad. Like the experience of the Mexican press, television news showed less partisan bias only when the news philosophy of those with power in the organization demanded it. At the national network level, this occurred in 1997 when a new generation of executives took control of the Televisa television network. At the local level, where station management is more de-centralized and independent ownership more prevalent if not widespread, change was more uneven and responded to local controls more than national directives. The finding of the determinacy of internal power structures supports the conclusion from our earlier work that organizational dynamics are central to understanding why news media resist societal change or choose a particular transformative pathway. Organizational dynamics, even in transitional macro- environments, go a long way toward explaining why news continues to show partisan bias in some media and not others.

Authors: Hughes, Sallie. and Lawson, Chappell.
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38
Although the political and economic opening in Mexico created a new environment in
which television stations had the opportunity to produce news programs reflecting the partisan
preferences of their audiences, whether or not the station did so depended on the will of media
owners in the private sector or of the state’s governor for state-owned TV. In other words, the
hierarchical relations of television news production prevented journalists and mid-level managers
from responding autonomously to either new environmental cues or the new normative
conceptions filtering into Mexican news values from independent newspapers, academia or
abroad.
Like the experience of the Mexican press, television news showed less partisan bias only
when the news philosophy of those with power in the organization demanded it. At the national
network level, this occurred in 1997 when a new generation of executives took control of the
Televisa television network. At the local level, where station management is more de-centralized
and independent ownership more prevalent if not widespread, change was more uneven and
responded to local controls more than national directives. The finding of the determinacy of
internal power structures supports the conclusion from our earlier work that organizational
dynamics are central to understanding why news media resist societal change or choose a
particular transformative pathway. Organizational dynamics, even in transitional macro-
environments, go a long way toward explaining why news continues to show partisan bias in
some media and not others.


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