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Businessmen, Partisans and Oligarchs: Political Control, News Production Philosophies And Partisan Bias In Mexican Television News
Unformatted Document Text:  4 neither electoral competition nor commercialization of news media will necessarily produce a media regime that reflects the increased political pluralism in new democracies. Ultimately, media openness must be fortified structurally and culturally in order for news to reflect the diversity inherent in media that help create informed citizens and accountable government. 3 The first section of this article describes the system of media-state relations that characterized the period of one-party rule in Mexico and how political and economic changes in the 1990s altered the political and financial incentives supporting pro-regime television coverage. The second section uses content analysis of 93 television news programs during Mexico’s 2000 campaign to explain the persistence of bias in local television news. The third section supplements this quantitative analysis with case studies of particular stations to identify additional mechanisms for reproducing news bias within different stations. The final section summarizes our main findings and discusses their implications for the creation of an open media regime in broadcasting. The Political Economy of News Production in Mexico From the 1930s to the late 1990s, Mexican electoral politics was dominated by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). During this period, private television concessionaires benefited from a broad array of official subsidies and concessions in exchange for favorable coverage of the regime. From the early 1950s, the government granted television concessions to a small number of entrepreneurial families with political connections. By 1973, the country’s leading broadcasting families had combined their holding to create a virtual private monopoly, Democratization of Mexico, N.D. Tulane University, 2001. 3 See Sallie Hughes, “From the Inside-Out. How Institutional Entrepreneurs Remade Mexico’s Press,” forthcoming, for a discussion of civic-oriented journalism in Mexico.

Authors: Hughes, Sallie. and Lawson, Chappell.
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neither electoral competition nor commercialization of news media will necessarily produce a
media regime that reflects the increased political pluralism in new democracies. Ultimately,
media openness must be fortified structurally and culturally in order for news to reflect the
diversity inherent in media that help create informed citizens and accountable government.
3
The first section of this article describes the system of media-state relations that
characterized the period of one-party rule in Mexico and how political and economic changes in
the 1990s altered the political and financial incentives supporting pro-regime television
coverage. The second section uses content analysis of 93 television news programs during
Mexico’s 2000 campaign to explain the persistence of bias in local television news. The third
section supplements this quantitative analysis with case studies of particular stations to identify
additional mechanisms for reproducing news bias within different stations. The final section
summarizes our main findings and discusses their implications for the creation of an open media
regime in broadcasting.
The Political Economy of News Production in Mexico
From the 1930s to the late 1990s, Mexican electoral politics was dominated by the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). During this period, private television concessionaires
benefited from a broad array of official subsidies and concessions in exchange for favorable
coverage of the regime. From the early 1950s, the government granted television concessions to
a small number of entrepreneurial families with political connections. By 1973, the country’s
leading broadcasting families had combined their holding to create a virtual private monopoly,
Democratization of Mexico, N.D. Tulane University, 2001.
3
See Sallie Hughes, “From the Inside-Out. How Institutional Entrepreneurs Remade Mexico’s Press,” forthcoming,
for a discussion of civic-oriented journalism in Mexico.


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