The end of the 1990s marked the rise of left-wing governments in Latin America. Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Néstor Kirchner in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, among others, swept into power, in most cases in landslide victories at the polls, only to encounter almost immediately afterwards a forceful opposition from the mainstream and privately owned commercial news media. Evidence of this can be seen in the active role played by these news media outlets in the rapid overthrow of President Hugo Chavez in April 2002 and in the quasiantagonistic relations between the media and the government in places such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Nicaragua. We argue that at the centre of this struggle is an appropriation of history by journalists and news editors which serves to contextualise and frame political news stories so as to provide specific meanings to current accounts and narratives. This, we argue, is in itself a crucial aspect of political power relationships during a period when the armed forces and traditional political parties no longer have the leverage they once had. This article assesses the extent to which journalists and news editors have been using history to frame the accounts and narratives in their news stories as a way of providing legitimacy to their political allies while undermining that of their foes. In so doing, it looks at specific cases in the region, while analysing news content during key events in recent years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)