Information, Interest, and Ideology: Explaining the Divergent Effects of Government-Media Relationships in Argentina
During the administration of Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández (2007‒2015), the government developed a confrontational stance toward news organizations that it perceived to be against it, usually labeling them “opposition media.” This has also been the case in other countries in the region and in other parts of the world. This article examines the consequences of this confrontation on the news agenda and the preferences of the audience. Findings from a panel survey and content analysis of three news organizations usually labeled opposition media indicate that the agendas of the news outlets and their respective most viewed stories diverged substantively in their thematic preferences. Different opposition media and their audiences behaved in a heterogeneous fashion. Interviews with members of the audience underscore the role of ideology in mediating the impact of government–media relations. Drawing on these findings, we contribute to middle-range theorizing of government–media relationships and reflect on their implications for the dynamics of journalism and political communication.