Media Captured: Elites’ Cohesion and Media Networks in Costa Rica and El Salvador
Tesis de doctorado
Robles Rivera, Francisco
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Media capture occurs when elites exert (in)direct actions to suppress or to disseminate (un)favorable information (Besley & Prat, 2006; Corneo, 2006). The importance of media capture at critical junctures, such as electoral processes, has been decisive. When media is captured the voting decisions of individuals are affected by the information they received (Besley & Prat, 2006a, p. 721; Enikolopov, Petrova, & Zhuravskaya, 2011). This is particularly relevant in Central America, where most people’s information about political parties, ideologies and politics comes from the media (Becerra, Mastrini, & D’Alessandro, 2009; Rockwell & Janus, 2003; Sandoval García, 2008). Also, literature on elites has demonstrated how elections are crucial in business elites’ strategies, especially when their power derives from the control they exert over the state (Acemoglu & Robinson, 2006; Bull, 2014; Durand, 2016). Thus, media capture is crucial for elites during elections because that is the time when their influence may be jeopardized. This research analyzes and explores how and to what extent elites in Central America capture the media when they feel threatened during elections. It studies media capture strategies before and during the 2014 presidential elections in Costa Rica and El Salvador. The study offers a fresh perspective on elites and their strategies, and their interactions with counter-elites and media networks. In the rest of this research, I show that elites have different strategies at their disposal for media capture and that their chances to successfully do so drastically increase when they are more cohesive and when there a network in place that constrains opposing voices. This, in turn, strongly augments their capacity to influence the society. In Costa Rica, coordinated media capture occurred because elites were cohesive, and the type of networks woven by elites and media are so called elitist. On the contrary, in El Salvador, the fragmentation of elites since 2009 and a pluralist media network turned media capture into an arena of fierce dispute among elites and counter-elites. This research employs a mixed method approach with the primary goal of building upon and complementing each method. Analysis and data collection methods techniques included interviews with elites that provide new empirical evidence on the strategies’ elites employed to capture the media. Historical analysis to understand the historically grounded explanations of elites’ cohesion. Finally, Social Network Analysis (SNA) was a tool to map and uncover the ties among elites and media.
- Repositorio IIS