Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The traditional Mexican view of the U.S. news media's treatment of Mexico and Mexicans is that those media have been mired in prejudice, owing to what Octavia Paz has called "the twin sisters ignorance and arrogance." Mexicans of all social levels have held to this view for many decades, denouncing the obsession of American journalists with drug trafficking, illegal migration, and governmental corruption, and for forming or reinforcing in generations of Americans a vague, exotic, touristy, sometimes downright surreal vision of Mexico.

This view, however, began to shift very markedly during the administration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994). Especially during the NAFTA negotiations (1990-1993), and after the Gulf War ended in 1991, the demise of the Soviet Union fed a growing interest in free-market issues and approaches, and the U.S. news media rushed to tie these to Salinas's "new'' Mexico. Soon, the old images were being supplanted by images of: two nations moving toward many of the same goals and sharing much the same outlook; a Mexico now deeply immersed in a process of modernization; and a visionary Mexican president guiding his nation into full-fledged membership in the First World.

However, this "new" view of Mexico suffered a severe setback in 1994 with the Zapatista uprising in the southern state of Chiapas in January, the assassination of Salinas's hand-picked successor, Luis D. Colosio, in March, and especially with the peso devaluation in December, just a few days after Emesto Zedillo's inauguration.


Published in Compact Disk Format by The Second Communication Conference of the Americas: Journalism and Equality. Department of Communication, University of Miami, Coral Gables, August 2004.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.