Bound Volume Number


Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Winter 12-1-2014

Capstone Advisor

Matthew R. Cleary, Associate Professor of Political Science

Honors Reader

Shana Gadarian, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



media censorship, Pinochet dictatorship, Chile, Argentina

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | Latin American Studies


In this thesis, I examine the extent to which the media censorship of the Pinochet dictatorship, which ended over 20 years ago, continues to influence Chilean public opinion and policy today. The dictatorship’s control, penetration and censorship of the press in the 1970s and 1980s appears to have created a lack of pluralism in the media that helped the dictatorship retain political power for 17 years. However, it seems that the dictatorship’s influence did not end with its reign and that this lack of media pluralism still exists today and could be correlated with a widespread conservatism in Chilean public opinion.

After providing a brief history of Chile and the dictatorship’s immediate impact on the media, I present a qualitative analysis that compares El Mercurio, a conservative and prominent Chilean newspaper, and La Nación, a newspaper that historically has served as the government mouthpiece, to determine if both the 1973 and present press have conservative tendencies that could impact readers. To discover if the findings are unique to Chile, I compare the results to those of the Argentine press and indicate that Argentina has more media pluralism and less widespread conservatism than Chile, regardless of the two nation’s similarities. Lastly, to determine if the dictatorship’s censorship has had a tangible impact on Chilean public opinion today, I quantitatively analyze media framing bias through cross-tabulations of Chilean ideology and trends in news consumption. Based on the comparative content analysis of Chilean newspapers both during and after the dictatorship, the juxtaposition of these findings to trends in Argentine media, and the quantitative analysis of the relationship between Chilean media and trends in public opinion, I conclude that, while the dictatorship’s censorship still influences content in the press today, there are other factors that may be more significant in influencing Chilean public opinion and policy.

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