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Report: First year of López Obrador's government in the Spanish press

Actualizado: 7 jul 2021

The Observatory of Mexico in Spain (Obsmex)

Between hope and distrust: This is how La Vanguardia, El País and El Mundo, three very influential Spanish newsapapers, see the first year of the president's government, according to the latest report from the Observatory of Mexico in Spain (Obsmex)*.

López Obrador Mexican president

21% of the total news about Mexico in the Spanish press focused on President López Obrador and the government of the Fourth Transformation, this is one of the conclusions of the report The first year of López Obrador's government in the Spanish press : between hope and mistrust, prepared by the Observatory of Mexico in Spain, an analysis center that from Barcelona studies the image of the country, the projection of soft power and Mexican migration.

The research presents a detailed study of the content of the news published in 2019 by La Vanguardia, El País and El Mundo about the first year of the administration of the Mexican president. It has been carried out by José Ramón Santillán Buelna, director of the Observatory, and Diego Gómez Pickering, diplomat, writer and journalist. The edition was in charge of Kenia Del Orbe Ayala, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Other data that provide an objective basis for media interest in the president: 75.6% of the news published has a medium and high level of journalistic relevance. They are pieces of between 500 and more than 1000 words, with photographs and illustrations and 71.3% are of their own authorship, they are signed by the correspondents of the newspapers in Mexico. These figures indicate the importance they attached to coverage of the Mexican politician and his first year in office.

In the area of ​​the journalistic agenda, 60.2% of the news is about domestic politics and 24.2% about international politics. In the former, the topics on presidential actions in matters of security, corruption and drug trafficking stand out. The implementation of social programs, thematic on the violation of human rights - attacks on journalists, activists and women-, and immigration related to the migrant caravan.

In international affairs, the highlight was the letter that the president sent to King Felipe VI of Spain, the political, commercial and migratory relationship with the United States, and the granting of asylum to the former Bolivian president, Evo Morales.

Regarding the letter from López Obrador that demanded an apology from the spanish Crown for the abuses committed against the indigenous people during the Conquest, he had a critical approach in the media with two positions, one of rejection of the request of the president (of the Royal Household , the Government and the Socialist Party); another that indicated him as a populist ruler (members of the Popular Party, Citizens and Vox).

Another of the results that the study throws up, the Spanish press sees the Mexican president as firm, hard-working, dialoguing and empathetic, although he qualifies his first year in office in an ambivalent way; 44.3% of the analyzed news value it negatively and 39.8% positively. Mainly negative for issues related to national and international politics, and positive for its economic and cultural management.

The report also provides an interesting analysis of the emotional framework used by the media that associates the president in the news as a bearer of hope or illusion is 45.6% and 22% mistrust. While the announcement of social programs by the new government tends to be linked to the emotional framework of hope; the news around the first year of the electoral triumph, show an emotional tendency of distrust.

The idea of ​​hope is linked to improving the country's governance, fighting corruption, and maintaining economic stability. Although during the year 2019 it has been losing weight, in January the journalistic references were 11% and December ended with 2.9%, it is still the main emotional focus. However, the data indicate that in recent months the feeling of distrust towards the president's management has increased subtly.

The complete study can now be downloaded from the Observatory's website:

* Research center based in Barcelona that studies the Mexico’s image, the projection of soft power and Mexican migration in Spain.

Twitter: @obsmexesp.

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