Does a free press matter for free politics? Through the ages, advocates and analysts of democracy have argued that the free expression of ideas, including free contestation and the possibility of frank deliberation, are essential to democracy. And yet, the study of the role and impact of the mass media in Latin America remains in its infancy. To the extent that such analyses have been undertaken, they often call attention to the nefarious control of the mass media by plutocrats allied with the already powerful, to democracy’s detriment. Lawson’s book provides magnificent information and analysis about these neglected or partly analyzed topics and, in so doing, challenges aspects of conventional wisdom. The book addresses three broad topics: What was the old mass-media regime like? Why and how did it change? And what difference did such change make for democratic politics and society? Lawson’s...

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