The Media and Populism in Latin America


Silvio Waisbord

Professor, Media and Public Affairs
George Washington University
March 24, 2017

A progressive model of public communication is grounded in the existence of a public commons that facilitates and promotes informed public dialogue characterized by civility, diversity, tolerance, reason, and facts. This model historically entailed the guarantee of constitutional rights and the presence of institutional settings to produce information and catalyze public debate. Challenging many of the underlying principles of the progressive notion of the public sphere, populism, as a political strategy and a discursive frame, has a troubling relationship with progressive public communication even while existing within formally democratic settings. Waisbord reviewed Latin America, US and European variants of populism from the perspective of communication and media studies, seeking commonalities and divergences that clarify and deepen our understanding of its current manifestations and impacts.