July 2, 2015 / 3:46 PM / 4 years ago

Mexican TV anchor Zabludovsky, symbol of government spin, dies at 87

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Influential Mexican journalist Jacobo Zabludovsky, seen for years by critics as an unofficial mouthpiece for the government, died on Thursday morning after suffering a stroke in hospital.

Zabludovsky was from 1971 to 1998 host of “24 Hours” a nightly news show on the dominant Televisa TV network, which had a cozy relationship with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Ruling Mexico continuously from 1929 to 2000, the PRI became synonymous with vote-rigging, corruption and authoritarianism, but its many detractors said it could rely on Zabludovsky to deliver the government line, glossing over inconvenient truths.

Such was his notoriety that popular Mexican rock band Molotov even opened an 1997 album with a song called ‘Que no te haga bobo Jacobo,’ or ‘Don’t let Jacobo fool you.’

Born in Mexico City in 1928 to a family of Polish-Jewish immigrants, Zabludovsky left Televisa in 2000, complaining his son had been overlooked for the post of the network’s leading nightly news anchor.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, who returned the PRI to power in 2012, was among many prominent Mexicans to express their sadness over Zabludovsky’s death. He was 87.

Zabludovsky, who continued interviewing top politicians and wrote a regular newspaper column until late June, was still sending out news bulletins on his Twitter account until he was hospitalized on Tuesday night with signs of dehydration.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Dave Graham and W Simon

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