Louis J. Sheehan.  Research has shown that TV news disproportionately portrays African American as the perpetrators of crimes, typically against white victims. But while watching the news is often held to be a positive means of staying informed, it may be outweighing its benefits by promoting racial stereotypes. http://Louis2J2Sheehan2Esquire.US

Two new studies by University of Illinois communications professor Travis Dixon found that the more people watched either local or network news, the more likely they were to believe negative stereotypes about African Americans.

In both studies, Dixon used data taken from the results of a telephone survey of 506 adults in Los Angeles County conducted from November 2002 through January 2003. After controlling for other factors that could influence beliefs such as gender, age, race, education level, political ideology, income, and newspaper exposure, he found that even among people who consider themselves largely prejudice-free, those who watched more local or network news were prone to seeing blacks as more intimidating, violent, or poor than those who skipped the news.

What’s operating, according to Dixon, is a process called “chronic activation,” in which stereotypes are repeatedly reinforced in the mind and thus become more ingrained in the conscious or subconscious, forming a pathway of “chronic accessibility.”

“[W]e keep seeing these black perpetrators all the time [in local news], so that [idea] becomes more accessible and not other conceptions,” Dixon said. But even network news, which offers far less crime coverage, wasn’t much better, he found.

Granted, the sample size was small, and limited to a geographic area known for its racial polarity. Meanwhile, the racial makeup of the survey respondents was roughly the same as that of L.A. County itself: 43 percent white, 16 percent black, 26 percent Latino, and 15 percent other. Nonetheless, Dixon raises a valuable point about whether we need to rethink the current M.O. for TV news coverage, and assign more weight to its power to influence opinions. Just think what Fox News could do with that one.

Image: iStockPhoto


July 22nd, 2008 Tags:
by Melissa Lafsky in The 2008 Election | 8 comments | RSS feed | Trackback >

8 Responses to “Does Watching TV News Make You Racist?”

  1. kitten Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 7:34 pm Blacks are vastly overrepresented among the criminal population. It is not racist to recognize it. It is simply fact.
  2. TV News Makes You Racist? | Democrat=Socialist Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 8:57 pm […] Source Technorati Tags: Racism,News Close this Window Bookmark and Share This Page Save to Browser Favorites / BookmarksAskbackflipblinklistBlogBookmarkBloglinesBlogMarksBlogsvineBuddyMarksBUMPzee!CiteULikeco.mmentsConnoteadel.icio.usDiggdiigoDotNetKicksDropJackdzoneFacebookFarkFavesFeed Me LinksFriendsitefolkd.comFurlGoogleHuggJeqqKaboodlekirtsylinkaGoGoLinksMarkerMa.gnoliaMister WongMixxMySpaceMyWebNetvouzNewsvineoneviewOnlyWirePlugIMPropellerRedditRojoSegnaloShoutwireSimpySlashdotSphereSphinnSpurlSquidooStumbleUponTechnoratiThisNextWebrideWindows LiveYahoo!Email This to a FriendCopy HTML:  If you like this then please subscribe to the RSS Feed.Powered by Bookmarkify™ More » var disqus_url = ‘ ‘; var disqus_title = ‘TV News Makes You Racist?’; var disqus_message = ‘I don’t really have an opinion on this other than, did tax money pay for this?  And if it did, where do I apply for a grant?  Didn’t Seinfeld make a good living pointing out the obvious as well?%0AResearch has shown that TV news disproportionately portrays African American as the perpetrators of crimes, typically […]%0A’; View the entire comment thread. […]
  3. Buffoon Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 9:10 pm I’ve never seen a trackback do that before, sorry.
  4. Jesse Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 1:42 am This “research” is a waste of time. Blacks disproportionally commit crimes in the USA, so of course they are disproportionally shown as the perpetrators in the media.
  5. Leo Martins Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 5:59 am The correlation observed by the researchers could be equally concluded as “racist people watch more TV”. They can not disentangle cause and effect without a time series or some other econometric measure.
  6. George Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 2:37 pm I think certain stories are cover different. Lets be honest we know who control media outlets. Whites are portrayed different to news media compared to Blacks. White people are more passionate to whites than black people. They scared of us, well what we could do if we came together as a community.
  7. Andre Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 6:16 pm guys guys calm down I’m a 39 yr old former USMC i luv my country but they way we’ve treated African Americans since they were brought here on slave ships is wrong I would ask ANY white person to put your self in their shoes for a day & you could not wait to be white again just think about it, after I left the Marines I took training to become a police officer I notice that our training only delt with patrol in parts if the city that were mostly black I asked why this was & was told ” they cause trouble ” I thought to myself if the police patrol the ‘burbs what would they find I’m white grew up in large city but my the first time I was offered a drug was in the ‘burbs at a friends home. our people ( white ) do as many hell probably MORE crime than blacks we just get away with it I really feel for black people if you go back thru history what did the black race do to deserve the treatment they’ve gotten thru time if anything we should hate the Germans or Japan they killed more Americans than anyone from Africa ever did all this hate will kill the US just like Rome
  8. Jack Yurkiewicz Says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 9:53 pm Et Tu, Discover?
    It is a blog, I know, I know… Still, Discover does have a good reputation for writing and reporting on scientific issues. The are many available details to discuss about Prof. Dixon’s research and conclusions. Did we really need a gratuitous tiresome jab at Fox News?  http://Louis2J2Sheehan2Esquire.US


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