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Dissertation

The Relationship Between Media Consumption and Perceptions of Police Use of Force

20 July 2018

Abstract

Media consumption has been shown to have significant relationships with one’s judgements and beliefs. These effects are present in the reporting of any group, idea, or aspect considered news worthy, especially crime and policing. Past research suggests that various individual factors such as racial and ethnic identity, socioeconomic status, age, and gender, affect an individual’s perceptions of police. The current research seeks to explore the potential relationships between media consumption and perceptions of police use of force and effectiveness. It was hypothesized that beliefs about police use of force and effectiveness are related to the type of media from which individuals receive their news and the frequency with which one consumes this media, and that these relationships are moderated by racial and ethnic identity, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, age, and gender. Results suggested that neither preferred media type nor media consumption were related to one’s perceptions of police use of force or overall efficacy. Additionally, only age and political affiliation were found to be related to media and perspectives about police use of force. Specifically, those who consumed more media than average and were older tended to view police more positively. Political affiliation moderated the relationship between media type and perceptions of police for those who identified as liberal and consumed internet based media compared to televised media. Additionally, political affiliation appeared to moderate the relationship seen between one’s media consumption and their beliefs about how responsible police are for misuse of force. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


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