We conducted a content analysis of a random sample of local television news programming in Los Angeles and Orange counties to assess representations of Blacks, Latinos, and Whites as lawbreakers and law defenders. "Intergroup" comparisons of perpetrators (Black and Latino vs. White) revealed that Blacks and Latinos are significantly more likely than Whites to be portrayed as lawbreakers on television news. "Interrole" comparisons (lawbreakers vs. law defenders) revealed that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be portrayed as lawbreakers than as defenders, whereas Whites are significantly more likely to be portrayed as defenders than as lawbreakers. "Interreality" comparisons of lawbreakers (television news vs. crime reports from the California Department of Justice) revealed that Blacks are overrepresented as lawbreakers, and Latinos and Whites are underrepresented as lawbreakers on television news compared to their respective crime rates obtained from the California Department of Justice for Los Angeles and Orange counties. Interreality comparisons of law defenders (television news vs. county employment records) revealed that Whites are overrepresented, Latinos are underrepresented, and Blacks are neither over-nor underrepresented as police officers on television news compared to employment reports. We speculate on the psychological effects of exposure to these intergroup, interrole, and interreality differentials on television news viewers.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||Journal of Communication|
|State||Published - 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language