Race and the misrepresentation of victimization on local television news

Travis L. Dixon, Daniel Linz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A content analysis of a random sample of television news aired in Los Angeles and Orange Counties was undertaken to assess representations of Whites, Blacks, and Latinos as crime victims. Intergroup comparisons (Black vs. White and Latino vs. White) revealed that Whites are more likely than African Americans and Latinos to be portrayed as victims of crime on television news. Interrole comparisons (perpetrator vs. victim) revealed that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be portrayed as lawbreakers than as crime victims, whereas the reverse is true of Whites. Interreality comparisons (television news vs. crime reports) revealed that Whites are overrepresented, Latinos are underrepresented, and Blacks are neither overrepresented nor underrepresented as homicide victims on television news compared to crime reports. Conversely, African Americans are overrepresented, Latinos are underrepresented, and Caucasians are neither overrepresented nor underrepresented as perpetrators on television news. Whites appear to be overrepresented as victims, whereas Blacks are relegated to roles as perpetrators and Latinos are largely absent on television news. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-573
Number of pages27
JournalCommunication Research
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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