The changing misrepresentation of race and crime on network and cable news

Travis L. Dixon, Charlotte L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research found that stereotypical media content shapes the perception of racial groups and social policy. Using the UCLA Communication Studies Digital News Archive, we sampled 146 cable and network news programs aired between 2008 and 2012. Findings revealed that Blacks were actually "invisible" on network news, being underrepresented as both violent perpetrators and victims of crime. However, Whites were accurately represented as criminals. Moreover, Latinos were greatly overrepresented as undocumented immigrants while Muslims were greatly overrepresented as terrorists on network and cable news programs. The implications of these findings are contextualized using the "guard dog" media coverage theory, structural limitations/economic interest of media, ethnic blame discourse, and the community philanthropy perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-39
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • African Americans
  • Crime
  • Immigration
  • Latinos
  • Muslims
  • News
  • Race
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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